January 2012 - December 2013
Mary Lohre, Director of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations in
the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, was installed November 8, 2011 as the 26th President of the
National Council of Churches.
The installation took place during the Council's Governing Board meeting at
the ELCA Churchwide Office in Chicago. Lohre will serve her two year term
from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013.
Lohre, who had been serving as NCC President Elect, succeeds the Rev. Canon
Peg Chemberlin, who will now serve as immediate past president of the
Council. This is the first time in the history of the NCC that a woman
succeeds a woman in the role.
At a luncheon honoring her installation sponsored by Odyssey Networks, Lohre
told the story of the National Council of Churches reception for Liberian
peace activist Leymah Gbowee on October 7, the day she won the Nobel Peace
The reception, organized by the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, was originally planned as
the last stop on a tour to promote Gbowee's memoirs and to add Gbowee's name
to the NCC’s Circles of Names campaign, was hastily rearranged so Gbowee
could meet with supporters and the media in The Interchurch Center Chapel.
Lohre spoke movingly as she described Gbowee's visit to the NCC as a
historic milestone in the contributions of women of faith to peace and
justice movements around the world.
"I was not there," said Lohre. But because the National Council of Churches
represents a wide community of persons of faith, "we were there."
Kathryn Lohre was assistant director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard
from 2005 to 2011, serving with project director Dr. Diana Eck, a member of
the NCC Governing Board and chair of the NCC's Interfaith Relations
Lohre is a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.
She previously served on the ELCA Bishop's Global, Ecumenical and Interfaith
Relationships Roundtable, the Commission for Women Steering Committee and as
an assistant to the ELCA Youth Gathering (2000).
Lohre is a summa cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.,
and earned the Master of Divinity degree at Harvard Divinity School. In May
2011, the Graduate Theological Foundation, Mishawaka, Ind., conferred an
honorary Doctor of Divinity to Lohre, "in recognition of her election as
president-elect of the National Council of Churches and also in recognition
of her contributions to women's interfaith issues and pluralism."
At 34, Lohre is the first Lutheran and the second youngest president of the
Council. The Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, an American Baptist, became
president in 1979 at the age of 33.
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