National Council Packs Its Bags
Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion and Democracy reports that the National Council of Churches, on its last legs financially, is moving out of its long-time headquarters in New York. Where’s it moving to? The only place that makes sense, given the nature of its mission:
The National Council of Churches confirmed today that the ecumenical council will shut down its historic office on New York’s Riverside Drive, transitioning to a single office in Washington, D.C. A decision to consolidate into a single office has been expected since a report last year by an NCC Governing Board Task Force on Revisioning and Restructuring.
The NCC, once numbering hundreds of staffers, occupied three floors at the Interchurch Center in New York….
The ecumenical body, which counts 37 oldline Protestant, Orthodox, and historically African-American denominations among its members, is also eliminating six positions as part of the “ongoing” reorganization. Transitional General Secretary Peg Birk will now be based in the existing NCC office at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, while three senior staff will remain in New York at what are described in a press release as “satellite offices” – one of which will be at nearby Union Seminary.
The cuts follow another round that reduced the council to a dozen full-time and a handful of part-time and contract staff between May and September of 2012. It is unclear which staff will be departing, but longtime Deputy General Secretary Clare Chapman’s biography page has disappeared from the NCC website, and she is now listed as “senior advisor” on the staff roster. Additionally, a Washington, D.C. based office staffer tasked with development and “Eco-Justice” responsibilities is no longer listed. Many of the remaining staff appear to be supported by grants related to the council’s anti-poverty initiative and “Eco-Justice” programs.
Given that the NCC is no longer really a organization with a religious mission at all, but rather a left-wing political lobbying shop inhabited by people who use God-talk, a move to Washington makes sense. That way they can be a lot closer to the people who pay no attention whatsoever to what the NCC has to say.
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