Churches mourn the passing of Lois McCullough Dauway

Washington, February 11, 2014 – Religious and political leaders around the world are mourning the death of Lois McCullough Dauway, a Methodist executive and ecumenical leader who died Feb. 4 following a long illness.

Countless church and interreligious leaders paused to remember Dauway’s profound influence on their lives and careers.

“I mourn the loss of Lois Dauway, my sister in Christ,” said Jim Winkler, general secretary and president of the National Council of Churches.

“Lois and I were friends for more than 30 years,” Winkler said. “She assisted in the orientation of mission interns, of which I was one, in 1980 and she mentored me and challenged me to become a stronger Christian and helped raise my consciousness of global peace and justice issues. I am grateful for the service she rendered to the church.”

Dauway, whose brother is the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service, was interim deputy general secretary for mission and evangelism of United Methodist Global Ministries, and a member of the World Council of Churches Central Committee.

In 2009, during the annual assembly of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service in Minneapolis, Dauway received the J. Irwin Miller award, the NCC’s highest honor for a lay leader in the church.

The award citation noted her “life-long commitment to racial and gender inclusiveness in church and larger society.”

Receiving the award from her friend, the late Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., Dauway said the ecumenical movement made her “nimble.”

She recounted her experience “dodging rocks” while working in the Boston school system and then dodging the "barbs and iniquities" directed at social movements.

The best part of her work, Dauway said, was the "folks, and the relationships I will cherish," and walking behind, next to, and in front of people over a career distinguished by a deep engagement in domestic and international justice issues.”

In June 2011, Dauway was cited by the National Council of Churches “Circles of Names” campaign that honored women who have been special mentors for current church leaders.

In February 2010, she was one of 25 African Americans who appeared on a Black History Month poster created by NCC staff to honor persons of color who made significant contributions to church and society. (See http://www.ncccusa.org/news/100202blackhistorymonth.html). She was delighted by the poster and asked for an enlarged copy of it when she retired.

World Council of Churches leaders also expressed their grief at Dauway’s passing.

WCC General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, and WCC Central Committee moderator Dr. Agnes Abuom, remembered her as “an extraordinary ecumenist” and a “gift” to the WCC.

They said that Dauway’s “faith and sense of dedication reflected a deep commitment and calling to service in the life of the church, not only within her own denomination, but to the global fellowship.”

Dauway’s “focus on issues of justice has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to the council,” they added.


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Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), cruzandjenks@gmail.com