Magazine article The Christian Century

Kinnamon Installed as NCC Executive

Magazine article The Christian Century

Kinnamon Installed as NCC Executive

Article excerpt

Church-unity advocate Michael Kinnamon, affirmed unanimously this month as the National Council of Churches' next general secretary, does not expect that being the chief ecumenical voice for 35 communions will be a placid job over the next four years.

"Unity is not synonymous with agreement," Kinnamon said to NCC general assembly delegates meeting November 8 in a New Jersey hotel outside New York City.

As a consequence of "being in Christ," the Disciples of Christ minister continued, "we can fight like cats and dogs, and still sit at the same table.... Getting to know one another builds trust."

Kinnamon, a longtime seminary professor, also said during an exchange with delegates that his vision for the NCC is that of "churches in life together"--not simply denominations taking cues from New York or Washington offices.

Kinnamon, 58, who will take office on January 1, succeeds Bob Edgar, who lifted the NCC out of a financial hole. Recently NCC leaders have made cuts in staffing and expenses in order to operate in the black and not dip into the NCC's now-healthy reserve funds.

Asked whether the council will partner with churches on race and immigration issues, Kinnamon noted that a working group on racial justice did not exist when he became chair four years ago of the NCC's new Justice and Advocacy Commission. …

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