The National Council of Churches executive committee created a 15-member task force to "re-envision and restructure" the 62-year-old ecumenical body.
The appointment of the task force came at a gathering Feb. 22-24 of more than 30 denominational leaders who have been laying the groundwork for change over the past several months.
In September 2011, and again in November, the council's governing board — facing chronic financial shortfalls and the Dec. 31 departure of Michael Kinnamon as general secretary for health reasons — appointed three task forces to address the NCC's financial sustainability, the current ecumenical landscape in the country, and the NCC's transitional leadership needs.
NCC President Kathryn Lohre of the ELCA called the work of the task forces to date and the appointment of the new group "a signal of the rebirth of the NCC."
The new group is scheduled to bring a final report to the governing board's September 2012 meeting.
Those gathered reaffirmed the NCC's commitments to "visible unity in Christ and to justice and peace," adding that "the work of justice and peace is integral to the manifestation of visible unity in Christ."
Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop and chair of the transitional leader search committee, said the group hopes to present a candidate to the governing board by June 30.
Clare Chapman, NCC deputy general secretary and general counsel, has been serving as interim general secretary.
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