Revised CNN says the White House announced the appointments to its faith advisory council today. The group includes a dozen religious leaders representing a wide variety of religious traditions. The panel includes The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The White House announced a dozen appointments to its faith advisory council on Friday, with the leader of the nation’s largest evangelical group and the head of the nation’s leading Christian denomination serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are both on the list.
National Association of Evangelicals President Leif Anderson and Nancy Wilson, head of the and Metropolitan Community Church - the nation’s largest denomination expressly serving LGBT Americans - are among the appointees to the panel, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Lynne Hybels, wife if megachurch pastor Bill Hybels – who leads the Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago, Illinois – is also on the list.
The White House also named Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly and prominent Jewish organizational leader Susan Stern to the advisory council, which is officially called the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Stern was appointed to serve as chair of the council.
United Way CEO Brian Gallagher is also on the list.
Two other notable appointees are The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis. Jefferts Schori is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and the first woman to hold that role. Trakatellis is the head of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
In a statement released by the White House the President said, “I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
The appointments come late by some estimations. The previous Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships finished and released their report in March 2010. A new council had been expected to come on soon after and continue the work they had begun. In November 2010 the President signed an executive order to implement many of the recommendations of the original council.
Episcopal News Service:
"I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the larger community in this way," Jefferts Schori said, according to a press release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. "The ability to build partnerships between civic and religious bodies can only expand our capacity to heal a broken world."
The council "brings together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations in order to make recommendations to the government on how to improve partnerships," a White House press release noted, adding that the president will announce additional members at a later date. Each council serves a one-year term....
...Also announced as one of the 11 new members to join the council is Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which shares a full communion partnership with the Episcopal Church.
The other new members are:
* Susan Stern, named as chair of the council; special adviser on government affairs to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC);
* Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals;
* Andrea Bazán, president of Triangle Community Foundation;
* Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and chief executive officer of Policy Link;
* Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide;
* Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly;
* Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America;
* Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; and
* Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, moderator for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
Short biographies of the appointees may be found here.