The international affairs and peace programme of the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA) has endorsed a nationwide initiative for local congregations to raise awareness of the ongoing killing in Darfur, and action on the issue.
"Tents of Hope" is a project to encourage a community-based response to the genocide in Darfur, Sudan through education, advocacy and fundraising for humanitarian aid.
Communities are invited to raise awareness and support through a local "Tents of Hope" event. It is hoped such events will create a simulated refugee tent and transform it into a hopeful work of art. The tents will be painted with a variety of images and scenes conceived and painted by people from all walks of life.
"This is a hands-on opportunity for Americans to do something for the millions of human beings who are being killed and displaced in Darfur," said Dr Antonios Kireopoulos, NCCUSA's associated general secretary for international affairs and peace, and a member of the board of directors of the Save Darfur coalition.
"Tents of Hope" is a one-year project that will culminate in a collective action as local communities bring their tents and delegations to a national event in Washington, D.C. on September 5-6, 2008.
Congregations or groups wishing to obtain a tent or learn more about how to participate in the project will find complete information at http://www.tentsofhope.org. So far groups in about 40 US cities have signed on to the project.
Among the religious groups joining the effort are the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church World Service, American Jewish World Service, and Lutheran World Relief.
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These NCC member communions have 45 million members across the country.