Young stewards learn
ecumenism first hand
N.J., November 6, 2007 – For the first time since the inception of the
program, the National Council of Churches USA's (NCC) Young Stewards
Program welcomed two stewards from two of its Orthodox member communions.
They are volunteering at the 2007 General Assembly of the NCC and Church
World Service (CWS) in suburban New Jersey.
Maria Derderian of the Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America
and Phoebe Farag of the Coptic Orthodox Church of North America are
currently serving as one of 10 young stewards during the General Assembly.
This year is significant for the Oriental Orthodox member communions as
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, diocesan legate and ecumenical officer,
Armenian Orthodox Church of America, will begin his two year term as the
president of the NCC.
Derderian currently works at the Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
She graduated with a Master of Arts from a joint program of St. Nersess
Armenian Theological Seminary and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological
Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. She grew up in Philadelphia and lives in
New York City.
Phoebe Farag represents the Coptic Orthodox Church in the NCC's Justice
for Women Working Group. She is originally from New York and now
lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area where she serves youth and
young adults at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church. She is also an
advisor to the church's Mission Life Center. Farag is the training
and evaluation coordinator for Amnesty International USA.
Also serving as stewards are Jared Carson and Laura Strietelmeier of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; DeMay Grunden, Gena Anderson, and
Kevin Nelson of the United Methodist Church; Omar Dykes of the Christian
Methodist Episcopal Church, John Frame of the Church of God (Anderson),
and Jonathan Hall of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Carson and Grunden are Senior Stewards having served at last year's
General Assembly in Orlando, Florida.
For five consecutive years, the Young Stewards Program has brought 10-12
young adults to the NCC/CWS General Assembly to participate by carrying
out assignments at the General Assembly while observing the ecumenical
work of the delegates attending the conference.
The program is an opportunity for young adults interested in the
ecumenical movement to network, learn about different communions, worship
in an ecumenical setting, interact with national church leaders, and
become more involved in ecumenism. The Rev. Garland Pierce, (left) the
NCC's Associate General Secretary for Education and Leadership Ministries,
leads the program every year.
Stewards participate in a young adult pre-assembly and then carry out
various support roles throughout the General Assembly, the governing body
of the NCC and CWS. Stewards are able to observe ecumenical
proceedings, interact with delegates from the member communions, and
participate in some General Assembly activities. In the mornings and
evenings they meet for devotion and debriefings.
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of
America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and
traditional peace churches. These NCC member communions have 45
faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
Church World Service is the relief, development, and refugee assistance
agency of these same communions, working in 80 countries around the world
to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice.
General Assembly on site
contacts: Ann Walle, Church World Service; Wesley 'Pat' Pattillo,
National Council of Churches USA.
CWS News contact: Lesley Crosson, 212.870.2676, firstname.lastname@example.org
NCC News contact: Philip Jenks, 212.870.2228, email@example.com
or Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,