Subject: NCC Newsletter: Black Maternal Health Crisis, Reparatory Justice, and the War in Ukraine

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Black Maternal Health Crisis, Reparatory Justice, and the War in Ukraine
NCC Newsletter
March 11, 2022
Second Visit of North American Women's Pilgrimage
"Silence is violence" said Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary and General Council of The United Church of Canada, during our Women's Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace. These powerful words were echoed by several speakers and highlighted the importance of women’s voices being heard.

The visit on March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day, brought together women from the US, Canada, and Mexico for a second time to explore the theme “Stony the Road: Women’s Voices of Faith, Courage, Resistance & Resilience.” The first visit was held on February 28, 2022.

An article published by the World Council of Churches entitled, Involving everyone, breaking the silence, building resiliency as we work toward gender justice, provides an overview of the well-received event.

Learn About and Support Reparatory Justice
"Reparatory Justice 101 (continued)"
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
2:30 – 3:30 pm ET on Zoom

Learn the difference between, equality, equity, and reparatory justice while also receiving an overview of the faith community’s US and global engagement in the reparatory justice movement. 
Link to share:

Help End the Black Maternal Health Crisis
Watch and share the webinar, "Faith United to End the Black Maternal Health Crisis," to hear from interfaith leaders and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus about the importance of passing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021

Mothers in the US are dying at the highest rate in the developed world and it's getting worse. The crisis is most severe for Black mothers who are dying at 3 to 4 times the rate of their white counterparts. Native American women are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

The NCC joined with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and these co-sponsors to address this important issue: American Muslim Health Professionals, United Church of Christ, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Council of Jewish Women, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Disciples Center for Public Witness, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative, Church World Service, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, The Episcopal Church, Sojourners, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Catholic Health Association, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, Poligon Education Fund. 
Black Lent Daily Devotions
The Good Neighbor Movement, an alternative spiritual community comprised of a network of city villages that seek to live like Jesus, is publishing a daily Lenten guide, RESILIENCE: Reflecting through the season of Lent

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, NCC Chief Operating Officer, contributed the Day 6 devotion on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. The devotion includes scripture from Psalm 17 "Rise up, O Lord!;" a link to the song, "Oh Freedom!;" and a meditation with reflection questions then ends in prayer. 

The meditation begins, "Racism Killed Our Brother, is how the banner read outside of the church in Marion, Ala., for the funeral of Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was shot dead while trying to protect his mother from police brutality following a peaceful protest for voting rights. It was 57 years ago when those marching for freedom in response to Jackson’s death would be beaten within an inch of their lives as they made their way from Selma to Montgomery and tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to take the fight for voting rights to the state capital. They were tear-gassed, beaten with Billy clubs, whips and tubing wrapped with barbed wire. Inhumane. It was Bloody Sunday, 1965. Black folks and their allies fighting for voting rights. Beaten, battered, whipped. 1965."
This Week's Wordle
Here's this week's faith-related Wordle! We've customized the game solutions to be religion-based each Friday. Click on the link to play. Instructions on how to play can be found by clicking the "i" for information. Please share this newsletter with your friends, family, and faith community members who may enjoy completing these special Wordles!
From our Partners:
COVID-19 Pandemic Response: How to Talk to Friends and Family About Vaccines
Although the pandemic is slowing, millions of unvaccinated people are still at very great risk of hospitalization or death.

Made to Save is hosting a training on talking to friends and family about the COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who is interested in getting their friends and family vaccinated can attend and will be an important messenger capable of increasing trust and access to the vaccines. 

The training is next Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 1 PM ET and will be in English. This training will teach talking points about the vaccines and instruct on active listening practices. They will also be sharing information about the COVID-19 vaccine and the state of the Pandemic. 
War in Ukraine
Intercessory Prayer Service for Ukraine at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, together with His Eminence Metropolitan Antony of Hierapolis and His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, gathered for an Intercessory Prayer Service at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr located in New York, NY. NCC's Associate General Secretary for Faith and Order and Interfaith Relations, Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, attended.

