Religion: Crunch at the Council

Is the National Council of Churches an anachronism? Founded in a flush of enthusiasm 19 years ago to promote ecumenism and cooperative social action among Christian churches, the council has come under increasing fire lately. Critics—many of them inside the N.C.C. —argue that its cumbersome bureaucracy can do little more than issue position papers on current problems, and that practical accomplishments like its controversial Delta Ministry, which works among poor Mississippi Negroes, are rare exceptions. During preparations for this month's triennial general assembly in Detroit, Christian Century predicted that the N.C.C. would see "a crunch of intense feelings and an...

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