The Rev. John L. McCullough was awarded the Council of Bishops 2012 Ecumenical Award May 1 at the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. The award, given every four years, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to strengthen Christian unity and interreligious relations.
“John McCullough brings commitment and great energy to international, national and regional ecumenical work, ” said Bishop Sharon Rader, ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Council of Bishops. “Under his leadership, Church World Service (CWS) has strengthened its international reputation as an innovative, adaptive and transformative leader in its programmatic fields. ”
McCullough is President and CEO of CWS, an international humanitarian agency that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world through programs of sustainable development and humanitarian assistance, advocacy for social justice, and services to immigrants and refugees. Many United Methodists annually partner with CWS through the CROP Hunger Walks, which are community-wide events sponsored by CWS and organized by local congregations to raise funds to end hunger in the United States and developing countries around the world.
McCullough has been at the forefront of efforts such as Church World
Service’s “Enough For All” campaign and Africa Initiative. As part of
the broad, multi-year Africa Initiative, CWS established School Safe
Zones to provide secure, stimulating and nurturing environments for
children to learn.
He leads CWS efforts to empower youth, develop
solutions for problems faced by displaced individuals, and eradicate
hunger and poverty through sustainable access to food and water in the
face of climate change. Commitment to ongoing ecumenical humanitarian
work has led McCullough to a variety of difficult mission contexts: In
Colombia and on the Thailand-Burma border he worked to resolve
humanitarian crises that had displaced thousands of people. In Guinea
he led a delegation to show solidarity with the Christian Council in the
face of possible threats to Christian witness in the overwhelmingly
Muslim country. In Israel and occupied Palestine he led a
precedent-setting delegation of faith leaders representing African
American churches. In North Korea he led a delegation in response to
the growing political and humanitarian crisis there. In Iraq he led a
high-level humanitarian mission before the war. In Liberia his efforts
to bring peace to a divided country helped achieve a negotiated
settlement to the civil war.
Closer home, McCullough served as a
member of the White House Task Force on Global Poverty and Development.
In addition to being part of a group of African American leaders meeting
with President Obama, McCullough also visited the White House in
November 2010 as a member of an ecumenical delegation to stress the
urgent need for a robust government response to poverty and hunger in
the United States.
“This award is a total surprise for me, an
amazing surprise," said McCullough. “We believe that there is enough
food that no one should go hungry, enough water that no one should
thirst, enough love that all children should reach their potential. We
believe in the right to peace with justice and a place people can call
home. And, just as important, we believe that by working together as an
ecumenical community of faith we can hasten the day when all God’s
children are invited to the feast and to drink without reservation
because there indeed is enough for all.”
A graduate of the Boston
University School of Theology, McCullough was honored with the school’s
Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is an ordained minister in The United
Methodist Church and has served pastorates in the United States and
Kenya. Before joining CWS in 2000 he held leadership positions at the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.