Written by Gregg Brekke
A new congress and a new administration will be grappling with some of the toughest policy issues in decades this March 13-16, 2009, when more than 700 persons of faith arrive from around the country to worship and learn about the relationships between climate change, migration and poverty and carry their witness to the halls of the 111th Congress.
The seventh annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days, meeting at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center under the theme, "Enough for All Creation," will gather religious persons from a wide range of faith groups and traditions to work to make another world possible.
Founded by the National Council of Churches USA in 2001, Ecumenical Advocacy Days is now supported by 45 communions, religious societies and groups.
Speakers and preachers will include the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; the Rev. John McCullough, Executive Director of Church World Service; and Fr. Sean McDonagh, an Irish Colomban Friar who is a leading thinkers on climate change among Catholic religious.
The theme is based on John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." It is through this lens that advocates will explore the intersections of climate change, poverty and migration in our world today.
Presentations and workshops will discuss the world's abundance of natural resources and seek to identify ways they can be more fairly distributed.
On Monday, March 16, the last day of the conference, participants will be bused to Capitol Hill where they will meet with their Congressional representatives and staffs to discuss ways of addressing these concerns through legislation or allocations.
Prior to Ecumenical Advocacy Days the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy will sponsor a pre-conference Event, Transforming No Child Left Behind, on Friday, March 13, 2009.
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), was scheduled for its five-year reauthorization in 2007, but that reauthorization has been left hanging.
Faithful advocates for education reform will learn how to press our new President and Congress to uphold high expectations for children and teachers but at the same time honor their accomplishments; shift the focus from punishing public schools to strengthening them; expand real opportunity for vulnerable children through better funding; and reduce standardized testing.
Early registration fee for Ecumenical Advocacy Days is $160 prior to February 13, when the fee jumps to $175. The registration form can be found at <advocacydays.org/registration>. Student scholarships are available.
For more information on or to register for the Transforming No Child Left Behind pre-event, please e-mail Jan Resseger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216/736-3711. Some scholarship assistance is available on a first-come-first-served.