Subject: NCC Newsletter: Churches Continue Work of Dismantling Racism in Their Midst

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Churches Continue Work of Dismantling Racism in Their Midst

NCC Newsletter
September 4, 2020
Time to Recognize Privilege and Move Past Protests to Systemic Change
First and foremost, let me say I benefit from white privilege and white supremacy. I’ve mentioned before in this space that I am grateful to have been raised in an anti-racist family, to have worked my entire adult life in anti-racist environments, in diverse staff settings, and with institutions committed to fighting racism.

Even though I was aware my father, a pastor, was involved in civil rights activities when I was a boy, the realization of my privilege did not begin to permeate my consciousness until I was in my teens. There was no defining aha moment that I, as a white Protestant male, enjoyed unearned assets. I don’t think many children and youth analyze systems; in fact, most adults I know don’t have such an analysis either. For me, it was my Christian faith and my own personal study, reading, observing, thinking, and questioning of what was happening in the world that led me to commit to a life of seeking justice and peace.

I don’t particularly recall much use of the term ‘white privilege’ when I was younger, but when I learned it I felt immediately it was accurate. The phrase ‘white supremacy’ was closely associated with hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and for many years it really remained used in that manner. Only more recently has its usage become more widespread as applying to the racist system that marks our society.

I am in a minority only perhaps in the sense that my attitudes and beliefs are out of synch with those of a majority of my fellow white Christians and I find my status to be distressing. The blindness of white Christians to the reality of systemic racism is sinful. The desire to cling to white privilege is selfish. The willingness to blame people of color for their plight is shameful. The resistance of white Christians to change is self-destructive.

I am thankful that many white people have been participating in protests and demonstrations, but we need more white people to actively participate not just in protests and demonstrations but in active measures to dramatically change our society because what we have had for the past 400 years is unjust and unsustainable.

Time is running out. The crisis is intensifying. My prayer is that the white church will join the struggle against racism.  

UCC Announces Assessment of Its Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Noting that the United Church of Christ is “among the whitest Christian denominations in America,” the church’s leaders are launching an assessment of “racial diversity, equity and inclusion” throughout the church.

The United Church of Christ Board of Directors announced the assessment in a Sept. 1 “letter to the wider church” and began seeking consultants to the process by posting a request for proposals at the UCC website. The letter was signed by UCC Board Chair Yvette Wynn and the three national officers of the church, the Revs. John Dorhauer, Traci Blackmon and Karen Georgia Thompson.

International Council of Community Churches Explores "Race and the American Church" in Webinar Series
The International Council of Community Churches (ICCC), one of the 38 member communions of NCC, held a series of webinars on racism over the past month. Titled "Pastors Discussing Race and the American Church", the webinars are co-moderated by Rev. Dr. Terrell Carter and Rev. Dr. Patrick Vaughn.

Rev. Dr. Carter has served as Lead Pastor, Interim Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Minister of Administration within congregations in St. Louis, MO; Executive Director of the North Newstead Association, a community development corporation, St. Louis, MO; Executive Director, Senior Social Service Agency, St. Louis, MO; Director, Field Education, Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, he serves as Vice President of Community Life and Chief Diversity Officer at Greenville University, Greenville, Illinois.

Rev. Dr. Vaughn has served as solo Pastor, Tirzah and Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Churches, Lancaster, South Carolina; Pastor and Head of Staff, Harbor View Presbyterian Church, Charleston, South Carolina; Pastor and Head of Staff, Paoli Presbyterian Church, Paoli, Pennsylvania. Co-Pastor, Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, Delaware.
NCC, Orthodox Studies Center at Fordham University Co-Hosting Webinar on Ecumenical Challenges of COVID-19
COVID–19 is a horrific disease. It is enveloping the world, with more than ten million cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths. A cure is nowhere in sight, and a search for a vaccine is ongoing. The disease is challenging individuals and societies alike, in terms of social interactions, economic well-being, and community engagement. The Church is also experiencing
challenges during this difficult period.

NCC and The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University are pleased to present the second in a series of webinars highlighting some of these ecclesial challenges. The discussion will highlight how churches are striving to meet these challenges, as well as the opportunity arising from this task for the churches to do this ministry together.

The broadcast will be live-streamed and open to all who have pre-registered. The event will include some time for audience questions. This event is free and open to the public.

Pre-registration is required for the live webinar.
NY Disaster Interfaith Services Releases COVID-19 Tipsheet for Houses of Worship
Highly contagious infectious diseases like COVID-19 have the potential to re-emerge and produce second and possibly even third waves of disease. New York may have to re-enter phases already passed if infection rates increase again in order to reduce the spread of the virus in the population.

This series of House of Worship Reopening Requirements and Guidelines was created to guide congregation leaders through the New York State Governor’s Executive Orders, including practical tips and resource links to help comply with the requirements during each unique phase.

The Mandatory sections include all New York State required steps for houses of worship to complete during each phase. NYDIS' Recommended sections offer practical steps and resource links to support compliance with the mandatory Executive Orders. 
October 12-13 - Online
Breathing New Life into Our Nation: Repentance, Reformation, Reparation
UMC Bishop Sally Dyck, New Ecumenical Officer, Encourages Reconnecting With Simple Pleasures
Summer is nearly over! I know autumn doesn’t really begin for a few more weeks, but when September comes, it feels like summer is over. Students are returning to school—online or in-person, both bring their stresses. The days are getting shorter—that’s what makes me sad. I’m now setting out on my morning run in the dark again. Even if we haven’t felt the cooling of the air yet, we know it’s just around the corner!

And yet because of the pandemic, most of us haven’t been able to do the things that we count on doing in the summertime that bring us joy and provide a needed break and distraction from the ongoing routines of the rest of the year.
Friendship Press Releases New Bible App
Word@Hand is an innovative Bible engagement app that allows you to take a six-path Journey around a book of the Bible, a theme, or a season of the Christian year. The app offers Bible translations and video presentations that are accurate, reliable, and easy to understand. Equally as engaging for the novice as they are for the scholar, Word@Hand Journeys present insights to help you thrive with God. Available for iOS and Android devices. Each path offers a video, seven daily steps, and more.
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