Subject: NCC Newsletter – August 19, 2023


August 19, 2023

The National Council of Churches, in solidarity with other faith-based and service organizations, including Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network; Arndrea Waters King, President, Drum Major Institute; and Martin Luther King, III, Chairman, Drum Major Institute, enlist your participation in the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington on August 26, in Washington, DC to mobilize the faith community across America, for "March on Washington Not a Commemoration, a Continuation!"

Please use the link to register for the march and to confirm your participation and that of your congregation, peers, and colleagues. The link has information you can use to share with your contacts. 

Support NCC’s Advocacy Thursdays: Tell Congress to Protect Critical Nutrition Program for Women and Young Children

Congress Must Vote NO on House Agriculture Appropriations Bill H.R. 4368. 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy postponed a critical vote on H.R. 4368, the FY 2024 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, until after the August recess.

Congress could consider the legislation as early as after Labor Day, a few weeks before funding for current government programs expires on Sept. 30.

The House appropriations bill makes draconian cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides healthy foods to pregnant women, breastfeeding, and post-partum women and children under age 5.

If passed, H.R. 4368 would inflict harm and dramatically change the lives of millions of people. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would cut food assistance or take it away altogether from nearly 5.3 million women and children.

TAKE ACTION! We must not sit idly by while efforts are underway to take food out of the mouths of millions of women and young children and deny critical food and nutrition assistance to those who need the help most. 

We ask you to first, click here to email your congressperson. Then, call your member of Congress in their district office (click here to find the phone number) and tell them to Vote NO on the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4386).

Communions Initiate Multiple Maui Relief Efforts

The historic Lahaina United Methodist Church was among many structures destroyed by fire in Maui. (Photo: California-Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church)

Raging wildfires on the island of Maui have destroyed numerous towns and killed at least 111 people. The flames were propelled by Hurricane (now Typhoon) Dora, which passed close to the island. Even though the hurricane remained 500 miles away, its winds combined with the mountainous topography, invasive grasses, and dry conditions proved to be a tinder box.


In addition to the loss of life and housing, area churches also were hard hit. The historic Waiola Church in Lahaina, a UCC congregation, was destroyed. Holy Innocents Episcopal Church likewise burned due to the wildfires. Lahaina United Methodist Church was also destroyed by the fires. In addition to church buildings, members of these and many other congregations have also lost their homes.


Out of the ashes, however, a strong relief effort has grown. Many churches are utilizing existing community ministry programs to reach out to those who have been affected by the fires. Many of NCC’s member communions are responding to support these communities and provide for their immediate relief, both physical and spiritual, as they begin to access how to recover from such devastation.


The Hawaiian Conference of the UCC is hosting a Prayer Service for Maui on Sunday, August 20 on their YouTube channel.


To financially support the relief efforts, click on the organizations below to follow their links:


Episcopal Leaders in Hawaii Prepare to Assist
Communities Devastated by Maui Wildfires

In an aerial view, burned cars and homes are seen in a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wildfire on August 18, in Lahaina. Crews continue to search for missing people. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Episcopal leaders in Hawaii are assessing the immediate needs of people who have been impacted by wildfires on the island of Maui, which have killed at least 111 people and destroyed at least 1,000 buildings, including a historic Episcopal church.


The wildfires, which are mostly contained now, prompted the evacuation of more than 11,000 people, including tourists. The worst of the damage was experienced by Maui’s western community of Lahaina, population 12,700, where Holy Innocents Episcopal Church had stood since 1927.


One of the diocese’s immediate priorities is to get in touch with all members of Holy Innocents and make sure everyone is safe and has access to shelter and other immediate needs. Once everyone is accounted for, the diocese will assess the best ways to approach the cleanup process.


"Hawaiians know how to prepare for hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, but “even the kupuna — elders — have never experienced anything like [the wildfires],” Hawaii Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick said in a phone interview. “Everyone’s in shock right now, including me.”


