UrbanPromise Will Honor Bishop George E. Councell of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey with The Promise Award

CAMDEN, N.J., October 9, 2013 -- UrbanPromise salutes the Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, on the occasion of his retirement after 10 years of service to the diocese.  As a way of honoring the bishop for his faithful service and his commitment to helping inner city youth, UrbanPromise will recognize Bishop Councell with The Promise Award at its upcoming Annual Banquet on Oct. 24, 2013, at 5:30 p.m., at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, N.J.

“Throughout Bishop Councell’s tenure, the Episcopal Church of New Jersey has been enormously supportive of our work,” said UrbanPromise President Dr. Bruce Main.  “Many churches have stepped forward to help children in Camden and Trenton, and we know this spirit of service is not just a reflection of its parishioners but also of Bishop Councell and the church’s leadership.”

Recently, Bishop Councell and his wife Ruth selected UrbanPromise’s StreetLeader program to be the recipient of financial gifts made in their honor for their service to the diocese.

Begun in 1994, UrbanPromise’s StreetLeader program uses employment as the means to empower and enable urban teens to become leaders in their communities.  By relying on StreetLeaders to help direct its after-school programs and summer camps, UrbanPromise challenges them to grow in positions of leadership.  The organization also supports their growth by providing college prep, tutoring, mentoring, social and life skill development, and spiritual development. 

To date, UrbanPromise has employed more than 1,600 teens in Camden and Trenton, N.J.  One hundred percent of StreetLeaders complete high school and between 86-93% go on to college.

“It is well known that the problems of the cities of New Jersey have long been matters of deep concern, consistent focus, and constant prayer for our Bishop and Ruth,” said Rev. Canon John Sosnowski, Canon to the Ordinary at the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.  “The StreetLeader program will develop young leaders who will be able to effect positive change in their communities by becoming the next generation of model citizens -- mothers, fathers, community organizers, businesspeople, law enforcement, and doctors. “

In addition to this gift, since 1989, some of UrbanPromise’s after-school programs have been housed in Episcopal churches including St. Augustine’s and the Church of Our Savior in Camden.  UrbanPromise interns have also been generously housed at church parsonages, and UrbanPromise is currently partnering with the diocese to renovate St. Wilfrid’s in Camden.

The Diocese of New Jersey will honor Bishop Councell and Mrs. Councell with a Holy Eucharist Celebration on Sunday, Oct. 13, at Trinity Cathedral at 3 p.m. in Trenton, N.J.  The celebration is open to the public.