The Rev. Dr. Hermann N. Morse, one of the architects of both the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, died here Saturday at the age of 89, after a long illness.
Throughout his long career, Dr. Morse was identified with the Presbyterian Church, which he served in a variety of capacities. At the same time he was one of a handful of ecumenical pioneers from a number of Protestant denominations who used their positions of leadership to lead all their churches into closer harmony and cooperation.
Dr. Morse served as a member of the commission that began in 1941 to plan the National Council of Churches and was chairman of its constituting convention in Cleveland in 1950.
The Council brought together 29 Protestant denominations in this country.
A year earlier, Dr. Morse had been named one of the first four vice presidents of the World Council of Churches at its founding assembly in Amsterdam.
Trained in sociology as well as theology, Dr. Morse served his church for most of his 60-year career on the staff of its home mission agency.
He was general secretary of the Board of National Missions for the United Presbyterian Church when he retired in 1960.
As head of the home missions board, he constantly urged his denomination to move out of long-standing patterns and to meet the problems brought about by changes in society.
As a civil servant of his donomination, Dr. Morse, did most of his work in offices and committee rooms instead of in the limelight of a pulpit.
Nevertheless in 1952 his church made him moderator, the top elected office of his denomination.
Even after he retired from the Board of National Missions, Dr. Morse continued to serve his church in a variety of capacities ranging from consultant to interim minister, denominational spokesman said.
Born in Chicago, Dr. Morse was a graduate of Alma (Michigan) College and Union Theological Seminary in New York.
In addition to his son he is survived by two grandchildren, one great grandchild, and a sister, Eleanor Mort of Ludington, Mich.
Memorial services will be held at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday.