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The Politics of Ecumenical Disunity: The Troubled Marriage of Church World Service and the National Council of Churches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2018

Abstract

In 2000, after fifty years together, Church World Service and the National Council of Churches separated their organizations. These two ecumenical bodies, devoted to Christian unity, decided to do so after more than thirty years of intra-organizational tension had evolved into irreconcilable differences. This essay explores the long history of their troubled relationship and illustrates how profoundly political culture affects religious life and work. It asserts that the causes of their divorce were rooted in constituent and structural differences that became especially problematic during politically polarized eras. In spite of a mutual devotion to Christian unity based upon the expectation that ecumenism requires transcendence of worldly self interests, the NCC and CWS could not easily transcend the political culture of their times nor the self interests of their constituents if they wished to survive as organizations. Awareness of this reality is now a factor in the reshaping of national ecumenical organizations in the United States, which are moving more toward a multi-centered satellite model of ecumenism. The NCC/CWS split is also part of a global trend, for councils of churches and their service wings in several nations have been divorcing in recent years. Due to the influence of American ecumenical organizations internationally, the outcome of the NCC/CWS efforts to redefine themselves and their relationship will affect the future of ecumenism both within and beyond America's borders.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture 2004

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References

Notes

I wish to thank Nancy T. Ammerman, Shelton Woods, and Sarah Vilankulu for their helpful comments on drafts of this essay, as well as current and former staff members of the NCC and CWS for speaking candidly with me about this sensitive subject.

1. “Item 7 Report on WCC Central Committee and world meeting of general secretaries of NCCs,” August 31, 2002, Communications Department Files, National Council of Churches, New York, N.Y.

2. John McCullough, personal interview by author, New York, N.Y., July 27, 2003. The World Council of Churches concurs. See “Item 7 Report on WCC Central Committee.”

3. Many activist Christians adopted this well-known Quaker phrase during the 1960s to encourage people to voice their religious consciences to those who wielded worldly power. Many denominational bureaucrats grew more liberal in the 1960s, some earning the label “new breed” clergy.

4. New York Times, 1946, in Stenning, Ronald, Church World Service: Fifty Years of Help and Hope (New York: Friendship Press, 1996), 3 Google Scholar. Stenning writes, “In 1946, CWS provided 80 percent of all relief goods shipped from U.S. voluntary agencies to Europe and Asia.”

5. At this time, CWS was nearing financial crisis since postwar funds from denominations were running out. It continued as a department within the NCC, but it retained its independent ability to solicit funds directly from the grassroots. Throughout its history, it would be the council's largest department, by far, eventually dwarfing the rest of the council. Its size and function allowed it to preserve not only its own funding sources but also its own organizational culture. Therefore, I can speak of the “NCC” (referring to the rest of the NCC) and “CWS” as unique entities even though they were part of the same broad “council.” See Stenning, Church World Service, 9–14.

6. While the NCC criticized McCarthyism, and some of its leaders doubted aspects of the containment policy, prior to the Vietnam War, the NCC declared its anticommunism and general support for U.S. cold war goals. Even in its first statements on the Vietnam War, the NCC was careful to criticize U.S. government methods, not goals, related to the war.

7. MacCracken became executive director of Church World Service in 1965 and resigned that role in 1974.

8. Editors of the Christian Century and Christianity and Crisis, “On Foreign Policy: A Joint Appeal to the National Council of Churches,” Christian Century, July 7, 1965, 863.

9. “Japanese Peace Mission Ends American Tour,” NCC press release, August 1965, record group 6, box 27, folder 1, National Council of Churches records, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. (hereafter RG for Record Group, NCC Archives for National Council of Churches records).

10. Kyaw Than, “The Crucified in Vietnam,” confidential notes, January 6, 1965, RG 6, box 21, folder 1, NCC Archives.

11. By “various Asian sources” I mean to include non-Christians as well as Christians.

12. For an example of Johnson's stated objectives, see his speech “Pattern for Peace in Southeast Asia” delivered April 7, 1965, at Johns Hopkins University. As an example of the kinds of information coming from Americans in Vietnam, see “A Letter from Vietnam” signed by “Leslie” from International Voluntary Service, July 4, 1965, RG 6, box 27, folder 1, NCC Archives. See the following NCC policy statements on Vietnam: “Policy Statement on Vietnam,” General Board of the NCC, December 3, 1965, RG 4, box 36, folder 15, NCC Archives; General Assembly of the NCC, An Appeal to the Churches Concerning Vietnam (New York: Council Press, December 9, 1966); and “Imperatives of Peace and Responsibilities of Power,” General Board of the NCC, February 21, 1968, NCC Archives.

