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General Assembly elects officers,
sets directions for a new quadrennium
New York City, November 14, 2007 – The General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service concluded its business last week with the installation of new officers and a new NCC general secretary.
The General Assembly also set in motion plans for a new quadrennium, passed resolutions on social issues, and received the text of "A Social Creed for the 21st century" that had been approved earlier by the NCC Governing Board.
His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, a Turkish-born priest who represents the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) in Washington, was installed Thursday (November 9) as the President of the National Council of Churches in the USA. (Read more.)
The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, a Moravian clergywoman and executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, was installed as President Elect of the National Council of Churches in annual meetings this week. Under the current NCC constitution, her position means she will automatically assume the presidency in January 2010.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergyman and a long-time educator and ecumenical leader, was installed Thursday as the NCC's ninth General Secretary. Kinnamon was unanimously elected to the office by paper ballot November 9 General Assembly.
He will succeed the Rev. Bob Edgar, who served as general secretary from January 2000 to September 2007, when he became president and CEO of Common Cause in Washington.
A Social Creed for the 21st Century
The General Assembly received a "Social Creed for the 21st Century" that had been approved by the Governing Board in September.
In 1908 the NCC's
predecessor, the Federal Council of Churches, adopted a social creed
that addressed issues of the early twentieth century, such as
industrialization. The churches in the last century pledged "to work
together for a better, fairer and more faithful United States."
Reaffirmation of commitment to Middle East peace
The Assembly unanimously passed a statement
reaffirming the NCC's commitment to peace in the Middle East. The
statement is an update of the NCC's 1980 Middle East policy that was
written in a more hopeful period after the Camp David Peace accords
signed by Egypt President Anwar Sadat and Israel Prime Minister Menachem
Recognizing the Armenian Genocide
The General Assembly urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation recognizing the slaughter of Armenians in 1915 as a genocide.
The resolution put forward
by the Rev. Arem Jabejian, an Armenian Orthodox priest from Chicago, was
passed by voice vote with six persons requesting to be counted as
statement cited House Resolution 106 "acknowledging this universally
recognized historical fact (and) condemning this crime against
humanity." Most historians agree that the slaughter was carried out by
soldiers of the then Ottoman Turk Empire.
Work on the Gulf Coast Report Card continues
Nearly one year since issuing its landmark report on rebuilding the Gulf Coast, the NCC continues to evaluate federal, state and local agencies on recovery efforts.
The nearly 20 members of the NCC's Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast have made more than a dozen visits to the disaster area since the 2005 hurricanes struck. A report on their work was presented to Assembly delegates.
In its February 2007
Report Card the
commission highlighted government failures and problems in Louisiana,
Mississippi and New Orleans. Delivering at least a dozen "Fs,"
Mississippi earned the report card's highest marks, two "Bs," for its
work in ensuring environmental safety and functional schools after
NCC established fund honoring Claire Randall
NCC General Secretary Clare Chapman announced a
memorial fund in the name of Claire Randall, the NCC's first woman
general secretary, at a celebratory luncheon for the NCC's Women's
Photos by Kathleen Cameron
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