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Creating a place for all persons to call home
is theme of 2010 Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Washington, February 23, 2010 -- As the number of displaced persons reaches tens of millions around the world, hundreds of persons of faith will be gathering for Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington March 19-22 under the theme, "A Place to Call Home: Immigrants, Refugees and Displaced Peoples."

"Jesus had no place to lay his head," declare the planners of Ecumenical Advocacy Days. "Neither do tens of millions of migrants, refugees and displaced persons."

Organizers invite hundreds of persons of faith to "be a part of an action weekend addressing this global injustice. Join hundreds of faith-based advocates in taking action on U.S. legislation that will welcome immigrants, protect refugees and prevent displacement for millions."

The theme of immigrations reform has taken on a national resonance among persons of faith.

In a letter to the leaders of the 36 communions that compose their organizations, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary, and the Rev. John L. McCullough, CWS Executive Director and CEO, said the urgent need for immigration reform must be a shared Christian concern in the season of Lent.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice began in 2003 as a gathering of 400 religious advocates concerned about U.S. foreign policy in Africa and the Middle East. By 2009, more than 800 participants gathered over the March 13 weekend to ask Congress to advocate for abundance in our world and that it be allocated in a way that is fair and just for all creation.

The 2009 gathering, which took place weeks after the inauguration of President Obama, sounded a note of hope. Kinnamon welcomed the conferees, saying the change of administrations "makes it possible for us to play offense, not just defense."

After a long and difficult political year in Washington, most Advocacy Days participants are expected to show their determination to keep their hope alive.

Advocacy Days will provide the context for a March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 21, in Washington.  

Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather on the West Lawn of the Capitol to send a message to President Obama and to Congress: the time to fix our broken immigration system is now. 

“We hope to show the moral urgency of repairing America’s broken immigration system,” said David Leslie, chair of the NCC/CWS Task Force on Immigration. 

“This will be demonstrated in a dramatic display of unity among supporters of comprehensive immigration reform – people of faith, immigrant rights groups, labor groups, and others from all across the United States,” Leslie said, noting that people of faith have been hosting prayer vigils and potluck suppers and meeting with members of Congress in their home districts for months.

Hundreds of delegates will follow-up on Monday, March 22, by pressing their message to members of the House and Senate during their annual Advocacy Days pilgrimage to Capitol Hill.

Four nationally known religious leaders will address the conference: the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Bishop Minerva Cacaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church; and Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist and author of Dead Man Walking; and Sister Mary McCauley, BVM.

Frank Sharry, founder and Executive Director of America’s Voice, the newly-founded communications campaign working to win common-sense immigration reform, will address the conference Saturday morning, March 20.

For additional program registration information, see: www.advocacydays.org


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) , pjenks@ncccusa.org

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