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NCC Eco-Justice staff named
WCC 'Blessed Peacemakers'

Washington, December 5, 2008 -- The National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice staff are recipients of the 2008 "Blessed Are the Peacemakers" award of the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches.

The WCC's U.S. Conference bestows the awards annually as a part of its Decade to Overcome Violence program to recognize persons making an impact for peace locally, nationally and globally.

The Eco-Justice staff joined four other award recipients at the U.S. Conference annual meeting here during a banquet in Washington's historic National City Christian Church.

The Rev. Deborah DeWinter, WCC Program Executive for the U.S., praised the Eco-Justice staff and said the award highlights the peacemaking contributions of young adults. The average age of the staff is 31.

Dr. David G. Hallman, who recently retired as the WCC's Climate Change Coordinator, read a citation that praised program director Cassandra Carmichael and her staff for "an expanded and yet focused engagement on a wide range of issues including biodiversity, climate change, consumerism, Earth Day, energy, environmental health, food and farmlands, green churches, liturgical resources, public lands and wilderness, and water conservation."

The citation also praised the late Chris Cowap, the first program director, for "providing outstanding leadership on a wide range of issues with a special focus on energy concerns."

In the past year alone, Hallman said, the Eco-Justice staff has "delivered more than 10,000 copies of resources to churches and people of faith, and had more than 4,000 people of faith contact their congressional representatives on issues ranging from climate change, to environmental health, to public lands protection, to the farm bill. With enthusiasm, commitment, creativity, and the vitality of their youth ... the team supports the engagement of U.S. churches in issues of ecological justice that allow the churches to demonstrate that caring for God's creation is an indispensible aspect of contemporary discipleship."

In addition to Carmichael, a United Methodist, the Eco-Justice staff includes: Jordan Blevins, Assistant Director, Church of the Brethren; Tyler Edgar, Assistant Director, Climate and Energy Campaign, Episcopal Church; Chloe Schwabe, Assistant Director, Environmental health, Presbyterian Church (USA); Carl Magruder, Eco-Justice Advocacy and Outreach Specialist for Healthy Churches, Quaker; Elizabeth McGurk, Eco-Justice Advocacy and Outreach Specialist for Health Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA); and Drew Sutton, Wesley Theological Seminary Intern, United Methodist.

Other recipients of the U.S. Conference 2008 Blessed are the Peacemakers Awards are: Father Bob Celinski, a Washington area priest active in immigrations issues; the Council of Churches of Greater Washington; the Global Priorities Campaign; and "the inspiring Christian and Muslim women of the Women in Peacemaking Network (WIPNET), and the producers of Pray the Devil Back to Hell," a documentary on how women of faith confronted the brutal regime of President Charles Taylor of Liberia.


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org


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