General Secretary of the National Council of
"The Role of the Church in U.S. Foreign Policy Today" -
Robert Edgar is general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the leading U.S. organization in the movement for Christian unity. Thirty-six Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox member communions, to which approximately 50 million congregants belong, work together in the council to promote unity and serve churches and people worldwide.
Edgar took office Jan. 1, 2000, at a time of great opportunity, as the 50-year-old council began to reshape its life and mission. Under his leadership, the council is refocusing its energies on two major initiatives. One is a 10-year domestic Mobilization to Overcome Poverty. The other is an exploration of an expanded ecumenical vision for the new millennium, a conversation that includes Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, the Roman Catholic Church and the council’s member communions.
An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Edgar came to the Council from Claremont Theological School, Claremont, Calif., where he was president from 1990 to 2000. During that decade, he brought a school on the brink of collapse back to institutional health, confirming his reputation as an optimist, futurist and coalition builder who enjoys meeting a challenge.
Edgar is well known for his service as a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was the first Democrat in more than 120 years to be elected from the heavily Republican Seventh District of Pennsylvania. His election and service demonstrated the bipartisan, ecumenical quality that has marked his whole life and ministry. Serving in Congress from 1975 to 1987, he led efforts to improve public transportation, authored the community Right to Know provisions of Super Fund legislation, co-authored the new GI bill for the all-volunteer service, fought wasteful water projects and supported environmental goals. Among other appointments, he served as chair of the Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future (1982 to 1986) and was a member of the Select Committee on Assassinations (1976 to 1978) that investigated the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., and President John F. Kennedy. In 1987, true to his belief in term limits, he voluntarily stepped down from office.
Updated on 4/15/2003