13. For more on the liberal evolution of this division and the NCC as a whole, read Pratt, Henry J., The Liberalization of American Protestantism: A Case Study in Complex Organizations (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972)Google Scholar.

14. Ibid. Pratt emphasized the role that King's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” played in activating the NCC to a new level in the civil rights movement.

15. This was nothing new. The Federal Council of Churches was criticized for its liberalism and suspected of communist sympathies in the 1920s and early 1930s. It moderated its positions (or its positions seemed more moderate) in the 1940s. From its founding through the mid-1950s, the NCC remained cautious and mainstream in its stances but still drew accusations of communism from conservatives. It stunned the NCC to discover in 1960 that an Air Force training manual warned of communist infiltration in the churches and mentioned the NCC by name. The manual's data came from conservative Christian publications. By the mid- to late-1950s, the NCC was liberalizing in a way that alienated staunch conservatives. See Pratt, The Liberalization of American Protestantism.

16. “On Foreign Policy.”

17. R. H. Edwin Espy, personal interview by author, Doylestown, Pa., August 26, 1991. Robert Bilheimer worked with many denominational secretaries who wanted the NCC to be far more activist on Vietnam than he did. Robert Bilheimer, personal interview by author, St. Cloud, Minn., August 5–8, 1993, and telephone interview by author, December 14, 1991; James Hamilton and Allan Parrent, personal interviews by author, Washington, D.C., November 21, 1991; Richard Fernandez, the director of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, concurred that “the denominations wanted the NCC to take the heat on tough issues.” See Richard Fernandez, personal interview by author, Philadelphia, Pa., October 31, 1991. Dean Kelley agreed, saying, “we take the heat, they [the denominations] pay the bills.” Dean Kelley, personal interview by author, New York, N.Y., October 28, 1991.

18. Norman Baugher to Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, July 26, 1965, RG 4, box 33, folder 14, NCC Archives. On the same day, Robert Spike of the Commission on Religion and Race sent Espy a memorandum expressing similar sentiments. See Robert Spike, memorandum to Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, July 26, 1965, RG 4, box 33, folder 14, NCC Archives.

19. W. Harold Row, “Vietnam—A Report,” September 1965, RG 4, box 33, folder 14, NCC Archives.

20. Dr. Harold Row, Special Advisory Committee on Vietnam, taped presentation, September 29, 1965, RG 6, box 27, folder 4, NCC Archives. He also says, “Any American effort in South Vietnam is dependent upon for [sic] the military for its transport, there is no other transport.” He also mourned the fact that International Voluntary Services had become “another front line of offense for the Pentagon!” It was in danger, he said, of being “prostituted to one aim and one aim only. Whatever you read, it is the containment or defeat of international communism.”

21. Kelley interview.

22. See Bilheimer's articulated approach in Robert Bilheimer, “Christian Witness in International Affairs,” NCC General Assembly, December 1966, 10–17, RG 3, box 4, folder 12, NCC Archives; and Anderson, Gordon L., “The Evolution of the Concept of Peace in the Work of the National Council of Churches,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 21 (Fall 1984): 730–54Google Scholar.

23. In 1934, a group of Protestant churches in Nazi Germany defied Hitler's decrees to change their theological teachings in ways that supported Nazi party actions against Jews. These churches called themselves the Confessing Church of Germany because they would confess what they deemed to be the biblical truth even in the face of state threats and persecution. They set an admired example of churches standing apart from the state in moral witness. Bilheimer wanted to inspire this spirit within the NCC.

