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From Columbus: Ateek and others honored by Episcopal Peace Fellowship for reconciliation work

By Alex Baumgarten
[Episcopal News Service]  The Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem, delivered a keynote address June 17 at Trinity Church, Columbus, during which he and four other Anglican peacemakers received awards from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF).

Ateek, who received one of EPF triennial John Nevin Sayre Awards, is well known for his advocacy of non-violence. In his address, he praised the partnership of the Episcopal Church and EPF, affirming "our shared work and hope for peace and reconciliation for all the people of Israel and Palestine."

Reflecting on the Beatitudes in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the special blessing that Christian tradition recognizes as belonging to peacemakers, Ateek said that "so long as we are blessed by Christ, we fear nothing."

Ateek has been director of Sabeel for 14 years and has expanded the Center's programs that address community building, women's empowerment, clergy issues, international affairs and liturgy. Ateek is widely known in the Holy Land as a lecturer and writer on the role of nonviolence in bringing healing to the region. He has strongly condemned violence of militant Palestinian groups and the Israeli government.

Introducing Ateek, the Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves, director of the Office of Peace and Justice Ministries for the Episcopal Church, said the citation recognizes Ateek's "non-violent ministry in pursuit of peace and justice as well as a rebuke to those voices who would silence Naim's own strong voice as a Palestinian and a Christian living under occupation."

Madeleine Trichel, director of the Columbus Interfaith Peace Center, also received a John Nevin Sayre Award. An Episcopalian who has led the Center for the past 25 years, Trichel teaches a message of nonviolent living in prison settings, with educators, and within the faith community. She is widely sought after as a trainer, writer, and workshop leader, and has worked with the Diocese of Southern Ohio and the Episcopal Church Center in New York City. She is a past chair of the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, and has served on the National Executive Council of EPF and the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.

Bishop Stephen Charleston, president and dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received the EPF William Stringfellow award. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Charleston is a well known advocate for justice issues and the spiritual renewal of the Church. Formerly Bishop of Alaska, Charleston also has served as staff officer for Native American ministries at the Episcopal Church Center, director of the Dakota Leadership Program, and a tenured professor at Luther-Northwestern Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Marge Christie, deputy from the Diocese of Newark, received the EPF Vida Scudder Award. Christie has been to every General Convention since 1976 and has served the Episcopal Church in a variety of roles related to peace and reconciliation. She is a past president of the Episcopal Women's Caucus, past chair of the Committee on the Status of Women, and chair of the Standing Commission on the Church in Metropolitan Areas.

Grieves received the EPF William Scarlett Award. Director of EPF since 1988, he has worked actively on peace processes in the Philippines, Central America, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland, including service on a delegation to Belfast with President Clinton in the mid-1990s. He has served since 1989 as chair of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network and currently works with Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, South Africa, as staff to the Poverty and Trade Task Team of the Anglican Communion, which was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the request of the primates.

The awards ceremony was co-hosted by "The Witness" magazine and led by Assisting Bishop Barbara Harris of Washington. Harris sits on the Board of Episcopal Church Publishing, publishers of "The Witness," an Episcopal magazine focusing on peace and justice issues since its inception in 1917.