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NCC reorganization cuts 14 staff positions

By Linda Bloom*
Sept. 28, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

A reorganization of the National Council of Churches, effective Dec. 1, will result in the elimination of 14 staff positions.

The reorganization plan — announced Sept. 27 and approved earlier in the week by the ecumenical body's governing board — will leave a pared-down staff structure in place but should not be viewed as a sign of insolvency, according to Clare Chapman, a United Methodist serving as the NCC's acting chief executive.

The council's multimillion-dollar financial reserves were able to absorb a deficit of more than $1 million occurring during the fiscal year that began July 1, 2006, and ended June 30, 2007. That deficit, Chapman said, stemmed from lower-than-expected income from two of three main revenue streams for the NCC — denominational member contributions, foundation grants and royalties from resources.

"Our bills are being paid," she told United Methodist News Service. "The council is financially stable. This was an action to keep it that way in the future."

“Our bills are being paid. The council is financially stable. This was an action to keep it that way in the future.”
–Clare Chapman

The NCC announcement noted an expected budget shortfall for the 2008 fiscal year as well and stressed the governing board's commitment "to operate on available revenues" and not draw from reserves.

Top staff members, whose tenures stretch up to 30 years with the council, are among those whose jobs are being eliminated, including two deputy general secretaries and six associate general secretaries.

Clare Chapman

"We celebrate the ministry of all these staff and lament their departure," Chapman said.

She noted that in addition to the standing positions of general secretary and development director, six new positions will be created under the reorganization. Current staff will be able to apply for those positions, which are chief operating officer, three program positions, a media specialist and a database manager.

In 2006, the NCC General Assembly approved a strategic plan leaving in place the five commissions that form the basis of its programmatic work: communications, justice and advocacy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, education, and faith and order. The new structure will reflect that strategic plan, according to the governing board.

The NCC is in the process of selecting a new chief executive to replace the Rev. Bob Edgar, who left the organization in August to lead Common Cause in Washington. A decision on a nominee, to be elected during the Nov. 6-8 General Assembly in Woodbridge, N.J., is expected at the end of September. 

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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