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National Council of Churches member communions
begin a 'long term engagement' for Haiti renewal

Washington, March 3, 2010 -- The National Council of Churches, responding to the "pressing needs of Haiti and the deep sense of call to respond," is calling representatives of its member communions to a meeting on April 6 to begin planning for "our long term engagement with the renewal and recovery of the people and nation of Haiti."

The invitation was sent Tuesday to the ecumenical officers of the NCC's 36 member communions and to denominational specialists in Haiti ministries.

The gathering will be held in St. Paul's Rock Creek Church in Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Rosemari Sullivan is rector.

In a joint appointment by the National Council of Churches and the Episcopal Church, Sullivan is coordinator of Haiti recovery work on behalf of the NCC.

"This meeting is the first step in a listening process that will involve all the constituencies, in particular, our Haitian brothers and sisters," said Sullivan in a letter of invitation signed jointly with the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary. "We expect that this process will result in the identification of the work we can do together and the resources we can bring to the projects we identify."

"We know this meeting takes place as we are still evaluating the impact of the earthquake in Chile," Kinnamon said. "Certainly all of us feel a need to respond to tragedies wherever they occur. Our hearts sometimes compel us to rush in and duplicate efforts in ways that are not always helpful. We intend this meeting on Haiti to help us create a model for ways we can use all our resources in the most helpful and constructive ways, wherever there is need."

Preliminary plans for the meeting call for identifying the needs of the Haitian communities in the U.S., with particular attention to persons who came to the communities as earthquake refugees; consulting with religious leaders in Haiti to learn how they envision a response to needs; and caring for the spiritual and emotional needs of Haitian religious leaders who have lived through the disaster.

The Rev. Canon Rosemari Gaughan Sullivan was called as Rector of St. Paul's Rock Creek, Washington, D.C. in 2006.  Her Ministries prior to this call included serving as the Secretary of General Convention and Executive Officer of the Episcopal Church (1998 - 2005), Director of Alumni Affairs at Virginia Theological Seminary, Rector of The Church of St. Clement and associate rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Va.

Canon Sullivan holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work from the Catholic University of America. In 1985, Rev. Sullivan earned a Master in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary and in 2009 a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. 

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

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