By Karen R. Long
The Plain Dealer – Cleveland, OH. Nov. 12, 1999
More than 1,200 Christians stood last night and enveloped the rev. Andrew J. Young in Beethoven’s “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” as he walked down the central aisle of St. John Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. The hymn exalts God, but much praise and glory were heaped on Young as he accepted the presidency of the National Council of Churches.
The Rev. Jessee Jackson made a surprise appearance in the pulpit, declaring, “Andy Young is part of the glue that holds the world together.”
An array of liberal Protestant leaders turned out for Young’s installation at the head of the council, which represents 52 million Christians in 35 denominations. The front of the cathedral was filled with elaborate religious headgear and colorful clerical robes of gold, crimson, black and ivory. United Methodists and Episcopalians were represented. So were members of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India and the Swedenborgian Church.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, stepped into the pulpit to urge Young to champion the children. The Rev. Otis Moss Jr., of Cleveland’s Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, declared, “We have a voice. We have a vision. We have a victory. Thank you, Lord, for Andrew Jackson Young.”
The Rev. Anthony M. Pilla, bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, welcomed the worshipers to the two-hour installation service. He reminded the gathering of ecumenical proponents that “Jesus came to break down all the barriers.”
A moment of barrier-breaking did occur as Jackson called forward the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, the outgoing general secretary of the council. Cont….