Top Ecumenical Briefing to Address World’s Outlook on America

WASHINGTON – Christian leaders have historically championed the rights of the poor and voiceless, and influenced the nation in developing most – if not all – of its justice-related policies. In following this tradition, the world’s top ecumenical leaders will gather at the National Press Club today to address the most pressing issues of this age.

Ecumenical Christians representing Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Pacific, will join the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA)’s General Secretary, Bob Edgar, to discuss how America is viewed by other Christian communities around the world, and evaluate U.S. policies and actions.

Participants plan to address poverty, genocide in Sudan, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, global climate change, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With the exception of the last three topics of concern, Christians across the theological spectrum have made efforts to join together and with others to speak-out against the atrocities.

Earlier this week, NCC’s Edgar spoke at a press conference for the Save Darfur coalition, which represents dozens of faith-traditions. The line-up of speakers there also included Richard Cizik, the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals – a group that often stands at odds with its more liberal counterpart, the NCC.

Such unity was also evidenced at the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when volunteers from all denominational families joined together to serve those in need.

Today’s conference will feature leaders from the ecumenical tradition, such as the Rev. Dr. Georges Lemopoulos, Deputy General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and the Bishop Mvume Dandala of the All Africa Conference of Churches.

Other participants include: The Rev. Dr. Karen A. Hamilton of the Canadian Council of Churches, Mr. Guirgis Saleh of the Middle East Council of Churches, and Rev. Dr. Keith Clement, General Secretary of the European Conference of Churches.

Following the Washington gathering, the leaders will travel to New York, and on Saturday continue discussions on the “current global situation.”