From the Worldwide Faith News archives


From Carol Fouke <>
Date Fri, 14 Dec 2001 11:27:36 -0800

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2227
E-Mail: <>; Web:
Or Good Schools Pennsylvania, 215-332-2700 or 215-275-7329
E-Mail: <>; Web: <>


December 12, 2001, HARRISBURG, Pa. - To eliminate poverty, be sure all
children get a good education, religious leaders asserted at an interfaith
prayer vigil for public education reform, held in Harrisburg, Pa., Dec. 12
at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of
Churches, and Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children's
Defense Fund, led the vigil to bring national attention to the severe
disparity of educational opportunities available to poor children in
Pennsylvania.  More than 200 national and state religious leaders

Education Week rated Pennsylvania as one of the eight worst states in the
nation when it comes to disparity in educational opportunity, according to
Good Schools Pennsylvania, which sponsored the vigil.  Pennsylvania's per
student expenditure is the 15th lowest in the nation.  The state supports 35
percent of local education expenses on average, down from a 50-50
state-local partnership in the early 1970s.

Speaking of the NCC's mobilization against poverty, which aims to reduce
U.S. poverty measurably by the end of the decade, Dr. Edgar said, "Our
present commitment to mobilize to address poverty once again brings to the
forefront the national necessity of establishing and maintaining public
education that brings thorough and efficient education to all children.  I
believe that Good Schools Pennsylvania offers a unique model to our nation
of how we might advocate for funding equity and quality education for all
In 1999, the NCC adopted a new comprehensive policy statement on public
education, entitled, "The Churches and the Public Schools at the Close of
the 20th Century."  "In keeping with the recommendations that were a part of
that action," Dr. Edgar said, "the Council has sought to be conscientious in
its efforts on behalf of public education."

Said Ms. Edelman, "I stand here today on these steps because it is time for
Pennsylvania to make the right moral and political choices for all our
children.  Our children are not just another commodity to be written off or

Ms. Edelman and Dr. Edgar - former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's
Seventh Congressional District who also served as a United Methodist parish
pastor in Pennsylvania - were joined by, among many others, the Rev. Gordon
Sommers (Moravian) and the Rev. Patricia McClurg (Presbyterian), both former
NCC Presidents, and the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, NCC Deputy General

Also, Rev. Roy Almquist, Bishop, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison, Diocesan Bishop,
Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Rt. Rev. Michael W. Creighton, Bishop,
Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Rev. Peter Weaver, Bishop,
Philadelphia Area of the United Methodist Church, and Father Jack O'Malley,
representing the Association of Pittsburgh Priests.

This prominent group gathered in Harrisburg because they believe that
comprehensive school reform must include adequate funds that are equitably
distributed, using proven educational programs, a set of common sense
standards for excellence and the accountability measures necessary for every
child to succeed.

The December Good Schools Pennsylvania interfaith monthly prayer vigil was
the fifth since June, and was the first to bring in national leaders to
stand with Pennsylvania religious leaders to highlight the breadth of
national support for public education reform.

Good Schools Pennsylvania is a non-profit coalition of grassroots, statewide
and national organizations seeking to mobilize parents, students and
concerned citizens to advocate for improved public education.

The National Council of Churches is the nation's leading ecumenical
organization.  Its 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member communions
comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 congregations.


Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home