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June 1 is a day of prayer
as the hurricane season begins

New York —May 31, 2006—People of faith around the country will join in prayer Thursday (June 1) with religious leaders along the Gulf Coast as residents brace themselves for another hurricane season.

“We ask that if you could, please join with us in prayer on June first,” said the Rev. C. Dan Krutz, right, executive director, Louisiana Interchurch Conference. He was speaking last week to the National Council of Churches Governing Board meeting in New Orleans. “We are praying we will be spared what we experienced last year.”

“As this new hurricane season begins we are reminded that many of our sisters and brothers all along the Gulf Coast are still living in trailers or displaced from their homes from last August’s devastation of Rita and Katrina,” said the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC general secretary. “As Christians we believe in the power of prayer in our lives so we are asking all people of faith to remember those whose lives were so uprooted by the storms that they may be given the time to rebuild their lives.”

The NCC Governing Board chose to meet in New Orleans last week to witness as the church being present with those who are still suffering eight long months after storms and flooding damaged and destroyed whole communities.

The NCC is back in the region again this week. The NCC’s Eco-justice Working Group also meets in New Orleans (June 1-4) for its bi-annual conference which will be held at Loyola University. This national conference features various learning tracks and plenary speakers from the faith and environmental community.

Among those speaking are Bill McKibben, nationally known author and environmentalist and Dr. Beverly Wright, a professor of sociology and the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University in New Orleans. Many in the faith and environmental communities have expressed great concern that the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region be done with all of God’s creation being kept in mind.

“We will gather to expose and explore the intersections of social and ecological wholeness,” said Cassandra Carmichael, director of NCC’s Eco-justice programs. “We will address several questions,” she said, including, “How do we heal the social fabric torn by environmental racism? How might we respond, as people of faith, to the increasing pollution of our air, water, and land? How might we pursue healthy communities and habitations for all creatures and people? What lifestyles are sustainable in our time, in this place?”

Many NCC governing board members who visited the region last week were stunned at the enormity of the work yet to be done to help people rebuild their communities and their lives. Some reflections of their visit are posted on the NCC website here. A Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is also working on behalf of NCC member churches to make sure that all people, including the poor and low income citizens of the region, are not forgotten when rebuilding plans are put forward.


NCC News contacts: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, dwebster@councilofchurches.org, or Leslie Tune, 202.544.2350, ltune@councilofchurches.org. Latest NCC News at www.councilofchurches.org.


 

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