24. Stenning, Church World Service, 15–16.

25. James MacCracken, memorandum on CWS and Church-State Relationship, April 11, 1967, RG 8, box 96, folder CWS: Church and State, 1967, NCC Archives. For another example of CWS's favorable disposition toward cooperating with government AID programs in Vietnam, see Hugh Farley to Hubert H. Humphrey, November 8, 1965, and its attached report, RG 5, box 17, folder 41, NCC Archives. See also discussion of this report in Doug Hostetter and Michael McIntyre, “The Politics of Charity,” Christian Century, September 18, 1974; Sullivan, Robert, “The Politics of Altruism: The American Church-State Conflict in the Food-for-Peace Program,” Journal of Church and State 11 (Winter 1969): 4761 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sullivan, Robert, “The Politics of Altruism: An Introduction to the Food for Peace Partnership between the United States Government and Voluntary Relief Agencies,” Western Political Quarterly 23 (1970): 762–68Google Scholar; and Sorenson, David S., “Food for Peace—Or Defense and Profit? The Role of P.L. 480, 1963–73,” Social Science Quarterly 60 (June 1979): 6271 Google Scholar.

26. CWS had collaborated with MCC in Vietnam in 1954 as well to meet the relief needs of northern Vietnamese fleeing to the south. Stenning, Church World Service, 16, 38–39. See also Frank Hutchison, “Human Need in Vietnam,” August 4, 1965, and “A National Council of Churches Program for Vietnam,” August 12, 1965, RG 4, box 33, folder 14, NCC Archives; Frank Hutchison, memorandum to David Stowe, “Reasons for Working through MCC in Vietnam,” October 14, 1965, RG 4, box 33, folder 14, NCC Archives; and Leaman, David E., “Politicized Service and Teamwork Tensions: Mennonite Central Committee in Vietnam, 1966–1969,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 71 (1997): 544–70Google Scholar.

27. This was not an objective goal of or motivation for CWS work in Vietnam. Nevertheless, it was a repercussive result, and one not lost on the U.S. government. Leaman, “MCC in Vietnam.”

28. Dean Rusk, telegram to AmEmbassy Saigon, Classified Secret, November 4, 1965, Pol 27 Viet S, RG 59, box 2971, National Archives II, Washington, D.C. (hereafter NAII for National Archives II); USAID/Saigon, Airgram to USAID Office, Department of State, February 21, 1973, AID(US) 15-9 Viet S, RG 59, box 588, folder 6/1/71, NAII; “Food for Peace Executive Committee Meeting,” White House, January 21, 1964, AID(US) 15, RG 59, box 530, folder 3/1/66, NAII; Dean Rusk, telegram to the ambassador, AmEmbassy Saigon, May 20, 1964, AID(US) 8 Viet S, RG 59, box 593, NAII.

29. Berger, Airgram to US Aid office, Department of State, April 21, 1971, AID(US) 7-2 Viet S, RG 59, box 587, folder 1/1/70, NAII.

30. An article in EACC News states, “The situation is such that any operation involving the import and transport of supplies and personnel needs the active support and cooperation of the U.S. AID authorities. These facts, together with the near impossibility of working in VC controlled territory means that any such work of relief in South Vietnam can be interpreted as support of and identification with the war effort.” “Saigon Reports Over 100,000 New Refugees,” EACC News, February 15, 1968, in RG 6, box 30, folder 30, NCC Archives.

31. Hostetter and McIntyre, “The Politics of Charity.” By the early 1960s, two-thirds of CWS aid came from the government's supply of surplus goods (PL 480 commodities), the transportation costs and distribution logistics of which were government supplied. See James MacCracken, memorandum on CWS and church-state relations. See also correspondence between Department of State, Agency for International Development, Food for Freedom [Peace] Division and Church World Service, RG 8, box 97, folder: Food for Peace 1967–1968 I, and F: Food for Peace II, NCC Archives. See also James M. Wall, “The Senate Debates Food,” Christian Century, March 5, 1975.

