Presbyterians will again gather with other Christians in Washington at the end of March for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, an event that mobilizes Christians around pressing issues through worship, education and lobbying. This year’s focus is on women.

The theme of the March 25-28 event is Development, Security and Economic Justice: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?

Using Proverbs 31:31 — “Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates” — as a key scripture, the event calls men and women of faith to be a force for the better treatment of women around the world and to recognize their important economic, social and political contributions to their societies.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) special events

In addition to the regularly scheduled EAD activities, Presbyterians will have two opportunities for education and celebration within the denomination.

On March 25, before EAD begins in the evening, the PC(USA)’s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries will offer a training event. Designed to link denomination-wide ministry programs  with those of local congregations and Presbyterians interested in social justice and public witness, the event will offer several speakers and workshops.

Featured ministries include the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Self-Development of People, Environmental Ministries and Child Advocacy.

The event is free for registered EAD participants and $25 for those not attending EAD. To register, download a copy of the Washington Report from the Office of Public Witness.  

On March 26, the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness (OPW) will celebrate its 65th anniversary with a dinner cruise on the Potomac River.

OPW Director the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II said the office has been “speaking truth to power” since its founding. It is now in a time of transition, said Nelson, who began his role in May after the office had been without a director for two years.

OPW is working to extend its work outside of Washington and into the greater church. The CPJ training at Advocacy Days and a revamped internship program are two ways the office is reaching out, Nelson said.

A third way will be introduced during the cruise, when OPW will launch a respectful dialogue initiative. Aimed at training Presbyterians to lead discussions in their communities leading up to the 2012 elections, the program will be “the most important work of this office in the next few years,” Nelson said. While the program will focus on the political sphere, it will also be applicable to discussions within the denomination, he said.

“The answer to our struggles is not on the right and it’s not on the left. It’s somewhere in the middle of a dialogue that’s based on engaged listening,” Nelson said.

The specifics of the program are still being fine-tuned and will be presented during EAD.

To register for the dinner cruise ($40), download a copy of the Washington Report from OPW.