WASHINGTON - Three United Methodists are winners of advocacy awards to attend the nation's largest annual gathering of U. S. and international Christian peace and justice activists, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 7-10 in Washington, D.C.

John Gaus, of St. Marks United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Ind. is well known inside and outside of the church for his advocacy efforts on behalf of the poor and hungry. He is a retired United Methodist clergyman who led local congregations throughout Indiana for more than 35 years.

Church World Service Indiana and Kentucky regional Director Judy Dunson, who nominated Gaus, said "Twice during recent years, he has revived declining events, helping to assure new leadership and lasting organizational procedures."

In 2004, his CROP Hunger Walk leadership was acknowledged with his election to the Indiana-Kentucky CROP Honor Roll.

He will be joined by United Methodist activists Henry Jones of Fullerton, Calif., and Kathi Moton of Aurora, Colo. They are among just 10 individuals selected by New York-based Church World Service for the honor, which is bestowed upon local poverty and hunger activists who have shown exceptional leadership in the global humanitarian agency's poverty and hunger fighting campaigns.

The scholarship award makes it possible for recipients to attend the conference and a day of related lobbying on Capitol Hill.

"The goal is to provide an opportunity for these U.S. activists to network and engage in collective ecumenical witness with CWS' global partners, activists from member denominations, and other participants from different regions of the world," says Church World Service Director of Education and Advocacy Rajyashri Waghray.

Each year, some 2,000 communities across the U.S. sponsor CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walks to raise awareness and funds for local hunger fighting efforts and to support the overall work of CWS, especially its grassroots, poverty-fighting development programs with partners in some 80 countries.

Church World Service is the humanitarian relief agency supported in part by The United Methodist Church and 34 other Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States.

For more information, log on to www.churchworldservice.org.