32. Hostetter and McIntyre, “The Politics of Charity.” See also USAID/Saigon, Airgram to USAID Office State Department, “P/L 480 Title II Program Proposal FY ‘71,” April 25, 1970, AID(US) 15-9 Viet S, RG 59, box 588, folder 1/1/70, NAII; Robert W. Miller to Boyd Lowry on Cambodian Refugee Developments, May 8, 1970, RG 8, box 97, folder: Indochina, 1970, NCC Archive; and EACC News 5, no. 7 (April 15, 1970), RG 8, box 97, folder: Indochina 1970, NCC Archives. For an illustration of how CWS missions personnel viewed the Viet Cong as their enemy too, since, of course, they worked with the Saigon and U.S. military, see Terry Bonnette, memorandum to Dean Hancock, April 17, 1970, RG8, box 97, folder: Indochina, 1970, NCC Archives. For another perspective of one who, while circumstantially aligned with the Saigon and U.S. military, began questioning U.S. policy, see Samuel R. Hope, “Vietnam Christian Service,” Journal of Presbyterian History 47 (June 1969): 103–23.

33. Dean Rusk, telegram to AmEmbassy Belgrade, AmConsul Zagreb, AmEmbassy Warsaw, “PL 480 and Food for Freedom Legislation,” August 25, 1966, AID(US) 15, RG 59, box 530, folder 8/1/66, NAII; confidential RG 59, box 588, folder 6/1/71, NAII; “Food for Peace Executive Committee Meeting,” White House, January 21, 1964, AID(US) 15, RG 59, box 530, folder 3/1/66, NAII; Dean Rusk, telegram to the ambassador, AmEmbassy Saigon, May 20, 1964, AID(US) 8 Viet S, RG 59, box 593, NAII. 29. Berger, Airgram to US Aid office, Department of State, April 21, 1971, AID(US) 7-2 Viet S, RG 59, box 587, folder 1/1/70, NAII.

34. Elston interviews.

35. Ronald Stenning, telephone interview by author, February 1, 1998. Such overt blending of church and U.S. war efforts drew much critical press for Catholic Relief Services.

36. Frank Hutchison, memorandum to Mr. John Mullen, February 9, 1967, RG 6, box 26, folder 14, NCC Archives.

37. Gerhard Elston, memorandum to Kurtis Naylor and Robert Bilheimer, April 5, 1967, RG 6, box 26, folder 13, NCC Archives; Robert Bilheimer, memorandum to James MacCracken, October 21, 1969, RG 6, box 26, folder 9, NCC Archives; Howard Schomer, memorandum to James MacCracken, October 22, 1969, RG 6, box 26, folder 9, NCC Archives.

38. Bilheimer interviews.

39. David Hunter, telephone interview by author, October 16, 1992. Hunter, former associate general secretary of the NCC, described the large rift between the “social service” and “social action” people in the NCC as being partly rooted in budgetary competition. Both groups were convinced that their financial needs were paramount and, as Hunter said, they could not get excited about the other's ministry.

40. “Is Relief Enough?” Time, October 21, 1974, 97–98; Stenning, Church World Service.

41. MacCracken, James, memorandum on CWS and church-state relationship; The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.: What It Is and What It Does (New York: National Council of Churches, 1965)Google Scholar. The percentage of the NCC budget generated and used by CWS would only continue to grow. As an example of one Methodist minister who wanted to continue giving to CWS but not to the rest of the NCC due to its “communist” image, see Rev. R. Odell Brown to Edwin Espy et al., October 6, 1969, RG 4, box 36, folder 13, NCC Archives.

42. John W. Abbott, “CWS's Mandate: A Look at the Other Side,” Christian Century, September 4, 1974, 823–24; “The National Council of Churches under New Management,” Christianity Today, July 26, 1974, 37.

43. Hunter interview.

44. As examples, see Interpretation Manual, April 25, 1961, 20–21, RG 4, box 36, folder 30, NCC Archives; The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.: What It Is and What It Does, 1965, RG 4, box 36, folder 30, NCC Archives. See also Pratt, The Liberalization of American Protestantism, 256–57.

