News Briefs
December 2000

 Ex-DA to help death row inmate

Memphis' former chief prosecutor John Pierotti has agreed to head the clemency appeal of Tennessee death-row inmate Phillip Workman, convicted of murdering a Memphis policeman in 1981. Pierotti prosecuted cases for 30 years and served as district attorney general from 1990 to 1996. He is now in private practice and did not participate in Workman's prosecution.

Workman faces execution Jan. 31. He admits to robbing a fast-food restaurant for drug money in 1981, but forensic pathologists and ballistics experts say that one policeman probably shot another by accident.

Week of Prayer coming up

The Week of Prayer and Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25, is an occasion when churches around the world join in prayer and reflection about unity in Christ and the need to heal the divisions among Christians and their churches.

The theme of the Week in 2001 is "I am the way, the truth and the life" from John 14:1-6. For more information, go to, click "ecumenism," then "Week of Prayer" or call the Greymoor Ecumenical Institute at 914-424-3671.

Eden Theological Seminary celebrates its sesquicentennial

Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo., held its 150th Anniversary Celebration on Dec. 6. The Rev. Walter Bruegge-mann presented highlights of Eden's past and the Rev. David M. Greenhaw, Eden's president, highlighted Eden's future.

Eden originally was incorporated as the German Evangelical Missouri College and followed German traditions and used the German language.

For more than half of its lifetime, men made up the entire student body. Today's student body is 50/50 women and men, with a racial/ethnic enrollment of 13.9 percent.

Presbyterians produce new video on mental illness

Recognizing mental illness as a crucial topic among many individuals and families, the Presbyterians have produced a video, "Honest Talk About Serious Mental Illness," geared towards adults and older youth. To order, call 800-524-2612.

Poet Laureate to judge Thomas Merton Poetry contest

The prestigious Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred will be judged this year by Robert Pinsky, recent Poet Laureate of the United States and frequent television guest on Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

Poetry of the Sacred expresses—directly or indirectly—a sense of the holy, or, by mode of expression, evokes the sacred. The tone may be religious, prophetic or contemplative.

Sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center Foundation, the contest offers four cash awards: a $500 First Prize and three Honorable Mention Prizes at $50 each. Deadline for submissions is Sunday, Dec. 31, 2000.

For more information, contact 502-899-1952;

Antoinette Brown nominations sought

Nominations are being sought for the 14th Antoinette Brown Award, created to honor two ordained women in the UCC who exemplify the contributions women make through ordained ministry in their parish or in church-related institutions.

The award, which will be presented at General Synod 23, is named for the Rev. Antoinette Brown, the first ordained woman minister in America in 1853.

For nomination forms, contact Deborah Bailey, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115. Deadline for nominations is Feb. 1, 2001.

Evangelism Workshop planned

The National Evangelism Workshop, co-sponsored by the Evangelism Ministry Team of the UCC and the National Evangelistic Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), will be held on July 11-13, 2001, in Kansas City, Mo. Contact Charlene J. Smith, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland OH 44115; phone 216-736-3815 or register online at

Whose hands were those?

For those readers who asked, the hands crocheting the cross on the cover of last month's national edition do belong to 88-year-old Emiko Abe of Honolulu. Thanks to the Rev. Joan Ishibashi, formerly of the Hawaii Conference staff and now Executive Associate for the UCC's Wider Church Ministries, United Church News was able to ask Honolulu photographer Xiaoning Louis Lin to photograph Mrs. Abe in her home. And here she is.