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NCC nominates Kinnamon as chief executive

Oct. 4, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, a longtime ecumenical leader and pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has been nominated to lead the National Council of Churches.

His nomination by a search committee as the organization's chief executive was announced Oct. 3. If affirmed next month by the NCC Governing Board and General Assembly, Kinnamon would start in January, becoming the council's ninth general secretary since its beginning in 1950.

Kinnamon, 58, would succeed the Rev. Bob Edgar, a United Methodist who left in August to become president and CEO of Common Cause.

Clare Chapman, a United Methodist and the NCC's acting chief executive, said Kinnamon "brings tremendous skills and commitment to a very important leadership role in the ecumenical movement."

Currently the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission, Peace and Ecumenical Studies at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Kinnamon was chief executive of the Consultation on Church Union, which became Churches Uniting in Christ, from 1999 to 2002.

“I hope to encourage member churches to pray for one another and know one another at a deeper level than simply across a meeting table or picket line.”
–The Rev. Michael Kinnamon

He was executive secretary of the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order from 1980 to 1983 and had a major role in drafting the WCC's major planning document called "Toward a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC."

Kinnamon is a member of the NCC Governing Board and chairman of the council's Justice and Advocacy Commission. He has overseen the commission's development of resolutions and statements on a wide range of justice and peace issues and was the primary drafter of the NCC strategic plan drafting committee over the past three years.

Challenges ahead

Acknowledging that the National Council of Churches is undergoing a reorganization and reduction in staff because of reduced revenues, Kinnamon expressed confidence that member churches will renew their commitment to the missions and ministries they carry out through the NCC.

"Because of their life together, I hope churches will engage each other in depth and with accountability," he said. "I hope to encourage member churches to pray for one another and know one another at a deeper level than simply across a meeting table or picket line."

Kinnamon earned a doctorate in the field of religion and literature from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1980, and a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1971.

He is married to the Rev. Katherine Kinnamon, associate minister of Webster Groves Christian Church in St. Louis. The couple has two daughters, Anna and Leah.

The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These NCC member communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.

The search committee included three United Methodists: the Rev. Larry Pickens, chief executive, United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns; Jan Love, dean of the Candler School of Theology; and Gerald Williams, a young adult representative.

*The National Council of Churches supplied information for this story.

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

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