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Offering Benefits Hosea Williams’ Program; Several Atlanta Ministries Honored

Link Here to the Awards Program, with Additional Info About Recipients

November 16, 2000, ATLANTA, Ga. – Andrew Young was hailed as "friend" and "prophet," "brother" and "leader" this evening (Nov. 16) at a reception in his honor, held during the National Council of Churches annual General Assembly and involving a host of Atlanta business, religious and other civic leaders.

Young – the NCC’s President in 2000-2001 -- worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., in the struggle for racial justice, served Atlanta as its Mayor and the United States as Ambassador to the United Nations, and now chairs Goodworks International, fueling responsible investment in Africa and the Caribbean.

His civic and community contributions have early roots in a 1951 NCC-sponsored conference of the United Christian Youth Movement and in his three years on staff in the National Council of Churches Youth Division of Christian Education, beginning in 1957.

At tonight’s reception, he had as many words of praise for the NCC as others had for him. "I got caught up in the ecumenical spirit," he said. In the NCC is "where all the seeds were planted."

Young expressed his support for the NCC’s ministries of justice, education and unity, and its humanitarian service and witness through Church World Service. His promotion of the CWS Moringa Tree Program has helped spread the word about the tree’s remarkable value as a local, sustainable solution to malnutrition in Africa, especially among infants, children and mothers.

The reception raised $25,000 from Atlanta community leaders toward a year-end goal of $50,000 for the work of Church World Service, with 15 percent of the proceeds to remain in Atlanta to assist with local hunger relief efforts.

Following the reception, General Assembly delegates and guests shared a "sacrificial meal" of salad, soup, bread and fruit and then presented awards to outstanding ecumenical programs and leaders.

Several were from Atlanta, beginning with Project U Rescue and its Director, Margaret Carson, of Atlanta, "for her leadership in community empowerment at the grassroots level, with focus on enabling women and their children to become self sufficient through education, home ownership, employment, and spiritual vitalization."

Also honored were and the Micah 6 Project and five participating Atlanta congregations: Ebenezer Baptist Church; First AME Church; First Presbyterian Church; and St. John’s Lutheran Church, Atlanta, and Sagrada Familia Luterano, Doraville. Micah 6 represents innovation in ecumenical leadership in 38 congregations across the United States with ministries of justice, compassion and spiritual renewal.

Also honored this evening, with Church World Service awards, were two outstanding CROP WALK volunteers:

- Blanche LeMonn, a Presbyterian, who first participated in the Central Hunterdon CROP WALK out of Flemington, N.J., at age 85. She celebrated her 102nd birthday on October 5, and raised $16,000 for the October 15 CROP WALK, bringing her 17-year fundraising total to $136,656. Because she was unable to travel, Mrs. LeMonn’s award was accepted by her friend Dr. Basil McKenzie.

- Gloria Jones, also a Presbyterian, who saw the Charlotte, N.C., CROP WALK as a stepping off place for her students to get involved in community service and global issues. She helped develop a now nationally recognized curriculum on SYSTEMS, using hunger, its causes, effects and the way communities handle the problem of hunger as the example of a way that systems operate. Her dynamic approach to learning took her students out of the four walls of the classroom to work at Kids Café, a local food bank project, participated in CROP WALK and enlisted others’ participation because of their own knowledge and enthusiastic response to fighting hunger.

Also honored were:

- Everett C. Parker, White Plains, N.Y., of the United Church of Christ for his role as a "Pioneer in Public Interest Communications and the Role of the Church in Mass Media." His best known – but by no means only -- achievement was challenging the license renewal of WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1964 because of their practice of discrimination against African American members of their own community – a victory which not only resulted in a change of ownership at the station but most importantly gave the public standing before the Federal Communications Commission.

Commented Andrew Young in presenting the award, "Whenever you see a black news anchor, wherever you find diversity in television and radio, most if not all credit goes back to the ministry of Everett Parker."

- Paul Gorman, founder and director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, based at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The Partnership has not only strengthened and facilitated the environmental justice ministries of the National Council of Churches, but the US Catholic Conference, the Evangelical Environmental Network and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life as well. The Partnership has also provided the four religious groups with the opportunity to work together to protect and restore God’s creation.

Bible Translation and Utilization Awards were presented to:

- Bruce Manning Metzger -- Key architect of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible; He has lived, studied, and written in Princeton since 1938. He joined the Standard Bible Committee of the NCC in 1952, just as the RSV was being completed, and took over as Chair of the committee in 1975, just as the revision that led to the publication of the NRSV was getting started. For fifteen years he guided the work of the committee until the translation was complete, and then saw it through the press almost single-handedly. He has stepped down as chair but continues on the Committee.

- United Methodist Bishop Melvin George Talbert, Ecumenical Officer for the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Associated Stated Clerk, the Rev. Dr. Eugene G. Turner, and NCC President Andrew Young, in whose honor three, one-year $10,000 fellowships administered by the Fund for Theological Education. The fund’s North American Doctoral Fellowship Program is a fellowship designed to support talented racial or ethnic minority students currently enrolled in programs leading to the PhD or ThD in religion or theology.

The 2000-2001 fellowships are held by three doctoral students: Awilda Gonzalez-Tejera at Boston University (Bishop Melvin George Talbert Fellow); Margaret Aymer at Union Theological Seminary in New York (Dr. Eugene G. Turner Fellow), and Darryl Jones at Union Theological Seminary (Reverend Andrew Young Fellow).

Lending particular poignancy to the evening’s ceremonies was the news, received just a few hours before, of civil rights leader Hosea Williams’ death. In recognition, the $2,450 offering collected during the ecumenical awards program was designated for Williams’ "Feed the Hungry" program in Atlanta, which has fed as many as 40,000 to 50,000 at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.


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