The Most Revd Michael Putney, Catholic Bishop of Townsville, has been elected President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA). Bishop Putney is the 6th President of the Council, following on from Bishop Richard Appleby (retired). The purpose of the Council is to promote Christian unity and help the Churches work together on key issues of theology, peace, and justice. At its meeting on 25 June in Sydney the Executive of the NCCA unanimously elected Bishop Putney. Many years of involvement with the NCCA, as well as in other ecumenical endeavours nationally and internationally, have provided Bishop Putney with a broad understanding of the need for and benefit of the ecumenical movement. He has had an extensive ministry in the Catholic Church, including current roles as Chairperson of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, Co-Chair of the International Methodist/Roman Catholic Dialogue, member of the Uniting Church-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, member of the Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Patron of Townsville Catholic Education Arts Festival and Patron of the World Community for Christian Meditation. Bishop Putney’s term as the NCCA President will provide leadership to the Council until the end of the next NCCA triennial forum scheduled for July 2010. As President he will work with member and observer Churches, chair the meetings of the Council, and represent it in a number of public settings. Currently the Council has a total membership of 17 national Churches, including the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches, 7 Eastern and Oriental Churches, and a range of Protestant Churches, the Salvation Army, and the Quakers.