Pope, peace-building imam, bishop and evangelical, nun make Time top 100

(Photo: REUTERS / Lucas Jackson)Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda smiles backstage after winning the "Community Crusader" award for her humanitarian work in Africa during the CNN "Heroes" awards in New York December 6, 2007.

It is no surprise that Pope Francis made Time's 100 most influential people list.

"A moral leader in word and deed," says U.S. President Barack Obama who profiled the pontiff in Time magazine, which made Francis its "Person of the year" in 2013.

"His Holiness has moved us with his message of inclusion, especially for the poor, the marginalized and the outcast.

"But it has been his deeds, his bearing, the gestures at once simple and profound - embracing the sick, ministering to the homeless, washing the feet of young prisoners - that have inspired us all," says Obama.

Among other religious leaders who make the Time 100 special issue are a Muslim, a Catholic and an evangelical leader trying to sow peace in the troubled Central African Republic. There is also a nun from Uganda who shelters women and girls shattered by violence, rape and sexual exploitation, an Episcopal preacher and an environmental evangelist.

"As violence ravages Central African Republic, three men are working tirelessly for peace to hold their country together," writes Jim Wallis, the president and founder of Sojourners in his piece.

"Imam Omar Kobine Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Community; Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the Archbishop of Bangui; and Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance of the Central African Republic, are religious leaders who actually do what their faith tells them to do.

Wallis recounts how sharing a meal with the three clerics showed him what can happen "when faith leaders walk their talk."

He notes that their witness has been at considerable personal cost to themselves.

"For example, Imam Layama and his family have lived with the Archbishop since December when it became too dangerous in Bangui to stay in the imam's house.

"Because of their efforts the world is taking notice of the conflict. The imam eloquently stated an important truth: 'Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn't be a cause of hate, war or strife."


Author Barbara Brown Taylor an acclaimed Episcopal preacher and best-selling author, who lives on a farm in northern Georgia, writes "spiritual nonfiction that rivals the poetic power of C.S. Lewis and Frederick Buechner," writes Time correspondent Elizabeth Dias.

"Her latest book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, is her 13th, and in it she urges believers and nonbelievers alike to dive into the deepest shadows of their lives in order to confront their worst fears and to find strength for life's journey. In the process, she adds, their faith may deepen."

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe "gives hope for young women scarred by war" says director, producer and Academy-award winning actor Forest Whitaker.

"In Gulu, Uganda, Sister Rosemary has made it her mission to provide within an orphanage a home, a shelter for women and girls whose lives have been shattered by violence, rape and sexual exploitation."

Sister Rosemary runs the Saint Monica Girls' Tailoring Center providing security and comfort so that the women can "become themselves again" to recover from the ravages of civil war.

"For girls who were forcibly enlisted as child soldiers, Sister Rosemary has the power to rekindle a bright light in eyes long gone blank. For women with unwanted children born out of conflict, she allows them to become loving mothers at last," says Whitaker.

Evangelical environmentalist Katharine Hayhoe is profiled by actor, producer and Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle.

'There's something fascinating about a smart person who defies stereotype. That's what makes my friend Katharine Hayhoe - a Texas Tech climatologist and an evangelical Christian - so interesting," writes Cheadle.

"It's hard to be a good steward of the planet if you don't accept the hard science behind what's harming it, and it can be just as hard to take action to protect our world if you don't love it as the rare gift it is. For many people, that implies a creator."

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