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National Council of Churches

Logo of the NCC

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, usually identified as the National Council of Churches (NCC), is an

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National Council of Churches FBI files obtained through the FOIA and hosted at the Internet Archive

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External links

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The Council was the original anchor tenant in the 19-story Interchurch Center built in 1952 adjacent to Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary and The Riverside Church in New York City, but it vacated these premises in 2013, when it consolidated its offices in the building long used by its public-policy staff at 110 Maryland Avenue, N.E., on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.[19]


[18] The NCC is a founding member of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a partnership established in 1980 to provide religious television programming for the local affiliates of


The NCC Faith and Order Commission is an ongoing, scholarly, ecumenical dialogue among North American Christian theologians and church historians, including Evangelical, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and African-American scholars. In 2007, the Commission celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.[17]

Theological and ecumenical dialogue

The NCC also publishes the annual Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, since 1916 a widely used reference work on trends, statistics and programmatic information on religious organizations in North America.

The NCC sponsors the research program on which the Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series is based. The series began in 1872 under the auspices of the National Sunday School Convention.[16]

The NCC fostered the multi-denominational research effort that produced the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and holds the copyright to both translations.[15]

Publishing and research

In July 2005, the Antiochian Orthodox Church suspended its participation in the NCC because, according to an assistant to the denomination's senior cleric, "the NCC...seems to have taken a turn toward political positioning." [14]

NCC partners with dozens of other faith-based groups, such as Bread for the World, Habitat for Humanity, and Children's Defense Fund, to press for broad policy initiatives that address poverty issues.[12] The Council helped launch the Let Justice Roll grassroots anti-poverty campaign that has been successful in raising the minimum wage in more than 20 states since 2005.[13]

Since the late 1960s the NCC has taken positions sympathetic towards Palestinian land rights.[11]

The Council has supported minimum wage laws,[8] environmentalist policies, and affirmative action,[9] and played a significant role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.[10]

The member churches have engaged on issues of public policy and moral values, including the adoption of the "Social Creed of the Churches" in 1908, a document addressing the moral and ethical issues facing society, updated by the NCC General Assembly in 2007.[7]

Although often accused of being a left-wing organization, the NCC never attracted support from the New Left. The result of being caught in the national polarization between left and right in a variety of controversies has been a long-lasting challenge to its influence.[2]

According to Gill (2011), the NCC's position against the Vietnam War became increasingly strident in the 1960s and 1970s, and alienated the laity.[2] As in the Mainline churches, the senior officials and the laity had diverging positions on public policy.[5] At one point conservative media falsely reported NCC had channeled money to Communist groups in Vietnam and left-wing groups in Central America, provoking an outcry. Even the NCC's defenders admitted it had been "opaque" and "tone-deaf to their constituents."[6]

Social and political advocacy


The Council's 37 member denominations, churches, conventions, and archdioceses include Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, African American, Evangelical, Josephite, and historic peace churches.[3] Individual adherents of more than 50 Christian faith groups actively participate in NCC study groups, commissions and ministries. Some of these participants belong to Christian faith groups, including the Roman Catholics, fundamentalists, Southern Baptists, and Missouri Synod Lutherans, that are not officially a part of the Council's membership.[2]



  • Membership 1
  • Social and political advocacy 2
  • Publishing and research 3
  • Theological and ecumenical dialogue 4
  • Media 5
  • Facilities 6
  • References 7
  • See also 8
  • External links 9

The NCC's strong position against the Vietnam War in the 1960s alienated many laity, leading to a decline in influence among pro-war members of some of its member bodies.[2]

The NCC's influence reached its peak in the 1950s, largely because of its commitment to ecumenism, and to the popularity of a wide variety of collaborative programs and ministries undertaken by its member churches, including the humanitarian movement, Church World Service.


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