Subject: NCC Newsletter: CUG, Interfaith Efforts, and the Pandemic's Racial Disparity

View this email online if it doesn't display correctly
CUG, Interfaith Efforts, and the Pandemic's Racial Disparity
NCC Newsletter
September 17, 2021
Register today!
NCC's annual Christian Unity Gathering (CUG) will be held virtually on October 11 - 12, 2021 with the theme, "In New Wineskins: From Pandemics to Possibilities to Promises," based on the scripture in Luke 5:37-39. The event is free.

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, "The old is good."

This year’s CUG will explore how church life has changed and what our hope is for the church as the global community struggles to emerge from its pandemics and economic crises while at the same time continuing to grapple with the racial reckoning that is happening in our nation and the world. Can we discard the old wineskins? What will it take to go beyond conversations on racism to fully incorporating equity and racial justice in our churches? Where are new models of racial reckoning/reconciliation?

Together, we will explore how to move people forward as we negotiate those who are lamenting the old and those embracing the new as well as the spaces where both are happening at the same time. Will you join us to go beyond how we “always do it” and get to a place of possibilities? We invite you to join us virtually to explore what churches must do to honor old wineskins while embracing new ones and God’s promises for a new path forward.

For 2021, we will be using an online event service called Whova. After you register, you will need to set up an account on Whova. You can do so on the website using your laptop or computer, or you can download the app for your phone or tablet. 

One of the keynote speakers will be Dr. Christine J. Hong, Associate Professor of Educational Ministry; Director of DEdMin Program, Columbia Theological Seminary. Watch her video, Bearing Witness, Telling the Truth.
NCC Interfaith Efforts in the News
NCC Associate General Secretary, Tony Kireopoulos, explains in this Associated Press article entitled, US faith leaders recall Sikh’s bias killing post Sept. 11, that “Sept. 11 opened a spigot for hate and bigotry in the United States, but it also opened a space for groups to come together and know each other better." 

The article highlights the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, a national coalition formed to counter anti-Muslim sentiment in 2010 of which NCC is represented on the Executive Committee along with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church.
NCC continues our interfaith dialogues with the Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish communities as we work to create understanding and help people from different faiths form true friendships.

COVID-19 Pandemic Response:
Our Work Is Not Done
This week, The Washington Post reported a new horrific milestone - 1 out of every 500 in the US has died of COVID-19 and the racial disparities evident since the beginning of the pandemic are growing. According to the article the working-age group (18 to 39 years old) has even greater racial differences "with covid killing Blacks and Hispanics more than three times as often as Whites, and Native Americans almost nine times as much" in this young age group.

We know that because of physician shortages in communities of color, many who live in these areas may not have primary care physicians. There are also language barriers and immigration fears that may keep people away from health care. The article points out that the "pandemic has brought into stark relief centuries of entwining social, environmental, economic and political factors that erode the health and shorten the lives of people of color, putting them at higher risk of the chronic conditions that leave immune systems vulnerable to the coronavirus."

Churches need to continue efforts to overcome these factors and reach out to educate against hesitancy in their local communities by hosting clinics, canvassing neighborhoods, and sharing reliable information.

From our Partners:
Reverend Elijah Zehyoue to Become Co-Director of the Alliance of Baptists
The Alliance of Baptists announced that, following the retirement of Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Rev. Elijah Zehyoue will be its next co-director starting on October 15, 2021. 

In a press release  Rev. Zehyoue was described as bringing "experience as a pastor, preacher, scholar, and teacher. He is in the dissertation writing phase of a Ph.D. in African History at Howard University where he studies the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the Origins of the Liberian Civil War. Himself an immigrant from Liberia, Elijah’s family came to the U.S. to escape that country’s civil war." The release also notes that he is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A.) and the University of Chicago (M.Div.) and has served as associate pastor at Alliance congregational partner Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. since 2014. 

In the release Rev. Zehyoue is quoted as saying, "The Alliance has been fully engaged in implementing its commitment to become an antiracist organization. Elijah gave voice to his own commitment toward that goal, saying, 'I preach based off of the belief that through particular modes of analysis, especially applied to our spiritual lives, we can truly make our world a better place. I believe this will benefit the Alliance of Baptists because I can collaborate with and empower our many talented preachers and ministers to continue the good work they are doing preaching a liberating message. I can offer more resources to them out of my own tradition, knowledge, and connections so that they feel equipped to go even further in their antiracist ministries and commitments.'"
Communication for Social Justice in a Digital Age
The World Council of Churches (WCC) held an international symposium to explore the challenges and opportunities for a more just digital future on September 13-15, 2021 entitled, Communication for Social Justice in a Digital AgeThe event brought together research, experiences from different regions and marginalized communities, expert input on economic and political trends, and ethical and theological reflection. 

The aim of the symposium was "to explore the challenges of digital communication with a social justice lens, and to identify opportunities for concerted and collaborative actions with faith communities and among faith, civil society, academic, media and technological organizations." 

The finding will be a contribution to the WCC 11th Assembly in September 2022. All the sessions are available on YouTube.
Job Listings

Policy Advocate for the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to promote its social justice issues at the national level primarily focusing on issues that impact women, children, and families such as poverty, immigration, human trafficking, and concerns identified by Good Shepherd agencies serving people in need and on the margin of society. See the full job description.

Jim Winkler's column is on hiatus this week. 

If you find our newsletter informative, please forward it to friends and colleagues! 

To receive the newsletter, sign up here.

Your gifts helps us build a more just and equitable community that chooses grace over greed, love over hate, and faith over fear.

110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.