NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios of America, on November 1, joined with leaders of the major church organizations who are members of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) for a substantive forty-five minute meeting with President Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
As the senior church leader, Archbishop Demetrios opened the meeting after the introductions by NCCC President Peg Chamberlain and NCCC General Secretary Michael Kinnamon. Speaking on behalf of the Church leaders, the Archbishop told the President “... it is not only an honor to be with you here today, Mr. President; it is a joy.” His Eminence cited the Scriptural passage from Acts 10:38 in the original Greek and then in translation, in which Saint Peter declares that Jesus Christ passed his earthly life doing good and healing.
The Archbishop went on to share with the President that the purposes of the religious bodies of the NCCC were precisely “to do good and to bring healing,” and he thanked the President for his own efforts to do the same. Throughout the meeting, issues of social concern, justice, education, religious liberty and care for “the least among us” were exchanged. The Meeting was arranged through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with which the Archdiocese of America maintains an ongoing relationship, and the National Council of Churches of Christ USA, of which the Archdiocese has been a member since it founding in 1950.
In addition to Archbishop Demetrios, the delegation included Rev. John McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, Bishop Johncy Itty of Church World Service, Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Rev. Sharon Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Mr. Stanley J. Noffsinger of the Church of the Brethren, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, Rev. Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller of the Moravian Church, Thomas Swain of the Religious Society of Friends, Rev. Wesley S. Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America, Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader of The United Methodist Church, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, Rev. Geoffrey Black of the United Church of Christ, and Dr. Walter L. Parrish III of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.