An ecumenical veteran leaving the NCC

The Rev. Eileen Lindner, a leading voice for ecumenism with the National Council of Churches, will leave the NCC on May 15.

Lindner, a Presbyterian minister, has been with the NCC for three decades. She served as Deputy General Secretary for Research and Planning until this year, when she became Director of Organizational Development after a NCC reorganization.

In a statement, she said that the position likely requires a full-time fund-raiser. And that’s not her.

ewl3.jpgShe is well known for overseeing the NCC’s respected Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, which is probably the most credible source of denominational facts and figures.

The NCC is, of course, based at the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive in NYC, the capital of organizational mainline Protestantism.

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary, wrote in a statement to staff:

I am sure you join me in celebrating Eileen’s commitment and ministry in her time with the Council, especially her leadership with the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the development of the policy statement on human genetics, and her concerns for children and health care to list only a few. I am deeply appreciative of Eileen’s abiding commitment to the Council and its future and trust that her ministry will continue to serve Christ’s church.

I remember a great quote that Lindner gave me way back in 1998 when I wrote a lengthy feature on the growing divide over homosexuality:

While churches have their policies on abortion, it is ultimately a private decision. On homosexuality, there is no privacy, no such middle ground. So each denomination, whatever they decide, risks the clerical equivalence of civil disobedience. The result is the most schismatic issue since slavery and rubble as far as the eye can see.

Rubble as far as the eye can see.