The National Council of Churches is moving from its offices in New York’s “God Box” to a Capitol Hill office:
The National Council of Churches confirmed today that the ecumenical council will shut down its historic office on New York’s Riverside Drive, transitioning to a single office in Washington, D.C. A decision to consolidate into a single office has been expected since a report last year by an NCC Governing Board Task Force on Revisioning and Restructuring.
The NCC, once numbering hundreds of staffers, occupied three floors at the Interchurch Center in New York. Completed in 1960, the imposing granite-clad structure was nicknamed the “God Box” and dubbed the “Protestant Vatican on the Hudson” when President Dwight D. Eisenhower laid the cornerstone in 1958. John D. Rockefeller funded the project, along with the neighboring gothic Riverside Church.
The head of the NCC cites the group’s desire to focus on political advocacy:
“The critical NCC policy work can be coordinated from any location but to be the prophetic ‘voice of the faithful’ on the ground in the places of power, it is best served by establishing our operations in Washington.”
Remarkable. What was once the nation’s most prominent ecumenical body (the God Box was built primarily for the use of the NCC) is now reduced to jostling among Capitol Hill’s throngs of lobbyists. So goes a liberal Christianity more sure of its liberalism than its Christianity.