Here in Denver for the annual General Assembly of the National Council of Churches. It is really encouraging to witness the turn around this ecumenical entity has experienced since the election last year of Dr. Michael Kinnamon as General Secretary. This long-time ecumenist, World Council of Churches’ staff person, seminary dean and professor has restored dignity and substance to this once-mighty expression of the unity of the Church here in the United States.
Among other things he has raised issues of “Faith and Order” and “Interfaith Relations” to be on a par with “Social Justice” issues as the main work of the Council. For those who once saw the NCC as a glorified social service organization, this should be good news indeed. The Episcopal Church has one of the youngest and most diverse delegations at the Assembly.
A very exciting development was the “New Fire” Conference for young ecumenists which preceded the Assembly. We sent two exceptional young adults to the conference which totalled some 40 such persons. They learned something of the history of the ecumenical movement, shared their own experiences, and have challenged us to unify and support the various expessions of an ecumenical youth witness such as the World Christian Student Federation, the US Conference of the World Council of Churches’ initiative, the Young Adult Ecumenical Form, and the NCC’s own work in this area.
They were energized and truly “on fire” for the unity of Christ’s Church…and they have inspired us as well. This bodes well for the future, and present, of the ecumenical movement!