45. David Stowe, summary of church-state discussion in NCC, presented to DOM Program Board, March 3, 1967, RG 8, box 96, folder: CWS: Church and State, 1967, NCC Archives; Thomas J. Liggett to James MacCracken, February 16, 1972, RG 8, box 98, folder: Denominations, NCC Archives; Mac-Cracken to Liggett, February 24, 1972, RG 8, box 98, folder: Denominations, NCC Archives. See MacCracken, memorandum on CWS and church-state relationship. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, CWS projects might receive twothirds of their funding and supplies from government sources. But Stenning says that, by 1974, CWS had cuts its use of PL 480 commodities to 15 percent of its budget and had it down to 10 percent by 1975. See Church World Service, 25 and 65. In 1989, Delloff listed government aid at 9 percent of the CWS budget. Linda-Marie Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II),” Christianity and Crisis, January 9, 1989, 466–72. CWS still accepts government help for specific relief projects.

46. See “A Report to the Consultation on Christian Concerns in Tomorrow's Vietnam,” January 9, 1970, RG 6, box 26, folder 8, NCC Archives; Newt Thurber, “Mission in Vietnam—A Report to the Consultation on Christian Concerns in Tomorrow's Vietnam,” March 5, 1971, RG 6, box 26, folder 7, NCC Archives. In Church World Service, Stenning emphasizes that CWS always had a policy that emphasized self-help and indigenous control of relief programs once indigenous groups were ready to take over. But the records indicate that time and debate took the CWS's Commission on Tomorrow's Vietnam in that direction.

47. Stenning interview. See also Stenning, Church World Service, 23–105. Staff members in the NCC's International Affairs Commission recalled that “old China hands” (i.e., former Christian missionaries in China before its fall to communism) within the DOM tended to side with CWS, while other DOM executives understood the IAC's “confessing church” suspicion of government entanglements.

48. Leaman, “MCC in Vietnam.”

49. As one sign of this, see MacCracken's biting response to the VNCS personnel director who was beginning to criticize the war and advocate more political involvement for VNCS in ibid., 563.

50. See Hostetter and McIntyre, “The Politics of Charity.” See also Stenning, Church World Service, 32.

51. James MacCracken to Howard Kresge, August 17, 1971, RG 8, box 98, folder: A.I.D., NCC Archives. For some statistics on numbers served and amounts of food distributed over its history, see Stenning, Church World Service.

52. See John W. Abbott, “CWS's Mandate: A Look at the Other Side,” The Christian Century, September 4, 1974, 823–24.

53. See Stenning, Church World Service, 63–64; and CWS Consultation, Stony Point, New York (June 20–21, 1973).

54. The United States and East Asia: A Christian Context for the Development of New Relationships among Peoples, The Program Boards of Division of Christian Life and Mission and Division of Overseas Ministries, NCC, December 1971, Robert Bilheimer personal files.

55. Peter Kihss, “Church World Service Repudiates Promotion of Revolutionary Change,” New York Times, July 16, 1974, 71:1. See also John W. Abbott, “CWS's Mandate: A Look at the Other Side,” Christian Century, September 4, 1974, 823–24; and “Is Relief Enough?”

56. James Wall, “Strategy Conflict at Church World Service,” Christian Century, July 17, 1973. Specifically, Eugene Stockwell, recently appointed head of the DOM and a United Methodist with a missions background in Latin America, pressed for MacCracken's departure with the support of NCC executives.

57. Hostetter and McIntyre, “The Politics of Charity.” Interestingly, Hostetter (Mennonite) worked in Vietnam for Vietnam Christian Service from 1966 to 1969. For more on Hostetter's work with VNCS, see Leaman, “MCC in Vietnam.”

58. This was done in conjunction with Lutheran World Relief, which paid 40 percent of the cost; CWS paid 60 percent. See Stenning, Church World Service, 64–87.

59. Fiske wrote this article after the NCC's Detroit General Assembly in 1969. Edward B. Fiske, “Church Council's Parley: Several Steps Further to the Left,” New York Times, December 8, 1969, RG 4, box 35, folder 13, NCC Archives.

60. Roy Branson, “Time to Meet the Evangelicals?” Christian Century, December 24, 1969, 1640–43; VanderWerf, Nathan H., The Times Were Very Full (New York: National Council of Churches, 1975), 93, 96–97Google Scholar; James M. Wall, “The Unreal World of an NCC Meeting,” Christian Century, March 19, 1975, 275–76.

