NEW YORK (AP) -- A church women's group committed to interdenominational harmony sounded a note of discord when it fired half its staff before Christmas. Now at least two of its member organizations are considering withdrawing funds.
Earlier this month, the board of the New York-based Church Women United abruptly fired or asked for the resignations of executive director Kathleen Hurty and six other employees.
In a letter to the group's more than 100 members, Hurty said that she had resigned under duress. ''It was in reality not a resignation but a termination,'' she wrote.
Last week, United Methodist Women, Church Women United's largest contributor, decided to suspend its $32,525 annual contribution ''until there is a clear direction set for the national organization and the justice issues regarding the firing of seven staff is resolved.''
United Church of Christ leaders have also expressed concern about the basis and suddenness of the action.
Church Women United leaders say it includes 500,000 Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox women. Ongoing programs include World Day of Prayer and an anti-violence campaign.
A call to the organization's office, seeking comment, was not retured.
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