WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pope Benedict XVI willlead an ecumenical prayer service April 18, at St. Joseph's Church in theYorkville area of Manhattan.
Participants at the service will include 250 national and localProtestant and Orthodox Church leaders.
St. Joseph's Church was built in the 19th century by the immigrantGerman community that settled in the area and today serves a diversepopulation. A Sunday Mass is still celebrated in German.
The pope will address the group after a reading from Paul's letter tothe Ephesians (4:1-6) and before the congregation prays the Lord's Prayer.
At the end of the ceremony, the pope will greet ten national and fivelocal ecumenical leaders.
The national leaders include:
Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Churchin America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In June 2003, theArchbishop led the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to theVatican for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. He serves as Chairman of theStanding Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the ArmenianChurch of America. Archbishop Barsamian is a member of the internationaldialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches,and is Chairman of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches inthe United States.
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, legate of the Diocese of the ArmenianChurch of America (Eastern) in Washington and ecumenical officer. He becamePresident of the National Council of Churches USA January 1, 2008.
Rev. Dr. Donald McCoid, representing Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson ofthe Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is Director of the Ecumenicaland Inter-Religious Relations Office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church inAmerica.
Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, Bishop of the New York Annual Conference ofthe United Methodist Church.
Rev. Dr. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the ReformedChurch in America since 1994, and one of the five Presidents of ChristianChurches Together in the USA, representing the historic Protestant family.
Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church(USA) since 1996.
Rev. Dr. William J. Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention,USA, Inc., since 1999. Dr. Shaw serves as one of the five Presidents ofChristian Churches Together in the USA, representing the Racial/Ethnicfamily of churches.
Bishop James Leggett, General Superintendent of the InternationalPentecostal Holiness Church, a position he had held since 1997. BishopLeggett is the Evangelical/Pentecostal President of Christian ChurchesTogether in the USA.
Dr. Leith Anderson, President of the National Association ofEvangelicals (NAE) and senior pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie,Minnesota since 1977.
Leaders from the New York area who will personally greet the pope include:
Bishop David H. Benke, president of the Atlantic District of theLutheran Church Missouri Synod. Rev. Benke was elected president of theAtlantic District in 1991, and has been re-elected five times, mostrecently in 2006. He is also the primary ecumenical leader for the NehemiahProject which provides housing for the poor in New York City.
Rev. Dr. A. R. Bernard Sr., President of the Council of Churches of theCity of New York and founder and Senior Pastor of The Christian CulturalCenter in Brooklyn, New York. He is also host of two weekly televisionprograms, Faith in Practice with A. R. Bernard and The A. R. Bernard Show.
Elder Bernice A. King, the second daughter and youngest child of civilrights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. With herbrother Martin Luther King III, she has been active in the SouthernChristian Leadership Conference once led by their father. She is currentlyan elder at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.
Rev. Jimmy Seong G. Lim, Executive Director of the Council of Churchesof the City of New York. Rev. Lim has served the Council of Churches of theCity of New York since 1999. Rev. Lim is an ordained minister in TheReformed Church in America.
The Right Rev. Mark S. Sisk, the 15th Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceseof New York. Bishop Sisk was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese ofNew York in 1998. Prior to his election as coadjutor, Bishop Sisk served asPresident and Dean of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston,Illinois.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been in ecumenicaldialogue with a broad spectrum of Christian churches and communities fordecades and has embarked with them on many ventures. One of the most recentis establishment of the Christian Churches Together in the USA. Membersinclude Catholics, Orthodox, mainline Protestants, Evangelicals andPentecostals. For the first time in U.S. history there is a structure toenable the great majority of Christians in the United States to speaktogether with a common voice on the issues that face both church andsociety.
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