Speaker and Workshop Biographies

jim-winkler_origRev. Jim Winkler:  Preaching at the opening worship service on October 15 and speaking on October 16

The Reverend Jim Winkler serves as president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, the largest and oldest ecumenical organization in our nation. The NCC is comprised of 38 member communions–Orthodox, African American, mainline Protestant, Anglican, historic peace churches, and others–comprised of some 30 million members in more than 100,000 local congregations. The NCC owns and administers the copyright to the RSV and NRSV, oversees the production of Sunday School material, carries out Faith & Order conversations, Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian dialogues, and addresses a wide variety of justice concerns including racism, poverty, mass incarceration, and peacemaking through interreligious relationships. Jim is married and has three children.

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Rabbi Victor Urecki:  Speaking on Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) on October 16.

Victor Urecki has served as rabbi and spiritual leader of B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, West Virginia since 1986.  He is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America, as well as the Chicago Board of Rabbis.  He serves on National Council of AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and has served on the board of directors at the University of Charleston. He was the 2011 recipient of the “Living the Dream Award” and the 2014 “West Virginia Civil Rights Day Award” for his work on interfaith relations.

Rabbi Urecki is a contributing editor to the Charleston Gazette, writing frequently about religious tolerance and mutual respect.  He co-founded the Root and the Branch, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for faith traditions in the Kanawha Valley to come together, dialogue, and learn from one other. He is a frequent panelist and lecturer throughout the area, explaining Judaism and expanding understanding and tolerance.

He is married to Marilyn Urecki, another graduate of Yeshiva University with a Masters in Jewish education and a English teaching degree.  She has served as High school English teacher for over a decade at Charleston Catholic High school and runs the B’nai Jacob Sunday and Hebrew school. They have three children and proud that two have returned to work in our state and one works for our state in DC.