Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | September 7, 2012

Meet the Advocates: Praying and Speaking Out for a Healthier Future

On Thursday, September 13, four pastors and a missionary are spending spend the day together at the NCC Washington DC Office on Capitol Hill in prayer, learning, and action for the health of God’s people and Creation. Learn their stories.

Then, CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION —- Cheer them on and boost their efforts by contacting your members of Congress and letting them know chemical policy reform needs to be a priority this year.

Rev. Dr. Marvin Morgan, Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA.

A Certified Intentional Interim Minister, Marvin Morgan has served UCC congregations for 42 years.  He also served, for extended periods, as a corrections chaplain, theological school administrator/adjunct faculty, community organizer and minister of pastoral care, while simultaneously advocating for racial, social and economic justice for all people.  He has volunteered extensively on UCC committees and boards, including a term as Moderator of the UCC’s 27th General Synod.
Marvin currently serves as Minister of Pastoral Care and Counseling, First Congregational UCC, Atlanta, GA and as Intentional Interim Minister, Brookmeade Congregational, UCC, Nashville, TN.  Nearly two years ago, he was appointed Director and CEO of the Interfaith Commission for Racial Justice in Atlanta, GA.
When asked why he is an advocate for Eco–Justice, he said, “I promised my children and grandchildren that I would seek to shield them from the rampant racism that my generation fought against in the 1960s.  When that commitment was made, my own understanding of racism was far too limited.  Actually, it was not until the late 1980s, while helping to provide grassroots support for the groundbreaking work being done by the UCC’s Commission for Racial Justice, that I was helped to understand the connection between toxic chemicals/toxic waste and racism. My hope is to assure that new efforts to address Eco–Justice also include attention to, Eco-Racism.”
Support Marvin’s efforts and CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.
Rhegan Hyypio, Washington, DC
ImageA native of Saint Petersburg, FL and graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Rhegan presently lives in Washington, DC. She spent a year as a Catholic lay missioner in the Dominican Republic, working with Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans, 2.2 years in Brazil, working on land reform and 8 months in Bolivia, working in education. In her stints abroad she came to know those negatively affected by banned chemicals in the U.S., which had been sold in other countries. In conversations with other lay missioners, it also became apparent that they, too, were meeting many people terribly affected by these same toxic chemicals. Rhegan is here to share her disapproval of and disappointment in the practice of selling toxic chemicals banned in the U.S. to impoverished nations where many suffer its devastating consequences. Rhegan shares why she cares: “In whatever way I can, I want to help protect people from toxic substances. As a returned international lay missioner, I know the devastating affects banned chemicals in the U.S. have on those in other societies where the same chemicals are sold. I wanted to make sure this moral and ethical issue in regards to international communities was voiced during Congressional visits. I hope that decisions made about chemicals will always be in the best interest of ALL people, as well as the overall health of creation.”
Help Rhegan out and TAKE ACTION.

Sharon, her kids, and peacocks!

Rev. Sharon Stolz, Oak Park, IL

Rev. Stolz is UCC minister who became involved in environmental projects as she witnessed how pediatric cancers, learning disabilities, asthma and autism have increasingly become concerns since her own urban childhood. A mother of two young daughters, she is active in environmental issues through multiple community-based initiatives including the Environmental Stewardship committee of her home church, a UCC/PCUSA congregation.

Sharon explains why she’s coming to DC: I believe we must actively address the risks, especially the long-term health risks, involved with toxic emissions. We can’t counterbalance these effects with even the healthiest of individual lifestyles. If our children are to have a healthy future, we must pursue policies that guarantee a high quality environment for all. This is especially important because poor children, the children God calls us to protect, experience a higher exposure to what is hazardous.

Give Sharon a boost and CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.

ImageRev. Malik Saafir, Little Rock, AR

Rev. I. Malik Saafir is Senior Pastor of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.  In 2010, he founded Janus Institute For Justice to provide customized training for nonprofit and for profit organizations for the advancement of social and environmental justice.  

In 2009, he founded the Dr. William H. Robinson Jr. School of Practical Theology to train advocates and activists how to interpret, translate and apply theories of justice through social and environmental justice projects.

He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Village Commons and on the Board of Directors for Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light.  He builds strategic partnerships between both organizations to remove the cultural, political and economic barriers to social and environmental justice in Central Arkansas.

He is the recipient of the 2010 Interfaith Award sponsored by the Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns Committee of the Arkansas United Methodists Annual Conference.  His most recent accomplishment is becoming a GreenFaith Fellow and inception into the GreenFaith Fellowship Program Class of 2012.

Rev. Saffir says he came to DC because “I have a moral imperative as a citizen to advocate for the advancement of policies that protect the environment.  The Cree Indian proverb calls us to realize the adverse impact of environmental toxins on the Earth.  According to the Cree, “only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” (Cree Indian Proverb)  I believe we should actively participate in eliminating poisons from our air, water, food, soil and manufactured goods.”

Lift up Malik’s work at CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.

Rev. Bob Hall, Wilmington, DE 

Reverend Robert P Hall.  A native of Salisbury, Maryland, he earned a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in Catonsville and a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.  He was ordained a Deacon in 1975 and an Elder in 1978.  He served parishes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as Delaware and is presently the Pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Newark.   Since 1997, he has been Executive Director of the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families.  Mr. Hall recently served as President of the Delaware Public Health Association, Vice-President of the Health Education Network of Delaware, and Vice-Chair of the Delaware Consumer Health Care Coalition.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Delaware Association for Children of Alcoholics and Family Promise of Northern New Castle County.  Governor Minner appointed him a Commissioner on the Delaware Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.  In 1991, he was presented with the (federal) Commissioner’s Award by the US Department of Health and Human Services for Outstanding Leadership in the Prevention of Child Abuse.  He has also been honored by the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education, and The International Cat Association.  In 2004, he was a guest preacher at the Washington National Cathedral.  In 2008, Delaware Covering Kids and Families honored him for his efforts to obtain health coverage for the uninsured.  He also serves on the Advocacy Resource Team of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church and presently serves his Bishop as her Ecumenical Officer.  Mr. Hall lives in North Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Conee, a medical social worker and family life educator with the State public health agency.

Why Bob is advocating: I am excited to be a part of the work of the National Council of Churches partly because I am excited about the power and the impact of the Christian community working together to secure both health and justice.  But I also see the churches as the protector of the least, the last and the lost, who are almost always the victims of the toxicity and the wastes of careless human endeavor.  We are becoming increasingly aware of the negative outcomes for human health and wellness related to environmental misconduct.  Who better than the people of God to address this?

Support Bob and the Delaware Ecumenical Council by CLICKING HERE TO TAKE ACTION.



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