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Page 42, 8th October 1994

8th October 1994
Page 42
Page 42, 8th October 1994 — Controversial World Council appointment. The World Council of Churches is

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Controversial World Council appointment. The World Council of Churches is

set to .appoint as its deputy secretary-general a • theologian who was forced to resign from a senior administrative position in her Church after a conference last November. Mary Ann Lundy was associate director for churchwide planning at the Presbyterian Church (USA), and was the Church's national representative on the planning committee for the Re-Imagining conference held at Minneapolis. The purpose of this gathering of 2,000 women was to seek non-sexist ways of talking about God.

Some World Council members attended the conference, which passed off uneventfully. At a press conference Konrad Raiser, the WCC general secretary, commended the event as "one of the most ecumenical meetings held in this country in a long while", and commented that the "provocative formulations" of some of the speakers were "nothing outrageous". But after it was over the right-wing press criticised participants for having encouraged lesbianism, heresy and the worship of pagan goddesses. Prominent among these critics were the unofficial organ of the Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Layman, the United Methodist Good News movement and the interdenominational Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Subsequently, Mary Ann Lundy's name was eliminated from the General Assembly Council staff brochure at its June assembly although she was still working for the PCUSA at that time. Her treatment was likened by one observer to "the Soviet airbrush manner".

Mary Ann Lundy's appointment to the World Council post now has to be confirmed by a postal ballot of the 158 members of the WCC central committee.