Members of Congress Honored by Church World Service for Bipartisan Commitment to Humanitarian, Refugee Leadership

October 25, 2019

Washington, D.C. — Wednesday evening, at a reception on Capitol Hill, Church World Service honored ten members of Congress for their leadership on humanitarian and poverty-focused international aid and protecting the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The awards came as part of an evening celebrating bipartisan support for the United States’ proud legacy of compassionate global leadership.

The organization presented awards to Representatives Jim Clyburn (D-SC); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Kay Granger (R-TX), and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), and James Lankford (R-OK). The awards were presented by Church World Service’s President and CEO Reverend John L. McCullough and Chair of the Board of Directors Reverend Patricia de Jong.

“All of these members of Congress have been leaders on securing Congressional support for humanitarian and poverty-focused international aid and for protecting refugees. We are pleased to call them friends of the ecumenical community and to honor their important work. And we look forward to our continued partnership with them to make this world a more just and sustainable place for our brothers and sisters who are facing hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster,” said Church World Service President and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough

In recognition, some of the awardees issued the following statements:
“It is with extreme honor that I receive this award from the Church World Service. When I told my father that I had decided not to follow him into the ministry, he said, ‘I suppose the world would rather see a sermon than hear one.’ Since then, I’ve tried to conduct myself in such a way to live up to my father’s decree. Throughout my career as a public servant, I have always defended the rights of the poor and needy and remain committed to reorienting our priorities here in Congress to serve the least of these.”
• House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC)

“I am honored to receive this award recognizing my unwavering support for humanitarian and poverty-focused international assistance, and for working to address the unique and varied needs of refugees around the world. The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming those who seek safety, refuge, and freedom from disasters, wars, or tyranny. This welcoming and generous spirit has been a part of the very foundation of our country. We must ensure that we continue to provide a safe haven for those in need. I look forward to working with all of you, my colleagues, and the administration to ensure that we do all we can for those seeking a life free of imminent peril, war, and persecution.”
• Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

“I thank the Church World Service for believing in and fighting for compassionate immigration and asylum policies every day. The United States has long been a global leader in offering safety and protection to victims of terror, abuse, and brutal regimes. In Congress, my colleagues and I have a moral and legal duty to provide refugees safe haven – for the sake of humanity and because it also helps build America’s strength and capacity. Refugees who make it to our shores have faced adversity with courage and conviction. They are new Americans by choice who will strengthen our country. I am humbled by this honor, and will never forget that millions of people still look toward America and dream of a better life for themselves and their families.”
• Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

“I am honored to receive this award from Church World Service. I will continue to work to support and uplift communities across the globe, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.”
• Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“In the midst of the largest refugee crisis in history, it is more important than ever that America lives up to its values in defending human rights and protecting the most vulnerable refugees. Sadly, this has not been the case under the current Administration. I am grateful for Church World Service’s critical work to welcome refugees to America, which reflects the best our country has to offer. I am honored to receive this recognition and will continue fighting to restore our legacy as a beacon of hope for families around the globe fleeing violence and persecution.”
• Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty.

For more information, contact Christopher Plummer at