From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopal News Service Briefs

Date 16 Feb 2001 13:31:48

News Briefs

National Council survey finds deepening hunger in U.S.

     (NCC) A survey of faith-based providers of social services by the National 
Council of Churches (NCC) finds that more Americans may be working but they still 
don't make ends meet. Respondents to the survey of the council's 36 Protestant 
and Orthodox members said that working families are the fastest growing category 
of people in need. More and more of them are coming to faith-based organizations 
for food and help with housing, child care, job training and placement.

     Results of the survey will help the NCC determine its advocacy role in the 
future, part of its broad 10-year effort to mobilize churches against poverty.

     Under the 1996 legislation on welfare reform, people are often forced to 
take any job that is available, without regard to their family needs, the survey 
concluded. And in many states they lose Medicaid, food stamps, child care and 
housing subsidies when they get a job. "The result is they are poorer working 
than they were when they were on welfare," according to Mary Cooper of the NCC 
Washington Office, who tallied the results. "Respondents were nearly unanimous 
that the time limits for getting off welfare are too short and the sanctions too 

     Welfare reform works best, the survey found, where states provide 
significant literacy and job training and continue supportive services. "People 
leaving welfare need supportive experience to be phased out very carefully and 
gradually so they are better off at the end of it," Cooper said. As people are 
being pushed off welfare, the survey noted, their care is being shifted away from 
government agencies to the non-profit sector which has a limited capacity to meet 
the need.


Activist priest arrested at Delaware poultry plant

     (AP) An activist Episcopal priest, the Rev. Jim Lewis, was arrested February 
13 for trespassing at a poultry plant in Shelbyville, Delaware, as employees 
prepared to vote on whether to keep their union. Lewis said that he was trying to 
hold a prayer vigil and wanted to talk with employees and executives.

     In December, some workers at the plant petitioned the National Labor 
Relations Board, seeking a vote on whether to decertify the union which has 
represented them for nearly 30 years. Some workers complained to the union that 
they were receiving threats and other forms of intimidation from their 
supervisors at the plant.

     Lewis is completing a seven-year mission from the Diocese of Delaware 
seeking to improve the lives of the poor in the southern part of the state.

     Some are charging that the workers are among the most abused and oppressed 
in the nation and that the industry has polluted the environment and used harsh 
measures to prevent workers from organizing--or staying organized.


Church and Adams Mark Hotel going to court

     (Episcopal Life) The Episcopal Church and the Adams Mark Hotel in Denver 
have "agreed to disagree" about the church's liability for pulling out of the 
hotel before last year's General Convention.

     A trial date will be set soon on the hotel's suit against the church for 
$900,000, its penalty for canceling its contract.

     The Executive Council voted in 2000 to cancel its contract with the hotel 
after civil rights charges were filed against the St. Louis-based chain. The 
hotel later settled with the federal government. The Adams Mark would have been 
the primary convention hotel.

     Treasurer Stephen Duggan told Executive Council during its February meeting 
in New Jersey that Episcopal Church Center officials met with hotel management in 
Denver to try to negotiate a settlement. The original cancellation penalty of 
$1.2 million had been reduced to $900,000, mostly because of rooms the hotel was 
able to let during convention, which cut its losses.

     Duggan said the church took responsibility for canceling its contract, but 
told Adams Mark officials that "they also had to bear a part of the 
responsibility because it was actions on their part that made the hotel 
unsuitable for our purposes." Duggan told council that "we have agreed to 
disagree" about each party's share of the financial liability.


McDonald's at church

     (Miami Herald) The 7,000 parishioners at Brentwood Baptist Church in 
Houston, Texas, won't have to venture far for a burger, once a McDonald's opens 
in the church's community center in July.

     "A lot of us have children," said Derrick Cyprian, chairman of Brentwood's 
deacon board. "When we have different meetings and functions at the church, a lot 
of times you don't get to stop and get something to eat. This will make it more 

     The fast-food restaurant, complete with drive-through window, will be co-
owned by the church and one of its members, Ernest Redmond, who has six 
McDonald's franchises in Houston.

     McDonald's spokesman Rick Nance said the new franchise is the first he knows 
of to be attached to a church.


First Lutheran chapter for Daughters of the King

     (ENS) The Order of the Daughters of the King instituted its first Lutheran 
chapter in a historic service on February 4 at Zion Lutheran Church in Akron, 

     This chapter, the first in the order's 116 year history, was made possible 
by the recent agreement between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in America, "Called to Common Mission," which formally states both 
churches' cooperation in a variety of ministries.
     Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, of the Episcopal Church said, "I am delighted 
to see that the Call to Common Mission has allowed this chapter to be instituted. I…send 
my blessings for the first of what I hope will become many such occasions."

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