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NCC honors five congregations

as 'Interfaith Engaged' leaders

New York, December 6, 2011 -- Five congregations demonstrating a special enthusiasm and exemplary work for interfaith relations have been named "model interfaith engaged congregations" by the National Council of Churches.


In June, the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission asked for nominations from its member communions and other communities affiliated with the Council of congregations that "have something important to share about interfaith engagement."

As a result of the national initiative, the Commission has announced the following honorees:


Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, Tulsa, Okla. 

Community Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Tempe, Ariz.
Episcopal Tri-Faith Ministries, Ashland, Neb. 
First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Eugene, Ore.
St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.


The honored congregations received a certificate of recognition citing its "exemplary efforts in strengthening its own self-understanding and identity as a community deeply rooted in the Christian faith and, at the same time, being open to learning from, working with, and sharing with those of other faiths."


The citation was signed by the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president, National Council of Churches; the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC general secretary; Dr. Diana L. Eck, chair, NCC Interfaith Relations Commission; and Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC associate general secretary, Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations.


Each congregation recognized for its engagement in interfaith relations will in turn serve as a mentor for other congregations seeking to enhance their interfaith relations.

Five additional congregations received honorable mentions from the Commission:

First Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, Wis.

First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Carbondale, Ill.

Midvale Community Lutheran Church, Madison, Wis.
Rush Creek Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Arlington, Tex.

The United Church of Christ at The Villages, Oxford, Fla.


"These recognitions advance congregational mission and health by empowering congregations to share their story with denominational partners, local media, and potential funders," said Kireopoulos.


In lifting up these stories, the initiative is also aimed at "encouraging creative interfaith engagement through inclusion of interfaith content in curricula, preaching, theology, vision and mission, and budget; and equipping leaders to affirm and celebrate all who have contributed to the recognition and providing an impetus for more people get get involved," according to Kireopoulos.


This is the first year of what will become an annual initiative, Kireopoulos said. A webpage will go online soon to post the stories of recognized churches, as well as to provide an application for next  year's application along with other interfaith resources that can be used locally.


Each congregation receiving the honor fulfilled the following requirements:


It is affiliated with a member communion of the NCC, or with a community that participates in one or more of the NCC's commissions; it completed a nomination form and a two-page essay; it submitted at least three letters of support, one from the congregation's regional or national church structure, and at least two from recognized leaders of other faith communities; and it agreed to be listed as a mentoring congregation for three years, and be available to provide advice about nurturing interfaith relations in a congregational setting. 


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- 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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