Disciples News Service

U.S. faith leaders send letter to Congress on eve of papal visit

“An authentic faith, always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters.” (#183 Joy of the Gospel)

Dear Member of Congress:
For the first time in history, the leader of over one billion Roman Catholics worldwide will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on September 24. Pope Francis, whose integrity and commitment to marginalized people has captivated people around the globe calls us to recognize and act for  systemic changes in the way we live and organize our societies.

His repeated calls to the nations to uphold a dignified life and ensure social justice for those who are impoverished or rejected, and his recent pleas on behalf of Earth, “our common home,” come from Pope Francis’ own deep faith and years of experience among people struggling to survive.

As faith leaders across denominations and faith traditions, we resonate with Pope Francis’ concern for the poor and the planet, as with his call for a discussion of critical issues that transcends conventional divisions. We urge members of Congress – and all of us — to listen with open minds and hearts to his words and to work together, even across great differences, for the common good.

May Francis’ message inspire a renewed vision of public service on behalf of the human family and our shared home.  We pray that our work as faith leaders and yours as Members of Congress will always contribute to improving life for all, with special attention to the poorest and most vulnerable people in our own country and around the world; to the health of our planet; and to the just peace for which all humanity yearns.

Paula Clayton Dempsey
Director for Partnership Relations Alliance of Baptists

Divya L. Selvakumar
Executive Director
American Hindu World Service

Ruth Messinger
President
American Jewish World Service

Rev. David Beckmann
President
Bread for the World

Rabbi Steve Fox
Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis, Union for Reform Judaism

Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

Dr. Steve Timmermans
Executive Director
Christian Reformed Church in North America

Nathan Hostler
Director
Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness

Rev. John L. McCullough
President and CEO
Church World Service

Sr. Ellen Kelly, RGS.
Congregational Leader Elect Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Shantha Ready Alonso
Executive Director
Creation Justice Ministries

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Rev. Dr. Susan T. Henry-Crowe, General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed
National Director
Islamic Society of North America

Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki
President
Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Sr. Joan Marie Steadman, CSC Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Raymond Finch, MM
Superior General
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Sam Stanton
President
Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Sr. Antoinette Gutzler, MM
President
Maryknoll Sisters

Sister Maria Hornung
Coordinator, Sector North America Medical Mission Sisters

J. Ron Byler
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Rev. Timothy Mulroy, SSC
U.S. Regional Director
Missionary Society of St. Columban

James Winkler
General Secretary and President National Council of Churches, USA

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Sr. Patricia Chappell
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Marie Dennis
Co-President
Pax Christi International

Rev. Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA)

Dr. James C. Perkins
President
Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
& Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Rev. Peter Morales
President
Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
General Minister and President United Church of Christ

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.,  President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church