The John Gardner Fellowship is a lifetime appointment to honor and recognize longstanding, exemplary supporters of Common Cause Rhode Island; those who follow in the footsteps of John Gardner, founder of Common Cause, who demonstrate extraordinary and unwavering devotion to the organization, and who further its mission and best interests wherever and however it is within their power to do so.
Common Cause Rhode Island is proud to announce that Rev. James C. Miller will become the 6th-ever John Gardner Fellow in our organization's history at the 42nd Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 1, 2012. The John Gardner Fellowship is the highest honor bestowed upon volunteers in name of Common Cause's Founder.
|Rev. James C. Miller
Jim Miller has served the fight for holding power accountable for more than fifty years in his ministry career as a community organizer and church pastor, and joins Alan Hassenfeld, Natalie Joslin, John Sapinsley*, Lila Sapinsley, and Henry Sharpe.
Jim has been involved with Common Cause ever since his divinity school professor of social ethics admonished students to choose key social justice and political reform organizations to support and align their ministries. Jim’s twenty-one years of dedication to Common Cause Rhode Island began in 1991 when he began his post as Executive Minister of The Rhode Island State Council of Churches. Before moving to RI, Jim had The Providence Journal mailed to his Rochester, NY residency. News articles sharpened his awareness for the need of religious leaders to become involved in RI governmental reform. As soon as Jim set foot in RI, he convened RI interfaith leaders to join business and civic leaders and Common Cause RI to form the RIght Now! statewide coalition calling for ethic and political reform of RI state and city government.
During his twenty-year tenure with Common Cause Rhode Island, many of which he served as President of the Governing Board, our citizen lobby pioneered the decade-long fight for Separation of Powers, which was won in an epoch 2004 Supreme Court decision. Jim has been at the forefront of our organization’s efforts to enact Judicial Reform and General Assembly openness to citizens’ response for campaign finance reform measures and other key issues of governmental accountability.
Jim retired as the 35th minister successor to Roger Williams as Minister of The First Baptist Church in America, the first church to be established in Rhode Island and the first Baptist congregation to be founded in America in 1638. Jim currently serves as Pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Providence, the first Italian Baptist Church in RI organized in 1893. Jim’s ministry career has centered on racial justice and equality, international peace-making, revitalization of cities, development of affordable housing projects, youth ministries, and college chaplaincy. Today, Jim serves as a board member of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, the Governor’s appointee to the RI Commission on Prejudice & Bias, and a Common Cause Advisory Council member.