There is still time to register for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, an annual event that calls Christians to Washington to advocate around a central issue through worship, education and lobbying.
The theme of the March 25-28 event is Development, Security and Economic Justice: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
EAD is the nation’s largest gathering of faith-based advocates and is co-sponsored by Church World Service and the National Council of Churches.
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 contributions.
“By investing in women, we invest in families and communities,” said the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, in a news release. “Women should always have a role in development efforts leading to the provision and use of critical services like access to safe water, nutritious food, education or health care.”
EAD participants will attend lectures and workshops during the weekend. The conference will conclude with a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill, during which participants will meet with lawmakers and staff from their congressional districts to advocate around issues related to women.
For a list of workshops and speakers and for registration information, visit the EAD website.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) special events
In addition to the regularly scheduled EAD activities, pre-registered Presbyterians have two opportunities for education and celebration within the denomination. Both are fully booked.
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 the ministry programs of the national church 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.
On March 26, the Office of Public Witness will celebrate its 65th anniversary with a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. The office has been speaking truth to power since its founding, said director the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II.
The office 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.
Presbyterians who didn’t register in time for either event can attend a concert by Brian McFarland, a Presbyterian pastor and Hunger Action Enabler. A vocalist and guitarist, McFarland has recorded an album to raise money for the Presbyterian Hunger Program.