Calling for change
Ecumenical Advocacy Days gathers Christians to worship, learn, lobby
The eighth annual meeting of Ecumenical Advocacy Days will again draw Christians to Washington, D.C., to unite their voices.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days focuses on mobilizing Christian advocates around a central theme through worship, witness and lobbying for domestic and international issues. This year’s theme is A Place to Call Home: Immigrants, Refugees and Displaced Peoples.
“Having this theme will be good for the advocates who come,” said Mary Cooper, liaison for EAD in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Washington Office.
The theme was chosen by EAD’s leadership team last year, largely because of the increase in talk about immigration during the 2008 campaigns.
Immigration reform is not all that will be covered at the conference, though. The focus on displaced peoples might be especially important this year because of recent natural disasters in China, Haiti and Chile that have rendered many homeless, Cooper said.
“There are displaced people all over the world for many reasons, not all of them political,” she said, adding that it will be important for attendees to learn the reasons behind displacements as well as how U.S. policy can make a difference.
So far, about 70 Presbyterians have registered for the event, March 19-22 in Washington. About 750 people total have registered. Participants will gather for a weekend of worship, theological reflection and education. On the concluding Monday, some will meet with their state’s senators and representatives to advocate for policies related to the conference’s theme.
Presbyterians who attend the event are also invited to a dinner March 20. Speaking at the dinner will be Paul Monteiro, the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. That office is responsible for building relationships with advocacy groups, nongovernmental organizations and elected officials and is the primary channel through which the public relates to the White House.
Monteiro also served as deputy director for Religious Affairs in the Obama campaign.