Subject: NCC Newsletter – August 26, 2023


August 26, 2023

Bishop McKenzie Addresses Reparations
During White House Protest

Against the backdrop of the White House, Bishop Vashti McKenzie addresses fellow protesters on reparations to the descendants of formerly enslaved Americans and the Biden Administration's failure to address the issue. Photo: Keith Swartzendruber, NCC

NCC President/General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie recently joined other advocates demonstrating at the White House for President Biden to establish a commission to study reparations by executive order.

The group included participation from a broad spectrum of groups, including the NAACP, NETWORK Lobby, and the Institute of the Black World 21st Century. Beneath the scorching hot sun, the group sought to turn up the heat on President Biden who continues to evade the reparations question and avoid stating publicly whether he supports efforts to establish a study commission.


In her remarks, Bishop McKenzie reiterated NCC’s strong support for reparations and its moral necessity.  “It is more than money,” she said.” It is a moral concept that needs to be embraced now.” Bishop McKenzie committed to continue carrying forth this message of justice as she addressed the March on Washington on Saturday, August 26.


Through its efforts convening the Interfaith Reparatory Justice Table and the Journey to Jubilee Campaign — which delivered hundreds of signatures in support of reparations to the White House, the Journey to Jubilee Bible Study Guide, and numerous educational webinars — NCC continues to work to educate and advocate for reparatory justice at all levels and in all places.


Learn more about NCC’s reparative justice work here.

NCC Represented at Faith Leaders Roundtable
on Opioid Overdose Crisis

The National Council of Churches (NCC) was invited this week to a White House Roundtable with Faith Leaders on the Overdose Crisis, hosted by Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Steven Benjamin, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and former mayor of Columbia, S.C. Also providing leadership was Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the Rev. Que English, Ph.D., Director of Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships one the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Representing NCC were Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, President and General Secretary, and Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Chief Operating Officer. Each of the 11 organizations represented was asked to share from a list of five questions, ranging from policies, direct services, challenges, and barriers, to saving lives from opioid overdose and the role of their specific faith community.

In her remarks, Bishop McKenzie highlighted the work of NCC member communions — including the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church — in her presentation about success stories. Several NCC communions provide resources to congregations to address opioid use and overdose with compassion. Others encourage congregations to use their facilities for providing services in underserved rural areas, or partner with local responders and medical communities to offer pastoral care to those impacted by this epidemic, and collaborate with other faith leaders.

She also shared insights from Rev. Dr. Barry Steiner, a United Methodist minister who has developed ministry programs that address the opioid crisis.

Bishop McKenzie cited the NCC’s work in ending mass incarceration and the revival of NCC’s Health and Wellness Taskforce. A 2019 report indicated that opioid use was frequently a factor in arrest and inmate intake. One report noted that 14.5 of persons tested positive for opioid use during the inmate intake process, making such drug use a factor in ending mass incarceration. NCC’s revitalized health initiative is focused on mental health.

Dr. Gupta observed that mental health was a factor in each of the presentations.

“Faith communities have an opportunity to chip away at the stigma of opioid abuse and overdose, which not only impacts the lives of those who are caught in the vise of prescription drug abuse, but also their families who often suffer in silence, along with the broader community,” Bishop McKenzie said. “Church is an excellent place to learn about relationship — your relationship with God, relationships with each other, and techniques to repair relationships. The church can be a connector that helps people reenter into community as we learn to change the question from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Above: Roundtable participants Rev. Que English, Ph.D., Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Dr. Melissa Rogers, and Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune. Below: Bishop McKenzie with Stephen K. Benjamin, Director of the Office of Public Engagement for the Biden Administration; Bottom: Bishop McKenzie with Dr. English and Brooklyn megachurch pastor, Dr. A.R. Bernard Photos: NCC

Join NCC’s President/General Secretary
and COO for “She Speaks” on August 28

Bishop William Barber extends an open invitation to join, “She Speaks,” Virtual Moral Monday Call to Conscience on August 28, at 6:00 p.m. ET. This event aims to unite diverse speakers and partners to discuss pressing issues related to equality, justice, empowerment, and social change.


On the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, 30 women leaders will join with thousands of women across the country for a virtual mass assembly to fight for the same demands that were made 60 years ago, demands that our nation’s leaders have yet to fulfill.