61. The social justice wing had survived the 1960s on special onetime program gifts to its civil rights and peace programs, as well as on budget dollars designated by denominational executives who largely supported the NCC's controversial work in spite of criticism at the grassroots. These money sources dried up by the late 1960s. VanderWerf, The Times Were Very Full, 75, 83, 85, 93, 99.

62. Ibid., 91.

63. See ibid., 91–97, 107, for a summary of its positions on a variety of controversial subjects between 1972 and 1975. These include seeking a restoration of normal relations with Cuba, opposition to apartheid in South Africa, condemnation of Portuguese colonialism, support for legitimate independence movements, support for the United Farm Workers’ boycotts, providing material and legal aid for the American Indian Movement during and after its siege at Wounded Knee, support for Palestinian independence and nationhood, and opposition to deportation of Haitian refugees seeking asylum.

64. Ibid., 93; “NCC Unit to ‘Listen,’” Christian Century, March 27, 1974, 334–35.

65. See Wall, “The Unreal World of an NCC Meeting.”

66. CWS was overruled by its superiors in the council's Division of Oversees Missions. See also Kihss, “Church World Service Repudiates Promotion of Revolutionary Change”; John W. Abbott, “CWS's Mandate: A Look at the Other Side,” Christian Century, September 4, 1974, 823–24; and “Is Relief Enough?”

67. See Jeff Manza and Clem Brooks, “Changing Political Fortunes of Mainline Protestants,” in The Quiet Hand of God: Faith-Based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism, ed. Robert Wuthnow and John H. Evans (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002), 159–78. Even though the essay's argument asserts the gradual growing liberalism of mainline voters from the 1960s to the 1990s, the voting charts provided in the article reveal a mainline dip toward conservative ideas in 1980 when Reagan was elected.

68. Richard N. Ostling, “Warring over Where Donations Go,” Time, March 28, 1983, 58–59.

69. Rael Jean Isaac, “Do You Know Where Your Church Offerings Go?” Reader's Digest, January 1983, 120–25; Robert McAfee Brown, “The Gospel According to Morley Safer,” Christian Century, March 2, 1983, 183–86; “‘60 Minutes’ Preview,” Christian Century, March 9, 1983, 209–10; James M. Wall, “A Religious Mandate to Be Involved,” Christian Century, March 9, 1983, 203; and Isaac C. Rottenberg, “Why Did the NCC Get Such Bad Press?” Christianity Today, May 20, 1983, 25–26.

70. For example, they said it denounced U.S. supported dictatorial regimes in Latin America, like the Somoza government in Nicaragua, but muted its criticism of communist governments like Cuba, Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union. They accused the council of sending food relief into communist Vietnam, knowing that its repressive regime would benefit as well.

71. Marjorie Hyer, “Interfaith Conference Spurs Debate on Religious Liberty,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1985, 5.

72. Ibid.; Kenneth L. Woodward with David Gates, “Ideology Under the Alms,” Newsweek, February 7, 1983, 61–62.

73. See also Rottenberg, “Why Did the NCC Get Such Bad Press?”

74. Wall, “A Religious Mandate to Be Involved.”

75. See Brown, “The Gospel According to Morley Safer”; “‘60 Minutes’ Preview”; Wall, “A Religious Mandate to Be Involved.”

76. Linda-Marie Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II),” Christianity and Crisis, January 9, 1989, 466–72.

77. Stenning, Church World Service, 99; James Wall, “‘Integration’ Sparks NCC Showdown,” Christian Century, November 4, 1987, 955–56.

78. “CWS Chief Endorsed,” Christian Century, October 28, 1987, 936–37.

79. Jean Caffey Lyles, “The National Council of Churches: Is There Life After 50?” Christian Century, November 10, 1999, 1086–93; Arie Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC,” Christian Century, June 27–July 4, 1990, 641–45.

80. Wall, “‘Integration’ Sparks NCC Showdown”; Brouwer, “The Real Crises at the NCC”; Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, “Time for New Wineskins?” Christian Century, November 10, 1999, 1076–77; Lyles, “The NCC: Is There Life After 50?”

81. Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II).” This article also puts some of the blame upon poor financial management and planning.

82. “CWS Chief Endorsed.”

83. Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC”; Wall, “‘Integration’ Sparks NCC Showdown”; Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II)”; Jean Caffey Lyles, “NCC Officials Put Dispute on Hold,” Christian Century, November 18, 1987, 1021–22; Stenning, Church World Service, 114–15.

84. Lyles, “The NCC: Is There Life After 50?”; Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC”; William Lawson and Roger Schrock, “Interpreting the Crisis at the NCC,” Christian Century, June 27–July 4, 1990, 637–38.

85. “CWS Chief Endorsed.”

86. In “Butler Resigns from CWS,” Christian Century, June 8–15, 1988, 567; “Figure in the National Council of Churches’ Power Struggle Quits,” Los Angeles Times, May 28, 1988, 6.

87. Gustav Spohn, “NCC Leader Stuns Board,” Christianity Today, June 16, 1989, 52. For Brouwer's perspective, see Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC.”

88. Spohn, “NCC Leader Stuns Board,” 52; Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC;” “CWS Seeks Independence,” Christian Century, December 21–28, 1988, 1176. CWS had considered independence other times in the past.

89. Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II)”; Brouwer, “The Real Crisis at the NCC.”

90. Granberg-Michaelson, “Time for New Wineskins?”; “Embattled Head of National Council of Churches Quits,” Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1989, 7; “Council of Churches’ Head to Resign Today,” Washington Post, June 27, 1989, A6; David Klinghoffer, “National Council of Churches Eschews Reform,” Wall Street Journal, May 15, 1989, 1; “Split Vote Over Leadership Reflects National Council of Churches’ Rift,” Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1989, 6.

91. Delloff, “The NCC in a New Time (II)”; “Split Vote Over Leadership Reflects National Council of Churches’ Rift.”

92. Stenning, Church World Service, 116–17.

93. John H. Adams, “NCC Wants to Divert Hunger Funds to Reduce Budget Shortfall,” Layman Online, November 18, 1999 (January 30, 2003), www.layman.org; Sarah Vilankulu, personal conversation with author, New York, N.Y., July 17, 2003. Vilankulu has served in the communications department for both organizations since 1977. Another reason for calling itself CWS/CROP could likely be because the name “CROP” is well-known by laity and popular with them. Though “CROP” was originally an acronym for “Christian Rural Overseas Program,” it is an acronym no longer; it is the name used to designate community interfaith hunger education and fund raising events sponsored by CWS.

94. William McKinney, “The NCC in a New Time (I), Christianity and Crisis, January 9, 1989, 465–66.

95. Kenneth S. Kantzer, “Liberalism's Rise and Fall,” Christianity Today, February 18, 1983, 10–11.

96. Rottenberg, “Why Did the NCC Get Such Bad Press?”

97. The deficit figure comes from Rev. Dr. Paul Crow, Jr., who served on the NCC's governing board for about thirty years. Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, personal interview with author, Boise, Idaho, May 22, 2003. See also Peter J. Pizor to GAC Executive Committee [Presbyterian Church U.S.A.], February 14, 2000 (January 30, 2003), http://www.pforum.org/wupdates/gac2000/pizor.htm.

98. McCullough interview.

99. Rev. Edgar asserted the first point in an interview with the author. The second is found in Clifton Kirkpatrick to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), November 19, 1999 (January 30, 2003), http://www.pcusa.org/oga/sclerk/nccletter.htm.

100. CWS budget information is posted on its Web site: http://www.churchworldservice.org.

101. McCullough interview. See also Diane L. Knippers and Joan Brown Campbell, “Have American Churches Politicized Their Religious Mission?” Insight on the News, February 12, 1996, 26–28.

102. McCullough interview.

103. “Rev. Dr. Rodney Page Retires from CWS Director Post,” NCC News Service, May 31, 2000 (January 30, 2003), http://www.ncccusa.org/news/00archives.html.

104. Jean Caffey Lyles, “Dollars and Signs,” Christian Century, June 7–14, 2000, 638–39; “$500,000 Lilly Endowment Development Grant Caps National Council of Churches’ Financial Turnaround,” NCC News Service, August 1, 2002 (January 30, 2003), www.ncccusa.org/news/02archives.html; Lyles, “The NCC: Is There Life After 50?” 105. “Church World Service Launches New Identity,” NCC News Service, November 29, 2001 (January 30, 2003), http://www.ncccusa.org/news/01archives.html. See also McCullough interview.

