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NCC joins interfaith partners
in response to new poverty data

By Jordan Blevins 

September 22, 2010 -- On Thursday, September 16, the United States Census Bureau released their most up to date poverty and health care information. The numbers were startling, as the portion of people living under the poverty line in the United States grew by one percent, to 14.3 percent, or 1 in 7 people. Perhaps more alarming was the poverty rate for children, as 1 in 5 children now finds themselves in households living under the poverty line.

In response, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, said, “Direct measures need to be taken to ensure that even after economic prosperity is restored that vulnerable populations aren’t left behind in the recovery ... Let the debate of this campaign season push aside partisan politics and instead identify initiatives for doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with the God who loves the poor”.

The response from the NCC is not just in a strongly issued statement, however. For the third consecutive year, the NCC will join a coalition of interfaith partners, Fighting Poverty with Faith, to speak to national political leaders while also addressing the needs of those in poverty in local communities – with the goal of cutting domestic poverty in half by 2020.

A statement from Fighting Poverty with Faith reads, “we are working aggressively to focus new attention to the causes of poverty, highlight strategies to reduce poverty, and create economic opportunities […]we will work for the development of positive economic opportunities for the millions of people who are out of work, underemployed, or displaced from their job”. 

The mobilization will take place throughout the month of October, and during its kick-off weekend, Rev. Dr. Kinnamon is traveling to Omaha, Nebraska, to take part in an interfaith weekend of action and conversation around the poverty situation there, called Room for Hope. 

The mobilization is hosted by First Christian Church of Omaha, and features partnerships with 13 service agencies across the city, where participants can volunteer on Saturday. Then on Sunday, they can join Rev. Dr. Kinnamon for an evening of conversation aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty. 

Rev. Robyn Fickes, Associate Pastor at First Christian Church, said, “In a city like Omaha, which has the nation’s highest percentage of African American children living in poverty, the faith community has traditionally been a key voice and partner in meeting these needs. This is another opportunity to continue this legacy”. 

For more information on the Fighting Poverty with Faith Mobilization, visit and for more information on the Room for Hope Mobilization in Omaha, visit   For more information on the Poverty Initiatives of the National Council of Churches, visit    

Blevins is Advocacy Officer and Ecumenical Peace Coordinator, Church of the Brethren and National Council of Churches                 

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 member faith groups -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

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

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