On Oct. 14, 2019, Kathryn Lohre, a member of the RFPUSA Executive Council, received the J. Irwin Miller Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a layperson by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. The recipient is determined to be one who has “demonstrated a commitment to church unity, and who, by living out this commitment through action in the world, has been a witness to justice and other values affirmed by our common faith in Jesus Christ.” The award was conferred during an awards banquet by Bishop W. Darin Moore, chairman of the NCC and Presiding Prelate of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The other award recipients included were the Rev. Dr. Alfred Moss Jr., Dr. Agnes Abuom and the Rev. Noel Anderson.
In her acceptance speech, Lohre shared her own story of being invited into the ecumenical movement and discerning a sense of call to ecumenism consistent with her Lutheran self-understanding. “What is so compelling to me about the ecumenical movement is that it is one of these impossible but totally possible [Lutheran] ‘both/ands.’ It is the gift and the task of unity. It is this stunning thing accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that none of us could have ever imagined or planned for — and it is given to us, underserving. And it is also this wild and broken and completely divided catastrophe that we need to tend to. So that’s where you’ll find me,” she said.