Wednesday, December 05, 2007

National Council receives text of social creed for 21st century.

Church of the Brethren representatives attended the annual General Assembly of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service on Nov. 6-8 in Iselin, N.J. The theme for the meeting was, "Journeys: For We Walk by Faith..." (2 Corinthians 5:7), and time was spent in worship, Bible study, and fellowship, as well as business. The assembly installed new officers and a new general secretary, 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."

"A Social Creed for the 21st Century" 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 20th century such as industrialization, and pledged then "to work together for a better, fairer and more faithful United States." The NCC has now developed a social creed for the 21st century that addresses globalization, poverty, and violence. "We--individual Christians and churches--commit ourselves to a culture of peace and freedom that embraces nonviolence, nurtures character, treasures the environment, and builds community, rooted in a spirituality of inner growth and outward action," states the conclusion of the new social creed. The full text of the creed is at

In other business, the assembly reaffirmed the NCC's commitment to Middle East peace, unanimously passing a statement updating a 1980 Middle East policy. The updated statement calls for "responsible public discourse" about Middle East issues and a focus on issues related to the Israel-Palestine conflict, expresses concern for the drop in the number of Christians in the Middle East, and calls for interfaith sensitivities "devoid of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia."

The assembly also urged the US House of Representatives to pass legislation recognizing the slaughter of Armenians in 1915 as a genocide, passing a resolution by voice vote with six abstentions; continued to evaluate recovery efforts in the Gulf coast following Hurricane Katrina, receiving a report from the NCC's Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast; and established a memorial fund honoring Claire Randall, the NCC's first woman general secretary.

Vicken Aykazian, archbishop of the Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America (Eastern), was installed as president of the NCC; Peg Chemberlin, a Moravian clergywoman and executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, was installed as president elect; and Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergyman, educator, and ecumenical leader, was elected and installed as the NCC's ninth general secretary.

Stanley Noffsinger, the general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, was elected to the NCC Governing Board as vice president at large.

The Brethren participants were elected representatives Nelda Rhoades Clark, Jennie Ramirez, and Marianne Miller Speicher; and staff representatives from the General Board including Noffsinger, Global Mission Partnerships executive director Merv Keeney, and director of Identity and Relations Becky Ullom. Also participating in the meeting as an NCC staff member was Jordan Blevins.

Because the year 2008 signifies a new quadrennium for the NCC, each communion identified its delegates who will serve for the next four years. Church of the Brethren representatives will include Elizabeth Bidgood Enders, Ken Reiman, John (J.D.) Glick, Merv Keeney, Illana Naylor, and Stan Noffsinger. David Metzler and Wendy McFadden will serve on the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission from 2008-2011 as well.

Source: 12/05/2007 Newsline

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