During the service, Archbishop Elpidophoros said in part:

"Violence is a sin in perfect contradiction with the vocation for which men and women were created: to carry the supreme legacy of God’s image, while simultaneously growing in His likeness. Therefore, no war can ever be called “holy” nor even “just” in an attempt to rationalize it as morally acceptable. Today’s bloodshed in Ukraine must be set squarely upon the shoulders of Vladimir Putin, who is risking global peace for his own selfish political agenda.

We are witnessing an immense tragedy of human suffering: the targeting of civilians, assassination and terror, and the deaths of innocents, especially children. Yet, we know that Ukrainians and Russians are both children nourished from the same breast. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. How is it possible that such a fratricide is taking place on the Holy Ground of Kyivan Rus’?"

Interfaith Service for Peace in Pittsburgh
Rev. Dr. Tammy Wiens, NCC's Director of Christian Education and Faith Formation, processed with interfaith leaders during a "Prayer Gathering for Peace" in solidarity with the Pittsburgh-area Ukrainian community. The prayer gathering was held at Saint Paul Cathedral on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Dr. Wiens described the service as the largest turnout out of interfaith and ecumenical clergy that she had ever seen coming together for prayer.

Local coverage included the article, At colorful, emotional interfaith worship service in Oakland, hundreds appeal for peace in Ukraine, published by the Post Gazette.

More on the War in Ukraine
WCC acting general secretary to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow: “raise up your voice so that the war can be stopped” 3/2/22

Response by H.H. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca "This tragic conflict has become a part of the large-scale geopolitical strategy aimed, first and foremost, at weakening Russia." 3/10/22

Statement of Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, WCC acting general secretary on Ukraine "The World Council of Churches is appalled by the escalating impact of the conflict in Ukraine on civilians – the women, men and children of Ukraine – and by what appears to be increasingly indiscriminate attacks." 3/11/22

Week of Ecumenical Regional Prayers  
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is offering a week of daily regional prayers on antiracism which will culminate on March 21, 2022, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationThese short daily prayers have been crafted with inputs from regional members of the recently formed WCC Reference Group on Overcoming Violence and WCC staff from the respective regions.

During the next few days of Lent, and in the spirit of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, the WCC invites each region to "journey with one another and in prayerful solidarity" with the region under focus by joining the daily regional prayer and learning more about the existing challenges in each region. As our ecumenical world community prepares for the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, the week of prayer is intended as an invitation to "reflect on, learn about, and re-commit to our mission as ecumenical family on racial justice."

The timeline for the series daily regional prayers is as follows (prayers are available in WCC languages, i.e. English, French, German, Spanish):
Saturday, March 12 - Middle East  (also available in Arabic)
Sunday 13 March - Caribbean
Monday 14 March - Europe
Tuesday 15 March - Asia
Wednesday 16 March - Pacific
Thursday 17 March - Latin America
Friday 18 March - Africa
Saturday 19 March - North America
Sunday 20 March - Global ecumenical prayer

WCC Webinars on the Issue of Racial Justice:

• On March 24, 2022 from 2-3:30 PM CET (Zurich time), a webinar by the WCC Commission on International Affairs (CCIA) titled. “Statelessness, A Product of Racialized Nationality?,” will discuss the nexus between statelessness and racial discrimination.
Zoom registration link:

n March 25, 2022 at 3PM CET (Zurich time) a webinar titled, “Community, Church, State and the economics of enslavement: views from across the Atlantic,” by the WCC Transversal on Overcoming Racism, Racial Discrimination & Xenophobia will mark the UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 
Jesus in America Survey
"Jesus in America" is a national study released in March 2022 by a partnership of The Episcopal Church and Ipsos. The research found "that while the majority of Americans polled believe Jesus was an important spiritual figure and want equality in society, it also showed Christians are not necessarily practicing what Jesus taught, and Americans feel judged when talking about their beliefs."

The study also found that "the global pandemic has negatively impacted participation in organized religion — or religious activity — and more people are finding spiritual fulfillment in nature. In addition, while the church has been a place of community and non-judgment, some Americans feel that churches that discuss racism and slavery are acting with the wrong intentions."

The study was covered by Religion News Service in the article, Episcopal Bishop Curry says ‘more to do’ as poll shows Christians viewed as hypocrites
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