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WCC commemorates life of Bishop McKinley Young

WCC commemorates life of Bishop McKinley Young

Senior Bishop McKinley Young. Photo: AME

25 January 2019

Upon the passing of Senior Bishop McKinley Young on 16 January, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit commemorated the life of a significant leader within the African Methodist Episcopal Church and within the ecumenical world.

“Bishop Young was a remarkable leader who shared his spiritual wisdom not only with many African Methodist Episcopal congregations but with the entire ecumenical movement,” said Tveit. “He was capable of sharing the wounds of people across the globe, as well as walking beside them as they envisioned and reached transformation in many areas of life.”

Young served on the WCC Executive and Central Committees, and was also an ecumenical officer and president of the Council of Bishops for the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Tveit asked the WCC fellowship to join in celebrating the life of Bishop Young. “I would like to call for thanksgiving for Bishop Young’s ministry, and extend our heartfelt prayers to his family at this time of sorrow,” said Tveit.

Young, born in Atlanta, Georgia, received degrees from Morris Brown College, Andover Newton Theological School, and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He also holds honorary doctorates from six institutions of higher education.

Young pastored churches in the 1st, 4th, and 6th Episcopal Districts, being elected the 109th bishop from Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta in 1992. Young’s first Episcopal assignment was to the 15th District where he led in the Centennial Celebration of African Methodism in Southern Africa.

Young provided leadership in the ecumenical community for over 40 years. From 1996-2000, he served as the ecumenical and urban affairs officer for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In addition to his work with the WCC, he also served on the executive committee of the National Council of Churches, USA; World Methodist Council; Pan-Methodist Commission; Consultation on Church Union; and the Conference of National Black Churches. In addition, he served on the board of trustees for Payne Theological Seminary.

Young worked on voter registration efforts during the elections of the first black presidents of South Africa and the United States. He attended the inauguration of both Nelson Mandela and Barack H. Obama.