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Congratulations To Bishop Michael Lunsford

Rep. Barney Frank

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Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that Michael R. Lunsford, a constituent of mine from Taunton, Massachusetts, recently celebrated the first anniversary of being elevated to the position of Bishop within the International Fellowship of Reformed Episcopal Churches, previously known as the International Fellowship of Reformed Episcopal, Pentecostal Churches of the Syro-Atiochan Rite.

While this marks an important milestone for Bishop Lunsford and for the members of his congregation, I believe it is also important for the broader community to be aware of the many ways in which he has contributed to improving the lives of Taunton residents, and improving the quality of life in the greater Taunton area. Indeed, he offers an excellent example of the way in which clerics contribute to their communities simultaneously on two levels: as spiritual leaders for the members of their particular houses of worship or faiths, but also as participants in important community efforts to address social concerns that go beyond the doors of their own houses of worship. It is from that perspective that I would like to acknowledge the valuable services Bishop Lunsford has performed--and continues to perform--for Taunton and its environs, and also overseas (obviously, in this case, the term ``community'' has a much more expansive meaning than we sometimes give it).

Bishop Lunsford moved to Taunton in 1983 with his wife, when he took on the position of pastor at the Crossroads Christian Center. He has been active in area religious and civic affairs since that time. From its inception in 1987, he has been an advisor to Barnabas Ministries, an international missionary organization that has provided encouragement and training to thousands of pastors in more than 27 developing countries throughout the world. He was also the founder of two local human service programs: Eagles Nest, an after school program established in 1998 that focuses on tutoring, reading programs and other youth services; and The Lord Cares Food Program, which began in 1993 and provides nutrition assistance to needy families by means of donations and volunteer work. He was also the founder in 2001 of Crossroads International, a multi-racial ministry headquartered in Taunton, with branches in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island and Port Limon, Costa Rica. Crossroads International works on promoting business development, youth empowerment and anti-drug initiatives, among other efforts.

Bishop Lunsford is also on the board of Youth Challenge International, an anti-drug abuse organization, and is a member of numerous local human service and community boards, including Taunton Cares, Pro Home, Taunton Emergency Task Force, Community Counseling, Greater Taunton Clergy, and the Department of Mental Health.

Because his work is very much in the American tradition of combining spiritual and community leadership, I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Michael R. Lunsford on his many contributions to Taunton, his elevation to the position of Bishop and his ongoing commitment to helping less fortunate people around the world.