National Council of Churches

National Council of Churches
Logo of the NCC

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (usually identified as National Council of Churches or NCC) is an ecumenical partnership of 37 Christian faith groups in the United States. Its member denominations, churches, conventions, and archdioceses include Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, African American, Evangelical, and historic peace churches. Together, they encompass 100,000 local congregations and 45 million adherents.[1]



Publishing and research

The NCC holds the copyright on the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Some Orthodox bodies in the NCC have been hesitant to support either translation as a text to be used in worship services.[2]

The NCC sponsors the research program on which the Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series is based. The series began in 1872 under the auspices of the National Sunday School Convention.[3] It is now produced by volunteer writers, editors and Bible scholars from various denominations who meet annually to determine curriculum topics and lesson design.[citation needed]

Theological and educational dialogue

The NCC Faith and Order Commission is an ongoing, scholarly, ecumenical dialogue among North American Christian theologians and church historians, including Evangelical, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and African-American scholars.[citation needed] In 2007, the Commission celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.[4]

Web and television production

The NCC Communication Commission created and administers Worldwide Faith News, a news distribution website in the field of religion. WFN grants reporters and editors full permission to reproduce, copy, or quote all documents submitted by participating faith groups.[citation needed]

The NCC is an insitutional member of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a partnership established in 1980 with the stated goal of providing religious programming for ABC, NBC and CBS.[5] The current IBC members include the NCC, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the New York Board of Rabbis, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Islamic Society of North America.[5]

The NCC is also a founding member of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC), now operating as Odyssey Networks.[citation needed] This consortium of about 70 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim[citation needed] groups produces and distributes programming through a variety of media. NICC's earlier initiatives included the VISN satellite network, which later became the Odyssey cable channel, and finally the Hallmark Channel.[citation needed]

Social and political advocacy

The member churches have engaged on issues of public policy and moral values, including by adopting the "Social Creed of the Churches" in 1908, a document which was updated by the NCC General Assembly in 2007.[6]

The Council has supported minimum wage laws,[7] environmentalist policies, and affirmative action,[8] and played a significant role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.[9]

NCC partners with other faith-based groups, such as Bread for the World, Habitat for Humanity, and Children's Defense Fund, to press for broad policy initiatives that address poverty issues.[10] The Council helped launch the Let Justice Roll grassroots anti-poverty campaign that has been successful in raising the minimum wage in more than 20 states since 2005.[11]

The NCC's communions sometimes face opposition to their ecumenical efforts to address justice issues. In July 2005, the Antiochian Orthodox Church suspended its participation in the NCC. Father George Kevorkian, an assistant to the denomination's senior cleric, said that the Church objected because "the NCC...seems to have taken a turn toward political positioning." [12]

Some opponents[who?] have accused the NCC of holding a biased policy towards Cuba, and criticize relative silence by the NCC towards political and religious prisoners in countries with left-leaning and totalitarian leadership.[12] "NCC was silent about the depredations of Ethiopia's Marxist government, which left 10,000 dead and shuttered 200 churches. Nor did it criticize the Soviet Union's 1978 invasion of Afghanistan. Not until after the Soviet Union's collapse did NCC speak out on the subject of Communist oppression..."[12]

The NCC is a member of the Churches for Middle East Peace.[citation needed]

In spring 2007, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in Tehran with a visiting delegation of Christian leaders from a number of U.S. faith groups, including some from the National Council of Churches. The group challenged Ahmadinejad's statements about the Holocaust and his alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.[citation needed] Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, was among those who criticized the visit.[13]


All member organizations subscribe to the NCC's statement of faith, which reads as follows:

"The National Council of Churches is a community of Christian communions, which, in response to the gospel as revealed in the Scriptures, confess Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, as Savior and Lord. These communions covenant with one another to manifest ever more fully the unity of the Church. Relying upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the communions come together as the Council in common mission, serving in all creation to the glory of God."[14]

The individual member organizations are:


The Council's headquarters are located in The Interchurch Center in New York City. The NCC also operates a public-policy office in Washington DC.[15]


  1. ^ Civil Rights Greensboro: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
  2. ^ Bishop Tikhon. "Bishop's Pastoral Letter on the New Revised Standard Version". Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Historic Uniform Series Now Meets 21st Century Needs". Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  4. ^ "Celebrating 50 Years of Faith and Order". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  5. ^ a b "About Interfaith Broadcasting Commission: History". Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  6. ^ "The Social Creed of 1908 Updated for 21st Century". 
  7. ^ "Faith and community leaders urge Congress to raise minimum wage to $7.25 an hour". NCC News. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  8. ^ NCC General Assembly (1997). "Resolution on Continued Support For Affirmative Action". 
  9. ^ Findlay, Jr., James F. (1993). Church People in the Struggle: The National Council of Churches and the Black Freedom Movement, 1950-1970. Oxford University Press Inc, USA. ISBN 0-195-079-671. 
  10. ^ "NCC's Partners in Ministry". National Council of Churches. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  11. ^ "Morality of the Minimum". Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  12. ^ a b c "NCC Speaks Out About Withdrawal of Orthodox Church". 2005-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  13. ^ Anti-Defamation League. "Christians' Praise Of Ahmadinejad A Shameful Betrayal Of Christian-Jewish Relations". Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  14. ^ "About the National Council of Churches". Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  15. ^

External links

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