Washington, D.C. - September 16, 2022

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Press Release: In Memoriam - Gerry Lee

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) received the news that Gerry Lee, former director of The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and former CMEP board member, had passed away on July 24, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Patti McKenna, and their daughters, Amanda, Abigail, and Jessica. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) grieves the news of the passing of Gerry Lee and stands alongside our member organization friends at Maryknoll as they respond to the loss of their friend. In this statement by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, we read that “whether organizing his neighbors to protect human rights in the slums of Venezuela or advocating for investments in peace, nonviolence, and care of the Earth with policymakers in Washington and at the United Nations, Gerry’s life exemplified the highest ideals of the Christian faith.”

Gerry Lee was a long-time Maryknoll lay missioner who became a national leader in social-justice advocacy through his work with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. Gerry, his wife, Patti McKenna, and their daughters, Amanda, Abigail, and Jessica, served as a Maryknoll lay missioner family in Venezuela from 1984 until 1994. He worked in community organizing, youth development, and human rights advocacy. Upon their return to the United States, Gerry served Maryknoll in development and as a co-director on their leadership team from 2000 until 2006. His time in development and the leadership of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Ossining was a time of great changes as the organization transitioned to become a separate entity of its own. Gerry worked as director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns from 2013 until 2019.

Responses from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Leadership In Memoriam of Gerry Lee

“I am grateful for Gerry's years of faithful service on our CMEP Board. From the moment I met him, he was kind, thoughtful, and engaged. He helped bring restoration and productivity to CMEP’s historical relationship with Maryknoll Communities. He leaves behind a legacy of being steadfast in his commitments toward justice and peace.” - Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) 


“Gerry taught us how to keep joy and compassion at the center of our work of peace and justice. With his warm smile, listening ear, and steadfast presence on the margins through the years, he showed us what it means to be in solidarity with people suffering in unjust social structures. Gerry was always willing to go to hard places, whether it be the slums of Venezuela, the crowded homes of Gaza, or the cold classrooms of northern China, to listen and learn, and to offer friendship and love. Formed by his years as a Maryknoll lay missioner, Gerry believed we all are connected as brothers and sisters on this fragile planet; and that the work for peace and justice, especially in the Holy Land, no matter how slow or difficult, was the most valuable contribution a Christian can make. We are all better for Gerry’s life and example.” - Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, CMEP Board Chair


CELEBRATION OF LIFE to honor Gerry Lee will be held on October 8th, 2022, at 2 pm at the Washington Retreat House, 4000 Harewood Rd NE, Washington, DC. All are welcome. We will share some memories, laugh, cry, and remember an extraordinary person who is greatly missed. If you would like to join, please RSVP and see more details by clicking on this link:

The family asks, in lieu of flowers, to please consider:

  • Doing a random act of kindness, something Gerry loved doing often
  • A donation to his work passion, the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns – by following this link and add “in memory of Gerry Lee for MOGC” under the Make this a Tribute section.
  • Share your favorite Gerry story, memory, or photo on his FB page or by mail to 714 S 19th Ave, Yakima, WA 98902.


Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of more than 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.


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Washington, District of Columbia 20002
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