NCC Joins Feeding America’s Faith Advisory Group

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is pleased to join Feeding America’s Faith Advisory Group to advocate for the 2023 Farm Bill. Food security is essential for seniors, disabled neighbors, and working families to thrive!

Join Feeding America's Faith Advisory Group in calling on Congress to pass a strong Farm Bill that will help fight hunger across the country.

Follow Feeding America on Facebook (@FeedingAmerica), Instagram (@FeedingAmerica), and Twitter/X (@FeedingAmerica) and Feeding America Action (@hunger) and GET INVOLVED!

Communions Sponsor Webinar on Afghan Allies, Refugees, and Their Families Two Years After US Withdrawal

Two years after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, much remains to be done to provide permanent safety and security for our Afghan allies, refugees, and their families both in the United States and abroad.


Join the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for “Two Years Later: Fulfilling Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies and Neighbors,” a webinar presentation on August 23 at 6p ET to learn about the status of Afghan resettlement, the situation of those who were left behind, updates on the Afghan Adjustment Act, and how people of faith can continue to support Afghans and advocate for policy to help them.  Register today!

Tennessee Faith Leaders Launch March on Tennessee

August 21

Faith Leaders call for the March on Tennessee on August 21, for Gun Reform during the Special Session of the Tennessee Legislature. 

Governor Bill Lee has committed to convene the Tennessee Legislature in a Special Session to deal with the proliferation of gun valence in Tennessee in light of the Covenant School shooting. Demonstrations were held daily at the State Capitol to encourage the legislature to act.

Faith leaders and community partners in Tennessee are inviting persons of faith and goodwill to Nashville to bear moral witness and hold the Tennessee State Legislature accountable. It is time to protect kids, not guns!

Please register to attend at

WCC Condemns Attacks Against Churches in Pakistan

Photo: Ecumenical Commission for Human Development, Pakistan

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay expressed shock at receiving reports of violent attacks against churches and Christians in the Punjab province of Pakistan.


“The reports received indicate that six churches have been burnt in a Christian colony of Punjab province after two Christians were accused of blasphemy,” said Pillay. “A Presbyterian church, a Catholic Church, a Full Gospel Assembly Church, and a Salvation Army center have reportedly been burnt, and Christian clergy threatened and harassed.” 


These reports, Pillay added, illustrate yet again the extremist threats faced by members of the Christian community in Pakistan. “The WCC calls on the Pakistani authorities to act urgently and consistently to prevent further such violent attacks and violations of the human rights of Christians in Punjab province or elsewhere in Pakistan,” Pillay said. “The WCC has long expressed grave concerns regarding the impact of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws on Christians and members of other religious communities, as these latest reports once again indicate.”


All Pakistanis are entitled to respect and recognition of their equal rights as citizens of the country regardless of their religious affiliation, urged Pillay. “We invite all WCC member churches and ecumenical and inter-religious partners around the world to join in raising their voices against this violence and oppression, and in prayer for equal human rights, justice, and peace in Pakistan.”


Church Leaders in Pakistan Call for
International Solidarity to Bring Justice

Reported 24 churches have been burnt in the city of Jaranwala, eastern Pakistan. Photo: Courtesy WCC

Church leaders in Pakistan are calling for international solidarity and for measures to ensure the safety and security of Christians in Pakistan. Their messages come in the wake of church burnings in the city of Jaranwala, in eastern Pakistan, where 24 churches have been burned, affecting at least 600 families.


Bishop Azad Marshal, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, commented in social media, “Words fail me as I write this. We, Bishops, Priests, and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed having been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran.”


He added, “We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice and the safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our homeland that has just celebrated independence and freedom.”


Rev. Romella Robinson, a World Council of Churches central committee member from the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, wrote with a heavy heart and deep concern, “The actions of the ‘Muslim extremist mob’ are a stark reminder that while Pakistan achieved visible independence, the essence of humanity and compassion is still struggling to find its place in the hearts of some.We, as Christians, firmly believe in sharing God's love unconditionally.” 


