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Minnesotan Becomes National Church Leader

November 13, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - A Minnesota woman is taking the helm of the National Council of Churches (NCC) this week and is wasting no time setting a clear agenda. Peg Chemberlin considers battling persistent poverty at the top of her issues list.

"Combating the growing economic disparities is an issue we need to be about; that we have a faith base from which to talk about. There's a justice issue here, and a caring-for-the-poor issue here."

The NCC will focus on interfaith issues and an understanding of the Islamic world, says Chemberlin, who adds climate change is also one of the more-important faith issues.

"We want to raise awareness of everything from helping congregations to think about how they can become green congregations and decrease their carbon footprints, to national policy issues that we think require some shared values."

With the United Nations climate change negotiations only five weeks away, NCC delivered more than 14,000 signatures to Pres. Obama and Congress last week, urging an effective and moral response to the emerging climate crisis.

The Council represents 45 million people from more than 100,000 congregations, proclaiming to be the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. Chemberlin will serve a two-year term and continue to serve as executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches.

Laura Thornquist/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MN