NEW YORK -- The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, who heads the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches, has been nominated to become chief staff officer of the National Council of Churches.

The National Council announced Campbell's nomination Wednesday and said the choice will be voted on at the council's General Board meeting Wednesday through Friday in Portland, Ore.

As general secretary, Campbell would oversee day-to-day operations of the council, which represents 42 million Christians in the United States. She would also share responsibilities with the president as the council's principal interpreter and spokesman. The Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky of the Orthodox Church in America is the council president.

Campbell holds ministerial credentials in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

In a statement released after her nomination, she said the 32-member denominations of the council are the source of its strength.

Campbell said her priorties as the council's top staff official would be to "work with and through the churches and to deepen our ecumenical understanding of the faith, to identify and support a new generation of ecumenical leaders, to continue our work and witness within the global community and to bring new energy to our struggle for justice, peace and the integrity of creation."

Although nominations may be made from the floor during the Portland meeting, in the past the board has always approved the search committee nominee.

Campbell would succeed James A. Hamilton, a lawyer and 32-year member of the council who took over the reins of the agency on a temporary basis until a permanent successor to the Rev. Arie R. Brouwer could be hired.

Campbell, 58, has been executive director of the U.S. office of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches since 1985. Before that she was at the National Council for seven years as head of its Commission on Regional and Local Ecumenism.