Magazine article The Christian Century

NCC Gets New General Secretary

Magazine article The Christian Century

NCC Gets New General Secretary

Article excerpt

The new general secretary of the National Council of Churches called the ecumenical agency a "35-hump camel"--a reference to its 35 member denominations. Addressing the NCC's organizational problems, Robert Edgar, a United Methodist who has spent the last nine years as president of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California, said he was not surprised "that [the organization] doesn't work."

Why "should we expect a 35-hump camel to work?" he said. "Of course it's going to walk a little crooked. But we should celebrate what it has done," he said, citing the organization's civil rights efforts, its commitment to justice for the poor, and its translation of what is considered to be the most accurate version of the Bible available.

Edgar, a blunt-speaking, savvy nine-term former member of Congress from Pennsylvania, was elected November 12 to replace Joan Brown Campbell, who is leaving after nine years as general secretary. Edgar said he would bring major management and administrative changes to the NCC, which celebrated its 50th anniversary November 9-12 in Cleveland, the city where it was born. …

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