WASHINGTON (National Council of Churches)
The Rev. Michael Livingston, a former president of the National Council of Churches and now leader of the Council’s Poverty Initiative, has resigned that position effective Aug. 31.
Livingston, who was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1975, said he will join the staff of Interfaith Worker Justice, a Chicago-based group that supports economic justice and worker rights.
As director of the Poverty Initiative, Livingston worked on many fronts to keep the issue of poverty before the public.
In July 2011, he was one of a dozen leaders from the faith community who were arrested for kneeling to pray in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol to call attention to congressional efforts to slash the budgets of poverty programs.
“Congress is paralyzed by toxic partisan politics while people suffer,” Livingston said at the time. “Our elected officials are protecting corporations and wealthy individuals while shredding the safety net for millions … . Our faith won’t allow us to passively watch this travesty unfold.”
Last March Livingston joined farm workers in a Lenten fast in Florida to put pressure on the Publix Corp. to raise worker wages and improve working conditions.
Livingston served the NCC as a board member, officer and staff member for 12 years. He has represented the council’s witness for peace in the Middle East and other world trouble spots.
He is a member of the New Brunswick, N.J., Presbytery. He was pastor of Presbyterian churches in Los Angeles and New York until 1985 when he returned to his alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary, as director of admissions and later as campus pastor and director of the chapel.