Religion: Chilly Climate

A troubled group's new head

The National Council of Churches was born in Cleveland in 1950 with a blizzard raging outside the hall, but with sizzling enthusiasm coming from the 4,000 delegates inside. Last week the weather in Cleveland was warmer, but the social and religious climate had turned chilly as the N.C.C. celebrated a belated 30th anniver sary and mulled its many woes. The loudly trumpeted "Ecumenical Event" was supposed to draw 2,000-plus clergy and lay leaders. Instead, only 900 showed up.

For years the N.C.C. has appeared to be little more than the...

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