NEW YORK — CWS presented the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with the 2014 CWS Ecumenical Award at the its annual members meeting, April 29-30 in Chicago. The archdiocese was honored for its “significant contributions to the governance of CWS, visionary leadership and for its witness on matters of public policy.”
In accepting the award on behalf of the archdiocese, John Paterakis, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church and a former member of the CWS Board of Directors, called the honor “a great tribute.” Paterakis described old perceptions of the communion and expressed the hope that those perceptions will evolve to reflect the Church’s robust outreach ministry.
“So often, the people of America know Orthodox Christianity for its rich liturgies, for its patristic heritage, for icons and for elaborate churches. Those things are all good, but it’s richly rewarding and affirming when we are understood at that next level: as people who reach beyond boundaries to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and clothe the naked.”
Also attending the Chicago meeting as part of the GOAA delegation were Arlene Siavelis Kehl, first vice president, Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society; Fr. Nathanael Symeonides, Director of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Penny Petropoul, Director of Development, Orthodox Christian Mission Center; and Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis, assistant chancellor, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Representatives from sixteen CWS member communions braved bad weather or participated remotely online in discussions and presentations about CWS’ work. A consistent theme: Through CWS, communions come together to do in partnership what none could do alone.
“CWS is about our members, partners and a myriad of colleagues working together, as institutions and as coalitions, but even more, as people. That is the vision of our faith and our values,” said CWS President and CEO the Rev. John McCullough, describing the relationship between CWS and its member communions.
Throughout the gathering participants focused on the history and importance of the agency’s ecumenical, interfaith CROP Hunger Walks. The Walks help support CWS work, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world, and in United States communities where Walks are held.
The Ecumenical Award also cited the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America “for the visionary leadership of expanding the New York City CROP Hunger Walk” and “for its counsel and encouragement to other communions helping to initiate new CROP Hunger Walk activity in Long Island.”
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was the starting point for the May 4 CROP Hunger Walk in New York City.
“Receiving the CWS Ecumenical Award is a great tribute to the ministry of our parishes and organizations, the chapters of our Ladies Philoptochos Society, and the youth and young adults throughout the Archdiocese of America,” said Paterakis.