Subject: NCC Weekly News

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Christians often give something up for Lent. Why not white supremacy?

LaTonya McIver Penny wasn’t satisfied with surrendering chocolate or coffee or Facebook for Lent.

Instead, the African-American pastor of a Baptist church in North Carolina decided to give up white supremacy this year.

No, Penny isn’t a white supremacist. But she wants to be more vigilant about the subtle and numerous ways racism permeates the culture and even her own life — and then work to uproot them moving forward.

Inspiring and guiding Penny’s effort is Resipiscence: A Lenten Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy.

The project consists of a spiral-bound book, also available digitally, that serves as a daily reader and as the framework for worship during the Sundays of Lent. It includes a podcast series featuring conversations with the nearly 50 contributing devotional writers.

Penny said her church is incorporating the Lectionary based devotions into its Wednesday night services.

For the first time, a woman and non-Christian will lead this group that thinks government is too involved in religion

One of the country’s most prominent advocacy groups pushing to protect the boundaries between religion and government is getting its first new leader in a quarter-century.

Rachel Laser, a lawyer and longtime advocate on issues related to reproductive freedom, LGBT equality and racism, is the new executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She is the first woman and, as a Jew, the first non-Christian to lead the 71-year-old group.

Laser, 48, takes over the organization at a time when Americans are especially bitter and fragmented about religion’s role in public life. Religion is colliding in new ways with other issues and rights. Examples include President Trump’s entry ban on people from multiple Muslim-majority countries, as well as a pending Supreme Court case over whether American businesses can legally refuse to serve same-sex couples on religious grounds.
#EAD2018 Pre-Gathering Theology Event
Sponsored by the National Council of Churches

The #EAD2018 National Gathering from April 20-23, 2018 in our nation's capital will focus on the theme of A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People.

For participants arriving early, there will be an opportunity to attend a special pre-gathering event. Sponsored by the National Council of the Churches of Christ and entitled,"Our Call to Speak Up for Displaced People," the event on Friday afternoon, April 20 will include theologians presenting on this year's #EAD2018 theme.

As millions of people cross borders fleeing violence and seeking better lives, and Christians gather at the 2018 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, it is important to consider the foundations for Christian advocacy on behalf of migrants and refugees. This workshop will explore theological and biblical resources for analyzing the global forces - war, climate change, famine and more - which uproot people from their homelands, and how we can sustain and deepen our solidarity with the uprooted.

Speakers for this event and more specifics will be posted soon.

World Council of Churches Condemns Siege in Damascus

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is deeply appalled by and condemns the dramatic escalation of military actions against civilians in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, Syria, which has led to more than 550 innocent civilians being killed, including more than 130 children as well as women and elderly people, not to mention the thousands of injured, and those who are still buried under the rubble.

The WCC is saddened and shocked to note that this is still happening despite the Security Council resolution 2401 adopted unanimously on 24 February 2018, imposing an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The continuation of the Syrian army military offensive targeting civilians and preventing access of humanitarian aid to a civilian population, who has been under siege for the last five years, is morally and ethically unacceptable and condemnable by all norms and virtues, as well as by international law and international humanitarian law.

The WCC has always condemned the targeting of civilians by all parties to the conflict, and therefore we are urgently calling the UNSC, and particularly those countries that have direct influence on the ground to immediately put an end to the tragedy that has been going on for so long in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, and recently in Efrin, as well as in other besieged regions.
ELCA Conference of Bishops issues statement of support for the "March for Our Lives" on March 24th


Our children and youth are like a young Jeremiah prophesying to the people: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)

  Recently, the students, faculty and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida experienced tragedy. Seventeen people - students and teachers - were killed by a 19-year-old shooter. In response, students have invited their teachers, families and allies around the nation to join with them for a March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC; calling our country into a deeper conversation about school safety and second amendment rights and responsibilities.

We recognize this incident is the latest in a long list of tragic shootings in our country and young people have been calling for protest and change for many years. Some of those young voices have been ignored or silenced because of racial and economic injustice. We cannot let that reality keep us from acting now.

Support the FREEDOM FAST by calling Wendy's Board Chair to demand an end to sexual violence!

Monday, March 12 will be Day 2 of this year's major action: farmworkers' historic Freedom Fast, the largest and most significant mobilization in the Wendy's Boycott to date.

Support the farmworker and ally fasters, who will be converged outside of the Manhattan offices of Wendy's Board Chair and major shareholder, Nelson Peltz, by calling Mr. Peltz's offices and amplifying farmworkers' message: Wendy's must take responsibility to end sexual violence in Wendy's supply chain by joining the Fair Food Program immediately.

Then, if you're in New York, join us for the culminating Time's Up Wendy's March on Thursday, March 15 at 5:00pm!

A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People


We live in a time of upheaval and uprootedness – a world in which each year millions of people cross borders in search of more secure and sustainable lives, while white supremacist ideologies continue to impede the fight for justice and peace for all of God’s people. As we witness historically high levels of migration, we also find that racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination are also on the rise in our communities and used for political gain. At the root of this global upheaval and migration are the push factors of violent conflict, climate change, and corruption which often intersect with one another. At a time when there is such need around the world, we grieve that the U.S. has greatly reduced its refugee admittance numbers while smaller, poorer countries are stepping up to welcome and provide refuge for those in need. As people of faith, we know we can do more. We believe God is with Dreamers, the migrant and the outcast and calls us to create places of sanctuary; to offer hospitality to the stranger, to welcome all – regardless of faith, race, gender or nationality – and to break down the dividing walls that separate us.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2018 will focus on the uprootedness of our world. We will analyze current policy and envision ways to more fully and justly respond to the global and local needs of displaced communities. Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, and networking, we will seek policy changes that advance hope and overcome the devastating impacts of conflict, climate change and corruption on God’s people.

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, 
the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions 
and more than 40 million Christians in a common expression of God’s love and promise of unity. 
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