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Preserving the enduring wisdom of women of faith

New York, March 3, 2010  ̶  In its annual commemoration of Women's History Month, the National Council of Churches is paying particular attention to 20 special women whose contributions made  ̶  and are continuing to make  ̶  a powerful impact on our lives and faith.

Each of the women, along with salient words of wisdom from their public comments, will be featured daily on the Council's Web page (

Persons following the series may also name women who have made a special impact on their lives by contributing to the "Circles of Names" campaign to support women's ministries and gender justice programs in NCC member communions.

The “Circles of Names” campaign to support women’s ministries and gender justice programs in the National Council of Churches and member communions has been extended through June 2010 with a special emphasis during Women’s History Month, March 2010. 

The campaign gives donors opportunities to support ongoing and future work by honoring women who have made a difference in the church and in individual lives. The “Circles of Names” campaign asks participants to submit the name of a woman who is or has been influential in their faith life, and to contribute $100 in that woman’s honor.

Last November, when the campaign was announced, Tiemeyer noted the "recent cuts to denominational budgets and staff in the areas of women’s ministries and gender justice work,” and said it was more important than ever to "make visible the broad support for this work in our communions.”   

Honorary Chair of the “Wise Women’s Leadership Circle” Anne Hale Johnson provided a substantial challenge gift at the launch of the campaign.

“We have designed the campaign in such a way as to make it possible for most people to participate,” explained Rev. Deborah DeWinter, Director of Donor Relations for the National Council of Churches.  Ten people can all agree on one woman to name and each donate $10.  All pledges, gifts and names are due by December 31, 2010.  Names of those who have been honored to date have been posted on the Circles of Names web site,, together with a number of vignettes about some of the women who have been named.

"The exciting thing about this campaign is that it is a women's ministry that supports woman's ministries," said DeWinter "Its very structure is symbolic of the management style of women of faith throughout history -- circles of interconnectedness that have enabled women to approach challenges and tasks together."

”Our foremothers in faith met in sewing circles, Bible study circles, mission circles, hospitality circles,” DeWinter added. “We are confident that women of faith will understand this to be a Kairos moment for the future of Women’s Ministries and gender justice work, and see this “Circles of Names” campaign to a successful conclusion.”

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

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