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Kinnamon returns to familiar turf: the classroom

Former NCC general secretary accepts Seattle University teaching post

May 8, 2012

Michael Kinnamon

Michael Kinnamon

NEW YORK

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, former National Council of Churches (NCC) general secretary, has announced plans to accept a three-year academic post at Seattle University.

Kinnamon, who stepped down as general secretary at the end of last year for health reasons, will move to Seattle in August as the Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor in Ecumenical Collaboration and Interreligious Dialogue at the Jesuit university's School of Theology and Religious Studies.

“It is a wonderful three-year position, working with fine colleagues, that will allow considerable time for scholarship and public engagements,” Kinnamon said.

The innovative Seattle University program, accredited to grant the master of divinity degree, is in partnership with 10 Protestant denominations.

The extensive travel undertaken during his four years as NCC general secretary were taking a toll on his health, and Kinnamon’s cardiologist advised him to step down. Four months later, Kinnamon said, “I am feeling fine, and am grateful for all the notes and prayers sent my way.”

Kinnamon’s friends and colleagues at the NCC welcomed the news of his new assignment. “Teaching is one of Michael's many gifts,” said Clare Chapman, who has been serving as NCC interim general secretary. “His knowledge of the history of the ecumenical movement, and his skill in communicating ecumenical theology and trends, were enormous assets to the Council and all its member communions. We know both his students and colleagues will benefit greatly from his presence at Seattle University.”

Kinnamon has written extensively on the ecumenical movement, most recently, The Vision of the Ecumenical Movement and How it has Been Impoverished by its Friends (Chalice Press).

He wrote the official report of the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and he is the co-editor of The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices, a volume widely regarded as an essential tool for students of ecumenism. A second edition of the anthology, co-edited with Antonios Kireopoulos, associate general secretary of the NCC for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations, is due out this summer.

Kinnamon has made important contributions to two other staples of ecumenical literature, The History of the Ecumenical Movement and the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement.

He was general secretary of the Consultation on Church Union, which became Churches Uniting in Christ, from 1999 to 2002. He was executive secretary of the WCC’s Commission on Faith and Order from 1980 to 1983 and had a major role in drafting the WCC’s major planning document, “Toward a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC.”

Before assuming his tenure at the National Council of Churches, Kinnamon was the professor of mission, peace and ecumenical studies at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, where he had served since 2000. He was professor of theology and ecumenical studies at Lexington (Ky.) Theological Seminary from 1988 to 2000 and was dean of the seminary from 1988 to 1998.

Kinnamon was assistant professor of theology at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, from 1983 to 1988 and acting dean from 1986 to 1988. He was a visiting professor at United Theological College and South Asian Theological Institute, Bangalore, India, in 1987 and 1997.

He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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