Subject: NCC Newsletter: Christian Unity Gathering and NRSVUE Next Week

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Christian Unity Gathering and NRSVUE Next Week

NCC Newsletter
October 8, 2021
The NRSV Updated Edition 
The NCC Governing Board will meet next week and will consider approval of an updated edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible. The NCC owns and administers the copyright of both the RSV and NRSV, two highly respected Bible translations. The NRSV was produced in 1989 and an update is needed. Both the RSV and NRSV stand in the King James tradition.

I have found it exciting to be associated with this mammoth project. The NCC has undertaken this year’s long effort in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature, the world’s foremost organization of bible scholars. Dozens of professors and experts have been involved and a multilayer process has been devised to examine each suggested change.

The Revised Standard Version dates back to the mid-20th century and generated some controversy because scholars determined it was more accurate in Isaiah 7 to state the Messiah would be born of a young maiden rather than a young virgin. There were those who contended this denied the virgin birth of Christ.

Meanwhile, the NRSV in the late 1980s began to incorporate more inclusive language as appropriate into the Bible. This led to accusations of political correctness. However, the National Council of Churches has, in my view, taken the approach that the scholars should study the texts, incorporate new findings and learnings, and make the judgments. If there is controversy, so be it, but accuracy is essential. Always, the watchword is to create a Bible “…as literal as possible, as free as necessary.”

Readers will see changes such as from a ‘leprous skin disease’ to a ‘defiling skin disease’. Another example: for the sake of inclusivity, the NRSV often translates the plural form of Greek adelphos as ‘brothers and sisters.’ The NRSV updated edition has extended this practice and employed the inclusive phrase in other instances where both genders are envisioned. Another example is that ‘fornication’ is generally changed to ‘sexual immorality.’

Other changes will be part of the NRSV Updated Edition. I believe this will be a major step forward in the NCC’s long and rich history of care for the Bible.   

Grace and peace,

Last Newsletter before CUG! 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 to attend.

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 examine how to move 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.


All times in Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

Monday, October 11

10:00 am – 12pm - Issue Meetups (Each session is 30 mins.)
  • Reparation -- Rev. Mark Thompson, Host of the SiriusXM show "Make it Plain"
  • Voting Rights -- Sister Quincy Howard, NETWORK Lobby and Faithful Democracy
  • Student Loan Forgiveness for Clergy -- Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Minister for Economic Justice, United Church of Christ, National Ministries
  • Child Tax Credit -- Amelia Kegan, Legislative Director for Domestic Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Opening Session/Panel Bible Study with Theologians
  • Rev. Dr. Cynthia Rigby, W. C. Brown Professor of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm - Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm with Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Affiliate Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington. Dr. DiAngelo's presentation will not be recorded. This is a live event.

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Faith Summit – Racial Reckoning in America: A Christian Response
A panel with questions from the audience. Have denominational and other faith leaders discuss what they have been doing to negotiate the racial reckoning in the country. Where are new models of racial reckoning/reconciliation?
  • Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Presiding Bishop, 5th Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - Moderator
  • Dr. Richard Hughes, Scholar in Residence, Lipscomb University, author of Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning - Opening Speaker
  • Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Karen Gonzalez, Speaker, Writer, and Immigrant Advocate
  • Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman, Conference of National Black Churches
  • Minister Candace Simpson, Associate Minister, Concord Baptist Church of Christ
  • Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderator, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Dr. Jonathan Tran, Associate Professor of Theology and George W. Baines Chair of Religion, Baylor University

Tuesday, October 12

10:30 am - 11:15 am - Morning Devotion/Opening Prayer and Self Care Session

Rev. Dr. Souci Grimsley, Founder and President, Tuburan Integrative Wellness Ministries - Speaker
Cole Arthur Riley, founder and writer of Black Liturgies, writer, liturgist, speaker - Closing Prayer

11:30 am - 12:30 pm - Keynote Address by Dr. Christine Hong and Q&A
Dr. Christine Hong, Associate Professor of Educational Ministry, Columbia Theological Seminary

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Presentation of Outstanding Leadership Awards 

J. Irwin Miller Award for Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership - Dr. Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies and Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society , Harvard University

President’s Award for Excellence in Faithful Leadership - Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, CEO and co-founder, Skinner Leadership Institute

Gwynne Guibord Award for Excellence in Interreligious Leadership - Sister Simone Campbell

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm - Panel on Christian Nationalism
  • Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor, Iliff School of Theology and author of “Decolonizing Christianity”
  • Dr. Philip Gorski, Chair, Sociology, Yale University
  • Rev. Dr. Obery Hendricks, Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University and author of “Christians Against Christianity”
  • Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, Program Director for Racial Justice, Minnesota Council of Churches
  • Dr. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University
  • Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith, Founder and Director, Crazy Faith Ministries
  • Amanda Tyler, Esq., Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm - International Briefing on the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, Senior Associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church Engagement, Bread for the World - Moderator
  • Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Rev. James Bhagwan, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches
  • Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico, President and Executive Secretary, Cuban Council of Churches
  • Dr. Pauline Muchina, Chair, Advocacy Network for Africa, COVID-19 Working Group and Public, Education, Advocacy Coordinator for American Friends Service Committee

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Closing Worship

For 2021, we will be using an online event service called Whova. After you register, you can sign in on the website using your laptop or computer, or you can download the app for your phone or tablet. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Response:
Understanding Booster Vaccines
Churches can help the community understand who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster which can be administered six (6) months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Recipients must be:
- 65 years and older
- Long-term care residents and staff
- 18+ who have underlying medical conditions including asthma or diabetes, or
- 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings including healthcare workers, teachers, grocery store workers

Guidance for Moderna and J&J vaccine recipients is forthcoming.
From our Partners:
Bishop Eaton on Religica
In this Religica conversation, Michael Reid Trice, Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle University, talks to Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, about discrimination and individuality in a pandemic age, and how we can learn to be graceful and show empathy.

"Grace is there all the time […] But how are we able to open ourselves to that grace? And, some of that means acknowledging that we are not autonomous," said Bishop Eaton during the podcast.

Religica is a comprehensive online platform at the axis of religion and society that provides non-sectarian, coherent, integrated and accessible awareness about the role of religion in society, with a focus on strengthening local communities.

Presbyterian Historical Society on the Burned Churches Project
The Presbyterian Historical Society published an article, "A Time to Heal: The Burned Churches Project," about the NCC's response during the epidemic of hate-motivated arsons of Black churches in the 1990's. 

NCC created the Burned Churches Project to provide grants to churches to help them rebuild and fought to expose the racism that motivated these attacks.
Church World Services Celebrates 75 Years
Church World Service (CWS), which was once a part of the NCC, will hold a Virtual 75th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 at 7 pm ET. CWS' mission continues to be transforming the lives of underserved communities in more than 65 countries.

The event will feature a special guest keynote interview with Rick Steves, a popular public television host, best-selling guidebook author, and an outspoken activist who encourages Americans to broaden their perspectives through travel.
Job Listing
Programs Assistant for the Islamic Networks Group (ING) - a part-time, non-exempt position, estimated 10-30 hours a week depending on the time of year, to handle and schedule all requests for ING presentations, lectures, panels, and seminars and for distributing ING materials to speakers. ING is a national network of Muslim Americans working with partners of diverse faiths, ethnic groups and cultures to promote religious and cultural literacy and mutual respect while countering prejudice and discrimination through educational programs and engagement opportunities. Full job description

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