The Global Priorities Campaign was a recipient, last week, of the "Blessed Are the Peacemakers" Award from the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches. The Campaign is an international inter-religious advocacy group seeking to combat poverty through effecting change in national and global budget priorities. It has been endorsed by the General Conference Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, the California-Nevada Annual Conference, and the CA-NV Conference Board of Church and Society.
Arnold Kohen, International Coordinator of the Global Priorities Campaign, sent his congratulations to the Rev. John Chamberlin, pastor of San Jose's Alum Rock UMC, who has served on the Organizing Committee of the Global Priorities Campaign for the past nine years:
"After all the efforts that you and your Board of Church and Society, and the California-Nevada Annual Conference have made, I know you will be gratified that Global Priorities has received [this] significant award … The efforts of you and your colleagues have continued to be most helpful.
"Thanks so much for all your solidarity and support. Much more of substance will be achieved in the period ahead."
The Global Priorities Campaign was begun in 1999 and officially launched at UNICEF headquarters in New York on October 17, 2005, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It is currently creating a process to establish international mechanisms that would greatly shrink nuclear arsenals and devote more spending to securing nuclear material, and other forms of nuclear security. On the human needs side of the equation, the project concentrates on increasing spending for the needs of children, including child survival, in close partnership with UNICEF.
Growing out of the inter-religious orientation of the Global Priorities network, from its inception it has made a particular effort to bridge deep religious and political divisions.
The citation states,
"Rather than simply engage those who might be expected to support arms control and humanitarian ventures, Global Priorities attempts to create extraordinary nonpartisan alliances to make an impact on these urgent questions and provide leadership and resources to address the plight of 25,000 children who die every day from preventable causes.
"It is this that distinguishes the Global Priorities network from others working in the intersection of the arms control, disarmament and humanitarian fields. In essence, Global Priorities is mobilizing different interests behind the same cause of reducing military spending in favor of basic human needs.
"The United States Conference for the World Council of Churches hereby presents the Global Priorities Campaign, its leaders and friends with the 'Blessed Are the Peacemakers' Award."
There were four other recipients of the award, including the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice staff, led by Program director Cassandra Carmichael, who is United Methodist (as is staff member Drew Sutton, a Wesley Theological Seminary intern). The citation praised the staff for "an expanded and yet focused engagement on a wide range of issues including biodiversity, climate change, consumerism, Earth Day, energy, environmental health, food and farmlands, green churches, liturgical resources, public lands and wilderness, and water conservation."