National Council of Churches logo represents the church 
as ecumenical ship, serving the world

1999 NCC News Archives

Board Acts to Strengthen NCC's Public Witness, Administration

February 19, 1999, NEW YORK -- The National Council of Churches’ Executive Board took steps at its winter meeting here Feb. 16-17 designed to strengthen the Council’s public witness and internal administration.

It approved six public policy priorities for the ecumenical community’s most concentrated attention in 1999, and participated in a social development policy briefing at the United Nations. The Board also adopted recommendations of the Pappas Consulting Group, which for the past 11 months has been engaged in extensive review of the NCC’s financial and human resources management.


Concern to build racial justice and global peace undergird all six public policy priorities, recommended by 81 denominational and ecumenical public and social policy leaders at a Jan. 13-15 consultation in Washington, D.C., and ratified Wednesday (Feb. 17) by the NCC Executive Board.

The six priorities are:

Participants in January’s "National Religious Leadership Conference on Public Policy Priorities" included representatives of the NCC, 20 of its member communions, regional and local ecumenical agency leaders and others engaged in work to advocate for more just governmental policies at the national, state and local levels.

"While the various offices will continue to work on many additional issues, these are the priorities all of us agree are of superior importance and to which we will put our common energies through the National Council of Churches, in particular the NCC’s Washington Office," said the Rev. Dr. Thom White Wolf Fassett, Chair of the NCC’s Advisory Committee on Public Policy Ministries. Dr. Fassett is General Secretary, United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society, Washington, D.C.


The Executive Board on Feb. 16 attended presentations on "The Market as Ideology: Social Impacts" and "Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance" – both sponsored by the Ecumenical Delegation to the United Nations’ Commission on Social Development. The Ecumenical Delegation offers its faith-based values to the Commission’s deliberations.

The Board also met with John Langmore, Director of the U.N. Division for Social Policy and Development, who described the commission’s work and the process of formal preparation – launched Feb. 16 – for the U.N.’s Special Session on Social Development, set for June 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The special session will evaluate progress on 10 commitments made by 186 countries at the March 1995 Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen, Denmark. NCC General Secretary Joan Campbell was a member of the U.S. delegation to Copenhagen and the NCC had an active presence there.


The Executive Board met in executive session for several hours on Tuesday and Wednesday and "adopted as an interim measure" the recommendations of the Pappas Consulting Group, Inc.’s 31-page "Final Report," "making the case for the redesign of the administrative structure of the NCC" and proposing "next steps" for strengthening of NCC human resources management and financial systems.

The new administrative structure is "similar to that of a performing arts organization – most especially the symphony orchestra or the opera," the report says. The General Secretary continues as the Council’s principal executive officer, responsible for "providing dynamic leadership, articulating the mission(s) and purpose of the Council, providing spiritual guidance and vision, symbolizing the vocation of Christian unity in service and witness, maintaining relationships with communions, and implementing and interpreting policy."

With the General Secretary serving as the NCC’s "ecumenical director" (i.e. music director), the General Manager – a new position – serves as the organization’s "managing director," with responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Council. By Executive Board action, new job descriptions for the General Secretary and General Manager become immediately operative, and the search for a General Manager – "to be hired and in place within three months" – is to begin immediately.


 Contact: NCC News Department

NCC Home Page
NCC News Service Index