CHICAGO (ABP) – Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, was elected president-elect of the National Council of Churches Nov. 9 at a meeting of the NCC governing board in Chicago.
Medley will lead the ecumenical group representing 45 million people in more than 100,000 local congregations starting Jan. 1, 2014, following a two-year term by Kathryn Mary Lohre, who was installed Wednesday as president.
Lohre, director of ecumenical and inter-religious relations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, succeeds Peg Chemberlin, a Moravian clergywoman and executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches. It is the first time in the NCC’s 61-year history that a woman will succeed a woman as president.
Medley, the third American Baptist chosen as NCC president-elect, takes office at a critical time in the organization’s life. At the same meeting where he was elected, NCC leaders approved a “process for stable and grace-filled transition” after General Secretary Michael Kinnamon announced his intention to leave the position for health reasons. Kinnamon, 63, said his cardiologist insisted that the stresses of his job — particularly extensive travel — be reduced significantly and immediately.
Kinnamon, a Disciples of Christ clergyman and former professor of ecumenical studies at Eden Theological School in St. Louis, has led the National Council of Churches since 2008. He succeeded Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman who resigned after seven years to become president and CEO of Common Cause, a citizen’s lobbying group in Washington.
Before he became American Baptist general secretary, Medley was executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, one of 34 regions within the denomination. He previously was an area minister and minister of Mission Support for the region.
From 1979 to 1985 Medley was national director of the Neighborhood Action Program of American Baptist National Ministries. Medley’s pastoral experience includes service as interim pastor at Christ Congregation, Princeton, N.J. (1977-1978) and as the pastor at First Baptist Church, Trenton, N.J. (1974-1977), where he also served as a seminary intern and was ordained in 1975.
A native of Ringgold, Ga., Medley holds an A.B. degree (psychology) from the University of Chattanooga and an M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has received honorary D.Div. degrees from Alderson-Broaddus College, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Central Philippine University and Franklin College. He also participated in the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, Bossey, Switzerland (1972-1973).
He is a member of First Baptist Church, Freehold, N.J. Medley is married to the Rev. Dr. Patricia Stauffer Medley, an ordained Lutheran pastor currently serving Hope Lutheran Church, Freehold, N.J. They have two sons, Ethan and Jordan.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.