From the Worldwide Faith News archives

National Council of Churches USA Receives Medgar W. Evers Award

From "Carol Fouke" <>
Date Thu, 8 Apr 2004 12:44:59 -0400


April 8, 2004, NEW YORK CITY - The National Council of Churches USA has been
honored by the historic Walker County (Ala.) Memorial Committee with its 2004
Medgar W. Evers Award for Religion and Education.

A black substitute school teacher, Mrs. Wilda McFarly of Burnwell, Ala.,
established the award in 1963 to memorialize Evers, an early civil rights
leader who was murdered by a white segregationist on June 12, 1963, in
Jackson, Miss.	His murder sparked angry protests across the south and helped
pave the way for passage of the Civil Rights Act.

"At that time, most whites didn't recognize what blacks were doing," said the
Rev. David Lewis, who currently chairs the Memorial Committee.	"The award
honors persons and organizations of all races who have made a valuable
contribution to the good of humanity and the betterment of the community."

The Rev. Lewis, Associate Pastor of St. John Baptist Missionary Baptist
Church (NBCUSA, Inc.) in Dora, Ala., presented the award on April 5 to NCC
General Secretary Robert W. Edgar in the NCC's New York City offices.  "We
chose the NCC because it's been very supportive of civil rights and
education," said the Rev. Lewis, a national public speaker.  "Living together
and caring for one another is something all of us ought to understand."

The 54-year-old National Council of Churches brings together 36 Protestant,
Orthodox and historic African American denominations comprising 45 million
U.S. Christians.  Through the Council, they engage in a wide variety of
educational, advocacy, research, communication and environmental justice
ministries, theological studies, and Bible translation - notably, the New
Revised Standard Version.

Priorities include a Mobilization to Overcome Poverty, voter registration and
activation, work for peaceful solutions to international conflicts, global
nuclear disarmament, fair wages for U.S. farmworkers, better interfaith
understanding and civil and human rights, both in the United States and
around the world.  The Council actively is pressing for welfare policy that
lifts families out of poverty and is pressing the U.S. government to keep its
financial commitments to international development and HIV/AIDS crisis work. 
See for more information.

The Rev. Lewis said the NCC was chosen from among 100 individual and
organizational nominees and was the first religious organization to be
honored by the Walker County Memorial Committee.  The committee's 13 elected
members are all county residents with backgrounds in community and civic
affairs.  Walker County has 70,000 residents, the Rev. Lewis noted.

The award consists of two plaques - a tribute to Medgar W. Evers and the
citation to the NCC "for your outstanding participation in organization
programs and efforts that benefit all citizens....You have given valuable
contributions to the 'God of Humanity,'" the citation reads.  "We hope you
will continue lifting the veil of ignorance.  Every step of progress in the
world has been made by dedicated people."

Digital photo available.  Contact NCC Media Relations, 212-870-2252;

National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Dr, New York
New York 10115-0050

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