An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Wedel, Cynthia Clark

(Aug. 26, 1908-Aug. 24, 1986). First woman to serve as president of the National Council of Churches. Cynthia Clark was born in Dearborn, Michigan. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois. She earned a B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1957. She served as a youth worker in the Episcopal Church's national office. In 1939 she married the Rev. Theodore O. Wedel. She moved with him to Washington, D.C., where he was warden of the College of Preachers. She taught religion at the National Cathedral School for Girls from 1939 to 1948. She served on the national executive board of the Episcopal Women's Auxiliary from 1946 to 1952 and as a member of the National Council of the Episcopal Church from 1955 to 1962. She served from 1955 to 1958 as president of United Church Women. She was associate general secretary for Christian union (1965-69), president of the National Council of Churches (1969-75), and president of the World Council of Churches (1975-83). She was appointed by President Kennedy to his Commission on the Status of Women (1961-63). She served on the national boards of the Girl Scouts and the Red Cross. She was the author of several books including Employed Women and the Church, and Citizenship, Our Christian Concern. She was an official observer at the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965, and one of three women consultants at the Lambeth Conference of 1978. She died in Alexandria, Virginia.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.