Episcopal News Service Press Items
Virginia Theological Seminary celebrated its 189th Commencement today, awarding 53 students, representing more than 24 dioceses and five countries, with degrees of Master in Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Christian Education, Doctor of Ministry, Post-Graduate Diplomas in Anglican Studies, and the Licentiate in Theology. The commencement address, given by the Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, was streamed live to over five countries including Cambodia, Jamaica, and Greece.
This is the sixth annual World Religions Summit since 2005, when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leading American evangelical, led faith leaders in urging G8 nations to fulfill their commitment to the MDGs. Adopted in 2000, the MDGs range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by 2015.
Co-moderated by Dionne and William Galston, another Brookings senior fellow, with an introduction by Sojourners President and CEO Jim Wallis, the event addressed the questions: Why are religious groups so united on the question of immigration reform? How has their activism affected the debate on Capitol Hill? And what does this tell us about the role of faith in affecting debates over policy and building political coalitions?
Also during the meeting, participants met at the headquarters of Bread for the World, a CCT participant organization, where they were joined by 18 seminarians. The group toured the service sites of S.O.M.E. (So Others May Eat) in Washington, D.C. and Sojourners, another CCT participant organization.
In his remarks, [Dr. Richard] Land pointed out that Christians are "to act redemptively and to reach out to those who are hurting, whether they are legal or not." Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, called attention to the impact of Cardinal Roger Mahony's statement instructing priests to break the law if the House bill criminalizing those who offered aid to illegal immigrants was enacted. Describing the Catholic leader's words as making "shock waves," Wallis warned legislators that "when you attack immigrants you attack us in the religious community."