National Council of Churches lauds the Bob Edgar Habitat Build in Vietnam

Washington, May 22, 2014 – Among the actions of the National Council of Churches Governing Board this week is an expression of thanks to Habitat for Humanity for naming its summer building project in Vietnam in honor of “our friend and colleague” Bob Edgar.

Edgar, who served as National Council of Churches general secretary from 2000 to 2007, died suddenly April 23, 2013 at the age of 69.

The NCC resolution praised the appropriateness of Habitat’s decision to name the building project in Vietnam July 25 through August 9 the “Bob Edgar Vietnam Memorial Build.”

“Whether his attention was drawn to foreign or domestic injustices,” the resolution stated, Edgar “was on the forefront of efforts to bring about change. When he died in April of last year, mourners most remarked on the loss of his voice in the causes he championed.”

Extreme poverty, hunger, and homelessness were among the many causes championed by Edgar, the resolution recalled.

“It was out of this concern that his passion for low-cost housing was born, and that his ties to Habitat for Humanity were forged. Bringing together the ecumenical community and the Habitat community, in places as different and yet similar as Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Detroit, Michigan, he made sure that affordable housing was on the churches’ agenda.”

Edgar planned his busy schedule to permit his participation in at least one Habitat build each year, sometimes at the side his friend, former President Jimmy Carter.

“Another of the causes for which he fought was to bring healing and reconciliation to Vietnam as it emerged from the ashes of war and international isolation,” the resolution said.

Edgar often expressed pride in his vote, as a newly elected member of Congress, to withdraw funding for the continuation of the war in Vietnam.

“He felt it was the United States’ obligation to help that nation stand on its own in the community of nations,” the resolution said.

“He carried this concern into his future leadership roles, and it was in his capacity as the former NCC General Secretary that he led an interfaith delegation, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, to Vietnam in 2010 to see the lingering effects of agent orange on so many who had gone through the war,” the resolution said.

 “When he returned, he used his position at Common Cause to shed light on this all-but forgotten horror in both congressional offices and church sanctuaries.”

The full text of the Edgar resolution is here.


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), [email protected]