April 24, 2018
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NCC head to speak at seminary event

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The head of the National Council of Churches will speak at the 105th annual convocation at Bangor Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Michael Kinnamon was elected the ninth general secretary of the council in 2007.

The seminary’s annual meeting will be held Monday through Wednesday, Jan. 25-27, in Gracie Theatre at the Beardsley Meeting House on Husson University campus.

Seminary President Kent Ulery on Wednesday described convocation as an “opportunity to grow in faith for pastors and laypeople.”

Kinnamon will speak at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday. He has focused his work with the NCC on commonalities rather than differences.

“Unity is not synonymous with agreement,” he said at the time of his election as general secretary, according to information on the NCC Web site. “We understand that we have deep disagreements and try to address them. This is a consequence of being in Christ.

“The church is where the spirit is,” he continued. “Look for that when we sit around these tables. Trust that the spirit has claimed these others. Getting to know one another builds that trust. This is how we deal with ongoing conflicts — not as a political caucus, but as sisters and brothers.”

The NCC was founded in 1950 to foster ecumenical cooperation among Christians. It claims to represent indirectly 45 million people in more than 100,000 congregations around the country, according to its Web site.

The Bangor seminary decided to hold its 2010 convocation in the 500-seat Gracie Theatre, completed last summer. It will be the first time in more than 50 years that the event has not been held at Hammond Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Bangor.

Even though the seminary relocated from its historic campus between Ohio and Hammond streets in September 2005 to the Husson campus, convocation continued to be held at the church, located a short walk from the seminary’s historic campus.

Ulrey said that before deciding to hold convocation at Husson, he took the idea to the executive committee of the Alumni Association.

“The reaction,” Ulery said Wednesday, “was that this is a good idea and may help the alumni reclaim a connection with the seminary in a new place. It also reflects our relationship with Husson.”

The three-day program, which includes worship services, lectures and an alumni dinner, will feature two other nationally known ministers, the Rev. Martin Copenhaver and the Rev. Lillian Daniel. It also will introduce the seminary’s two new faculty members, the Rev. Michelle Ellis, instructor in Hebrew Scripture, and Pamela Shellberg, instructor in New Testament, to alumni and other clergy in Maine.

Copenhaver and Daniel’s book, “This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers,” will be given to convocation attendees. Copenhaver is senior pastor at Wellesley, Mass., Congregational Church. Daniel is senior minister at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Ill.

For more information, contact Bangor Theological Seminary at 942-6781 or visit www.bts.edu.

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