(RNS) The National Council of Churches announced on Wednesday (Nov. 9) that General Secretary Michael Kinnamon is resigning due to health reasons.
Kinnamon, 63, told the ecumenical group’s governing board that he must “immediately and significantly” reduce his activity, especially the frequent travel required by the job, under the advice of his cardiologist.

A minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kinnamon was elected to lead the New York-based NCC in 2007, amid staff layoffs and budget cuts.

NCC President Peg Chemberlin said in a statement that “Kinnamon’s announcement comes at a challenging time for the life of the council but we’re encouraged that Michael is willing to work with us on this important transition.”

Kinnamon had agreed to serve another four-year term as general secretary before his health issues arose, according to the NCC.

The financial and membership declines of the mainline Protestant churches that form the backbone of the NCC have forced the ecumenical group to reduce programs and staff in recent years.

Under Kinnamon, the NCC cut spending on programs and administration from about $6.2 million in 2008 to about $5.4 million last year, according to annual reports. The NCC’s income also declined, from about $5.4 million in 2008 to $5.1 million last year.

During Kinnamon’s tenure, the NCC maintained its largely liberal political advocacy on behalf of peace, aid for the poor and immigration reform.

In a 2010 interview, Kinnamon said the NCC “attests to a faith that transcends like-minded enclaves and includes people who would otherwise avoid each other like the plague.”

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