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1999 NCC News Archives

Andrew Young, Desmond Tutu Keynote NCC 50th Anniversary Nov. 9-12

October 25, 1999, CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ambassador Andrew Young, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many other renowned national and international guests will come to Cleveland Nov. 9-12 to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Council of Churches. The week's events will include:

National Council of Churches 50th Anniversary Welcome Luncheon Nov. 9, keynoted by South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu and hosted by Cleveland's Mayor, His Honor Michael R. White. The program will celebrate the NCC's achievements over the past 50 years, which have seen both church and society transformed by the ecumenical movement.

"The Great Conversation" Nov. 10, inviting all with visions and dreams to share for ecumenism in the 21st century. This exchange with leaders of mainline, Orthodox, African American, evangelical, Roman Catholic and Pentecostal churches from Cleveland, across the United States and beyond will take place in an imaginative, interactive setting. At "The Great Conversation," along with "Equipping the Saints" (a special program Nov. 7-13 for seminarians and young pastors) and several forums, the NCC anniversary will collect visions for the ecumenical future from NCC members and non-members, especially those from the next generation of ecumenical leadership.

Installation of Ambassador Andrew Young as the National Council of Churches' 20th President Nov. 11, in an ecumenical liturgy held in Cleveland's Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist – an event unthinkable 50 years ago. Preaching will be the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland. Service participants will include Cleveland Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Pilla; Dr. Robert Franklin, President of the Interdenominational Theological Seminary, Atlanta, and Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund, along with other long-time colleagues of Ambassador Young and NCC officers.

WCLV 95/5 FM Cleveland will carry the installation of Ambassador Andrew Young as the NCC's President beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 11 via local broadcast and national "Web cast" on its Web site,

Gala National Council of Churches 50th Anniversary Banquet Nov. 11, with an address by Ambassador Young on his visions for the ecumenical movement in the 21st century and his goals for his NCC Presidency (2000-2001). The program will give occasion to consider the significance of Ambassador Young's election to the U.S. ecumenical movement. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other members of the U.S. ecumenical delegation to Belgrade that freed the three U.S. soldiers in May will be among honored guests; his daughter, Santita Jackson, will sing.

Nineteen forums and several other special events will feature the Rev. Prof. Peter J. Gomes, author of The New York Times' bestseller Reading the Good Book; the Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, Chair of the Standard Bible Translation Committee and Emeritus Professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary; Carole Collins, Coordinator for Jubilee 2000/USA, and David Hornbeck, Superintendent of the Philadelphia Public Schools, among others, on topics as diverse as ending racism, strengthening public education and tapping the Bible's ancient wisdom in the 21st century. Participants will explore the interplay of music, faith and culture; consider issues in Bible translation and the Bible's place in contemporary life; join guests from several living religions on what it means to live faithfully in a diverse, materialistic and violence-prone America, and examine ecumenical perspectives on "societal" issues on the eve of a new millennium, from health care to poverty, from racism to environmental justice, from public education to interfaith relations. Various times Nov. 9-12.

The annual meeting of the NCC's highest legislative authority, its General Assembly, Nov. 10-12, is expected to approve new policies urging priority support for public education, defining approaches to interfaith relations, and proposing "pillars of peace for the 21st century," including support for the United Nations; elect a new General Secretary, and chart a course for the NCC as it seeks to ensure ongoing financial stability – and, ultimately, to find new models for U.S. ecumenism that more fully include Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and Evangelicals.

"Artistry as Gift and Calling," a special arts program being mounted Nov. 7-12 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration. An Anniversary Bookstore will feature several book signings; an Exhibit Area will include a large display of photos from the NCC's archives.

In all, some 1,000 people are expected to participate in the NCC's 50th Anniversary Celebration, including top leadership of the Council's 35 Protestant, Orthodox, African American and Anglican member denominations. For additional information and to register, contact the NCC 1-800-328-NCCC, Code 1999, before October 29. Or call the Cleveland Office at 216-736-3207, or register on site. On Nov. 8, registration will be open from noon to 6 p.m. at the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre Hotel, Sixth Floor. Nov. 9-12, come to the Cleveland Convention Center Main Lobby (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 9 and 11; 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 10; 7:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 12). Full information also is available on the NCC's Web Site,, which will be updated with news and feature coverage throughout the Anniversary Celebration.



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