NCC’s Bishop Vashti McKenzie and Rev. Leslie Copeland Tune will be among the presenters sharing their knowledge and experiences to inspire action and create meaningful dialogue that resonates with a wide audience. Participants can access the event here.

Please share information regarding the upcoming webinar on social media with hashtag: #SheSpeaksConscience.

Department of Homeland Security Hosts
Protecting Places of Worship Webinar

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and interagency partners, invites interested participants to a webinar for the faith-based community where you learn about Five Ways to Improve the Safety and Security of Your Place of Worship or Community Spaces | and much more.

This webinar will provide participants with a threat briefing ahead of the period of Fall religious observances and the “Protecting Places of Worship National Weeks of Action” in September. In addition, federal partners will share practical tools and resources to help strengthen the safety and security of places of worship and community spaces.


The webinar will be held on Tuesday, August 29, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET. There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required. Register in advance for this webinar here. After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


For more information on available resources to protect places of worship, please visit:


NCC Congratulations WCC on Celebrating 75 Years

On August 23, 1948, 351 people representing 147 churches across the globe, gathered in Amsterdam, Netherlands to convene the World Council of Churches' first assembly, under the theme “Man’s Disorder and God’s Design.”


That year, various debates highlighted the vocation of the WCC as an entity where Christians of various ecclesial cultures and traditions could dialog, exchange, confront, and participate in theological reflection in relation to social and political problems.


Today, the WCC comprises 352 churches — Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and others — representing more than 580 million Christians in more than 120 countries.


As the National Council of Churches moves toward 75 years of service, its Member Communions, Governing Board, and staff extend congratulations to the WCC on 75 years of ecumenism and activism.

Use this link to register for the August 31 virtual event.

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. 4368).

New York State Council Churches Seeks

Covenant on Asylum Seekers in NY

The New York State Council Churches, Interfaith Center of NY, and many faith leaders, lay activists, and volunteers who are working with asylum seekers have drafted what we hope will become a Covenant on how the faith community, state, county, and local governments on behalf of those seeking asylum in New York.


The Covenant recognizes that the faith community and the government have similar objectives for the well-being of asylum-seekers in the state. The NYSCC and others desire to work as allies, in partnership with the government, to best achieve these objectivesFurther, they will hold themselves accountable for being available to work on these issues and they will hold their elected and appointed officials accountable for doing what is expected of them to do. They want to hasten the day when these newest New Yorkers can become self-sufficient members of their communities.


In particular, the areas which believed to be most critical to realizing that goal are:

  • a thoughtful arrival and welcome process;

  • a more strategic approach to housing;

  • greater support for schools with large immigrant enrollments; an accelerated work authorization system;

  • easier access to legal assistance;

  • increased coordination among levels of government; and full transparency regarding funding and decision making.

Each of these areas is discussed in greater detail in the body of the covenant, and its appendix, specifying what each is responsible for.


Please read the full covenant here and sign on here. You may sign on as an individual or organization. The last day to sign on is Monday, August 28Please share this covenant intentionally with your networks; however, be advised that the covenant is not for publication or media release at this time.

"Friendship Press is proud to announce the NRSVue Bible Journals series! These themed journals will guide you through the riches of scripture and the thoughtful prompts encourage you in your journaling discipline. Compact in size and elegantly printed, these journals are excellent and useful gifts!


Journals for Advent, Lent, and more are releasing in October! Visit the Friendship Press website to learn more and to preorder copies today!"

Employment Opportunities

Catholic Charities USA Hiring Policy Analysis Director

Enhance Catholic Charities USA’s mission and goals through policy analysis, with special emphasis on federal and state regulations.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Follow, track and analyze relevant legislative activity in Congress with special attention to regulatory actions by Federal and State Public Agencies relevant to the Catholic Charities ministries.

  • Fact checking development, communications, and research materials for legislative and regulatory accuracy.

  • Coordinate and work with Government Relations team in submitting regulatory comments.

  • Helping Catholic Charities agencies understand and develop policy initiatives and regulatory responses on a wide variety of issues.

  • Work with Government Relations team to develop legislative, regulatory, and advocacy strategies.

  • Foster communication, cooperative planning, and integration among the divisions and departments of CCUSA and the member organizations regarding regulatory policy and advocacy.

For more information, click here.

• • • • • • •

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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