Victor Azariah, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan, also expressed horror at the burning of churches and homes. “We Christians are helpless in Pakistan…can’t expect anything from the law-and-order authorities,” wrote Azariah. “We simply request the international community to pray for the victims and help those people who have suffered due to this brutality.”


Full story available here.

Celebratory Event to Discuss Black
Contributions to WCC’s History

In January 1979, the WCC Central Committee met in Kingston, Jamaica. Major items discussed involved the Council’s involvement on issues such as militarism and disarmament, the struggle against racism, and the issue of hope and unity. This picture shows (left) Bishop Desmond Tutu, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, in conversation with Dr Philip Potter, WCC General Secretary. Photo: WCC

WCC will host a public online celebration and panel discussion on August 31, “They Too Were Gathered: Paying homage to Black people’s contributions to 75 years of World Council of Churches (WCC),” which will uncover the contributions of Black people from different parts of the world in the formation and growth of the WCC.

The day also coincides with the United Nations International Day for People of African Descent, which the WCC has faithfully marked in the past, including its special mention in the opening ceremony of the WCC 11th Assembly.


Baylor Professor Shares Her Role in Updating NRSV

Currents in Religion podcast series recently released an episode featuring a conversation with Baylor professor Dr. Deirdre Fulton, who discusses her role in updating the NRSV Bible translation. Dr. Fulton specializes in the history, literature, and archaeology of the late Iron II through Hellenistic periods. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, or Amazon Music and other podcast outlets.

Creation Justice Ministries Celebrates 40 Years

Creation Justice Ministries (CJM) is planning a Service of Celebration commemorating their 40th anniversary on October 26, in Washington, DC at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1518 M ST. NW, Washington, DC 20005. The keynote preacher is Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

The service will also be live-streamed. A link will be sent to registrants closer to the date. While there is no charge to attend, interested persons are asked to register in advance.


Learn more about the Service of Celebration and register to attend on CJM’s website.


Sponsorship opportunities are also available. More information, including the benefits of sponsorship, can be found on the CJM website.

Employment Opportunities

Engagement and Advocacy Associate – Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Alliance, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that champions an inclusive vision of religious freedom, seeks an Engagement and Advocacy Associate to join their Washington, D.C. office and to work with affiliates around the country. The Engagement and Advocacy Associate will support Interfaith Alliance’s field outreach, advocacy and policy, and leadership development initiatives.


This is a full-time position with benefits, including health and dental insurance, generous holidays, and paid leave. To apply: Please send resume and cover letter to For more information, click here.

• • • • • • •

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Interfaith Alliance seeks a Policy and Advocacy Associate to join their Washington, D.C. office. The Policy and Advocacy Associate will support Interfaith Alliance’s federal and state policy initiatives to advance our policy priorities which include: Advancing True Religious Freedom, Strengthening Democracy, LGBTQ+ Equality, Fighting Hate and Discrimination, Protecting Public Education, and Reproductive Justice.


This is a full-time position with benefits, including health and dental insurance, generous holidays, and paid leave. To apply: Please send resume and cover letter to For more information, click here.

 • • • • • • •

Part-time Community Organizer

Hindus for Human Rights is seeking a part-time Community Organizer who will provide a progressive Hindu presence and mobilize grassroots advocacy and campaign in the New York City area. This position is an opportunity for someone to engage New York’s Hindu American community in support of progressive causes relevant to the Hindu and South Asian American community. 

Working closely with coalition partner organizations and allies, the organizer will travel across the city to combat Hindu nationalism, Islamophobia, and caste discrimination in state and city governments as well as civil society and local communities. CO will lead rapid-response campaigns in the city, cultivate local chapters in New York and New Jersey, and serve as a progressive Hindu representative in civil society and government spaces.


Job description can be found here.


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