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Americans Who Tell the Truth

Reverend Jim Lewis

Religious Leaders

Reverend Jim Lewis

Episcopal Clergyperson, Social Activist

Turning the other cheek is a revolutionary idea, and those of us who espouse it as a truly realistic way to break the cycle of violence are marginalized, depicted as dangerous, traitorous and a threat to the established order --- an order dependent on violence and bloodshed to bring peace.



Jim has been actively engaged, over the past 40 years, addressing the social issues in local communities he’s served as an Episcopal clergyperson. Serving churches and dioceses in Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Delaware, he has organized parishes and communities in addressing health care for women, child care, AIDS, prison and criminal justice issues, capital punishment, war, gay issues, housing, and racial issues.

Active in anti-death penalty work in West Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina and Delaware Jim was one of the founders of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty in North Carolina.

Of particular note is the work that Jim recently completed on the Delmarva Peninsula (the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.) It was there that poultry process plant workers, chicken catchers, poultry farmers, environmentalists, unions, and community churches came together to form the Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance, an organization addressing the injustices and abuses in the poultry industry. That work was featured in a 1999 Sixty Minutes piece with Mike Wallace. This work in the Delmarva also involved the creation of a Latino community center, a health clinic for the poor, a shelter for battered Latino women, and a program to assist men coming out of prison.

Jim has been active in war and peace issues since coming out of the U.S. Marine Corps where he was an infantry officer. His travels on peace missions have been to Cuba, Central America, Libya, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel/Palestine.

Jim has done civil disobedience around coal mine issues, U.S. involvement in war in Central America and Iraq, and poultry labor issues.

He received the West Virginia Governor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” award in 1991 and was honored in Delaware by Pacem in Terris in October, 2001, as “A Peacemaker Among Us.” He holds an honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary.

Writing regularly for various newspapers, he has also authored, West Virginia Pilgrim (Seabury Press), The Gulf War: The Churches & Peacemaking (North Carolina Council of Churches), and has contributed to Strike Terror No More: Theology, Ethics, and the New War (Chalice Press). He authored a chapter (“Grasshopper Power”) in the recently published book, Workers’ Rights as Human Rights (Cornell Press) which focuses on workplace safety and the role of community organization in bringing about change in the food production system.

Jim is married to Judith Graham, has a son and three daughters, and nine grandchildren. He and Judy live in Charleston, West Virginia. 



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