Written by Anthony Moujaes
The former director of the United Church of Christ's advocacy office in Washington, D.C., will return to Capitol Hill to lead religious organizations around the country joined in ending acts of torture. The Rev. Ron Stief, an ordained UCC minister, has been named the next executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and will begin his tenure Jan. 1, 2014.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is an interfaith group of more than 325 religious organizations committed to ending torture of prisoners. As one of the many organizations active in NRCAT's work, the UCC welcomed the news that one of its own would continue the lineage of proclaiming justice and compassion for people everywhere.
"Ron is well known as a strong faith-based advocate, organizer, and leader," said the Rev. Mike Neuroth, UCC international policy advocate for Justice and Witness Ministries in the D.C. office. "He is also a colleague and friend to many in the faith community, and especially the UCC office. NRCAT's future as an organization and anti-torture movement will continue to be strong moving forward."
From 1999 to 2008, Stief was director of the UCC Washington D.C. office, an advocate on Capitol Hill involved in a range of domestic and international issues. He also served on the Washington Interreligious Staff Council and the Justice and Advocacy Commission of the National Council of Churches.
"Over the last several years, NRCAT has done critical work in raising the visibility of faith voices opposing torture, and in particular raising the voices of the faith community to advocate for closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo," said Sandy Sorensen, director the UCC office in D.C. "We look forward to continuing our invaluable collaboration with NRCAT in this work under the leadership of Rev. Ron Stief. Ron brings a deep grounding in faith-based advocacy and a familiarity with the faith-based advocacy community that will serve him well in his capacity as NRCAT's executive director."
Stief earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Montana and holds a master's in social ethics and a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion. He and his wife, the Rev. Sandee Yarlott, have one son and two grandchildren.
Stief succeeds the Rev. Richard Killmer, who served as NRCAT's first executive director since May 2007. He will retire on Dec. 31.
"I've worked closely with the National Campaign Against Torture over the years to lift up UCC opposition to U.S.-sponsored torture," Neuroth said. "Under the leadership of Rev. Rich Killmer for the past 7 years, NRCAT has grown into an influential faith-based advocacy organization here in D.C. NRCAT has led successful campaigns on issues of ending torture, opposing solitary confinement, and closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo – all of which UCC congregations and individuals have supported."