The Family

The Fellowship, also known as The Family, is a U.S.-based religious and political organization founded in 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Methodist clergyman and founder of Goodwill Industries. Its stated purpose is to provide a forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship experiences, and to experience spiritual affirmation and support. It has been described as one of the most politically well-connected ministries in the US. The organization shuns publicity and its members share a vow of secrecy. Fellowship leader Doug Coe and others cites biblical admonitions against public displays of good works, insisting they would not be able to tackle diplomatically sensitive missions if they drew public attention.

Although the organization is secretive, it holds one regular public event each year, the ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ held in Washington, D.C. Every sitting president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, up to Barack Obama, has participated in at least one National Prayer Breakfast during his term. The Fellowship’s known participants include ranking United States government officials, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, and ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world. Many United States Senators and Congressmen who have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so work together to pass or influence legislation.

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