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'Everyday Heroes: Recognizing the Human Family'

Nov. 19 live Web conference now available on demand

November 15, 2001 – In the space of an instant, an ordinary collection of airplane passengers were transformed into heroes. The courageous action of the 45 passengers aboard United flight 93 on September 11 inspired people around the world and stimulated our recognition that any one of us, on any given day, may be called upon to perform heroically. What motivates ordinary people to act as heroes?

For some, like fire fighters and police officers, of course, casual heroism is a way of life. How have these groups fared in the aftermath of 9/11? Are they thriving in heightened public esteem, or crumbling under the weight of impossible stresses and expectations?

The quality of our lives together may depend increasingly on our willingness to care as much or more for the people around us as we do for ourselves. When do we decide to put the welfare of our communities ahead of our own personal safety?

In this third of four Web casts on the theme Tragedy and Spiritual Care, Church World Service, a broadly based relief agency, focuses on recognizing heroes and the importance of building stronger local communities after the terrorist attacks.

Through this Web cast, clergy, lay leadership, caregivers and care professionals will be empowered to aid communities in healing and wholeness. The panel of presenters includes three professionals who understand the importance of building community within congregations and also in the wider locale. They will share stories of heroes and ways to recognize the unnamed heroes who affect our lives everyday.

Panelists include:

  • Jan Koczera, chaplain of an Infantry battalion in Desert Shield (Fall 1990) and Desert Storm (January 1991). In addition to his war experiences, Jan has recently ministered to the FBI, police and military personnel at Ground Zero in New York City. He is currently Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton Square, NJ, as well as a US Army National Guard Chaplain stationed at Staten Island.
  • Dan Merry is a pastor with the Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He holds a doctorate in ministry and has served extensively in Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania. He serves on the boards of Short Hills Interfaith Ministries and Family Hospice.

Broadcast journalist Arthur Cribbs Jr. moderates the panel. Mr. Cribbs, a former executive director of the United Church of Christ's Office of Communication, is now pastor of the Christian Fellowship Congregational Church in San Diego and the President of Pacific Media Ministries in San Diego. is an inter-faith Web site supported by mainline faith groups representing 200,000 congregations with a combined membership of more than 120 million. Additionally, it offers Web site development and hosting and provides streaming audio and video services. For more information, call 859-422-0425 or visit the Web site at

Church World Service, the National Council of Churches' global service and witness ministry,  works in more than 80 countries to meet human needs and foster self-reliance. CWS works on behalf of 36 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox communions in the U.S., in programs of social and economic development, emergency response, assistance to refugees, education and advocacy, and ecumenical relationships.


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