106. See the CWS Web site: http://www.churchworldservice.org and the NCC website: www.ncccusa.org.

107. Edgar interview.

108. Loren J. Golden to the Layman Online, March 2, 2000; Claire Abel to the Layman Online, February 10, 2000 (January 30, 2003), http://www.layman.org.

109. McCullough interview. Conversation with Vilankulu.

110. Sarah Vilankulu said that the NCC is at its best when serving as a quick-response task force on crisis issues; it seems that that is when the churches most need and seek cooperation with the NCC.

111. “$500,000 Lilly Endowment Grant”; Edgar interview; “National Council of Churches,” Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2001, (January 30, 2003) http://www.pforum.org/ga213/primer/issues/ncc.htm.

112. Gustav Niebuhr, “Church Council Meets Amid Financial Crisis,” New York Times, November 13, 1999, A13; “Council Focuses on Fiscal Woes, Staff Cuts,” Los Angeles Times, November 13, 1999, 3.

113. “Balancing the Budget,” The Christian Century, December 6, 2000, 1264; “New Goals at the NCC,” Christian Century, October 18, 2000, 1029–30; “Ecumenically Challenged,” The Christian Century, June 7–14, 2000, 637; Gustav Niebuhr, “Council of Churches Proposes Meeting with Christian Groups,” New York Times, October 23, 2000, A14; Larry B. Stammer, “Church Councils Seek to Speak with One Voice,” Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2000, A1. It should be noted that the NCC has always been interested in building ties with churches representing these other Christian expressions. Some in the National Association of Evangelicals have shown recent openness toward working with the NCC. See John Dart, “Ecumenical Wobbling,” The Christian Century, December 13, 2000, 1292–94; and “NAE to Review Its Inclusive Stance,” Christian Century, April 4, 2001, 10.

114. Niebuhr, “Council of Churches Proposes Meeting with Christian Groups”; “Thriving on Challenges,” Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1999, B2, 1; Niebuhr, “Church Council Meets Amid Financial Crisis”; Stammer, “Church Councils Seek to Speak with One Voice.” 115. Although CCT has drawn Roman Catholic, evangelical, and Pentecostal involvement, conservative churches continue to be suspicious of it because of its perceived connection to the NCC. John Dart, “New Funds Boost NCC,” Christian Century, August 14, 2002, 12–13.

116. Edgar interview.

117. These include the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Both Edgar and Vilankulu confirmed the sensed need for continuation of the NCC's special advocacy role.

118. Edgar interview.

119. Edgar has made numerous television appearances since his hire, going toe-to-toe in interviews with Jerry Falwell and other leaders of conservative Christian organizations like the Christian Coalition and the Institute for Religion and Democracy. This helps illustrate for the public that the religious right does not speak for the whole of Christian America.

120. See the CUIC Web site at http://www.eden.edu/cuic/cuic.htm. Edgar interview.

121. Edgar and McCullough interviews.

122. McCullough interview and Vilankulu conversation. In an e-mail update in October 2003, Sarah Vilankulu informed me that the NCC's new associate general secretary for international affairs and peace, Antonios Kireopoulos, and CWS's deputy director for programs, Kirsten Laursen, were asked to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations; it will address the need for greater NCC/CWS communication and discuss possibilities for collaboration in areas of overlap between the two organizations.

123. Edgar and McCullough interviews. Rev. McCullough informed me in an e-mail update in October 2003 that he and Rev. Edgar are planning to co-lead a delegation to North Korea; he mentioned this to illustrate that they are continuing to redefine the NCC/CWS relationship and as evidence of their commitment to remain as part of one common ecumenical family.

124. McCullough interview.

125. “Item 7 Report on WCC Central Committee.” 126. For more on debates over “real ecumenism” within the NCC, see Gill, Jill K., “The Decline of Real Ecumenism: Robert Bilheimer and the Vietnam War,” Journal of Presbyterian History 81, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 221–42Google Scholar.

127. The analogy of the “right” and “left” arm was made by Robert Edgar, interview.