Potter, Philip A.


Potter, Philip A.
(b. 1921)
   Methodist minister and ecumenical leader
   Philip A. Potter was born on August 12, 1921, in Roseau, Dominica. In 1944, he entered Caenwood Theological Seminary in Jamaica. After completing his training for the Methodist ministry, he became a missionary to Haiti, symbolic of his commitment to the poor and oppressed of the world. After five years in Haiti, he moved to London to pursue postgraduates studies at London University. He worked on the staff of the Methodist Missionary Society, and became involved with the International Missionary Council.
   His leadership with the Student Christian Movement led to his involvement as an ecumenical leader. In 1948 and again in 1954, he was invited to address the assembly of the WoRLD CoUNCIL oF CHURCHES. He then successively became an executive with the WCC's Youth Department (1954), head of the World Student Christian Federation (1960), and director of the WCC's Division of World Mission and Evangelism (1967).
   In 1972, Potter began a 12-year tenure as the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, succeeding Eugene Carson Blake. During this time, Potter became known for his insistence that Christian witness and action be unified, and that Christian action in the world was an outgrowth of personal spiritual life. After completing his years on the international stage, Potter moved to Jamaica to work with students at the University of the West Indies.
   See also Ecumenical movement.
   Further reading:
   ■ Michael N. Jagessar, "Full Life for All. The Work and Theology of Philip A. Potter: A Historical Survey and Systematic Analysis of Major Themes," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 22 (1998): 186
   ■ Konrad Raiser, "Celebrating an Ecumenical Pilgrimage: An Address to Honour Philip Potter on the occasion of His 80th Birthday," Ecumenical Review (October 2001), Available online. URL: http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m2065/4_53/81223349/p1/article.jhtml?term=
   ■ Pauline Webb, ed., Faith and Faithfulness: Essays on Contemporary Ecumenical Themes (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1984).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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