Sunday Sermon: “Jesus’ Holy Nags”
Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President, National Council of Churches in Christ USA and Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Churches
The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, was installed as President of the National Council of Churches on November 12, 2009, in a public service at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis. Chemberlin has led the Minnesota Council for 14 years.
Chemberlin is the 25th president of the National Council of Churches since 1950. She is the second Moravian, the fourth woman, the first Minnesotan and the first head of a state council of churches to hold the office.
In 2009, Chemberlin was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. On the council, she serves on the task force focused on economic recovery and fighting poverty.
Chemberlin is ordained and holds standing in the Moravian Church of America-North and has dual standing with the United Church of Christ. She was recently bestowed the honor of being named a canon in the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota by Bishop Jelinek.
During Chemberlin’s time at the statewide council it has grown 30 percent in membership, half of which is from the historic Black Churches. She is known for developing an organizational culture of collaboration and relationship-based programming, establishing MCC as a gateway organization between the faith community and other sectors.
She has opened up the council’s interaction with Native American tribal leadership throughout the state, brought the MCC into the cross-sector effort to eliminate poverty in Minnesota by 2020, and launched Decade for Development of Leadership for the Common Good.
She organized faith leaders for a massive gathering at the State Capitol after 9/11. The Council of Churches organized a broad group of religious leaders including Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and member denominations of the Council to pray after the 35W bridge collapse. This gathering received international media attention.
Before moving into leadership with the MCC, Chemberlin was director of Minnesota FoodShare. She is a recipient of former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson’s award for Women of Excellence in 1994, where Chemberlin was recognized for extraordinary personal achievement, for support of others in their pursuit of excellence, and for on-going contributions to the State of Minnesota.
Chemberlin has been honored with the annual Distinguished Alumni Award from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She is the recipient of the Angel of Reconciliation award, from Unity Baptist Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition, in 2003 she was the Honorary Chair of the statewide Minnesota FoodShare Campaign. She also received the NOVA (Non-Violent Alternatives) Peace and Justice Award, presented at St. Cloud State University in 1985 for special programs she helped introduce which looked at alternatives to violence, ranging from campus sexual assault and domestic abuse to global issues and nuclear proliferation.
Chemberlin received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, graduating with honors. She graduated from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (UTS) in l982, where she was awarded the academic prize for historical theology. She was ordained a deacon in the Moravian Church in 1982.