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National Council of Churches
by Archpriest Andrew Harrison

I was invited to attend the annual meeting of the National Council of Churches in Chicago as part of the OCA delegation. I attended the Orthodox Caucas meeting which consisted of Coptic, Greek, Armenian, Antiochian, and Syrian Orthodox representatives. Bishop Dimitrios from the Greek Orthodox Church presided.

The secretary proposed we open a dialogue with Black Churches because they usually take the same stand on issues as the Orthodox. She also reported that the Penecostal Church of God in Christ was applying for membership in the NCC. They also have similiar positions on abortion, women's ordination, and homosexuality and are asking about other member churches that are not Protestant. The growing conservative membership is giving the Orthodox Churches more impact on the direction of the NCC. The mainline protestant churches are in decline which is giving them an identity crisis. Their theological differences are becoming blurred. This creates for them a problem with ecumenism.

There was a general consensus that Orthodox participation in the NCC will help Orthodoxy in general confront the problems created in the modern world. The secretary suggested that we need greater and more effective participation and gave the following recommendations.

1. The development of an Orthodox liason committee be to help the NCC deal with problems.

2. A need to train the younger generation in ecumenical activities.

3. That the NCC facilitate annual meeetings between inter-Orthodox and Oriential Orthodox to work toward greater participation.

She also spoke about the fall out which will occur with the attempt of the Metropolitian community church who is seeking membership in the NCC. The Black African churches as well as the Orthodox Church have taken a strong stand against their membership.

The role of the Orthodox Church's participation in the NCC was discussed. The opinion of all was our primary role was to educate.

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