Subject: NCC Newsletter February 3, 2023


February 3, 2023

NCC Joins in Ecumenical Prayer Service to Mark End of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Pictured from left: His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York; His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., World Council of Churches North American President, and NCC Representative. Photo credit: GOARCH/Brittainy Newman

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine hosted an ecumenical prayer service on January 24 to close out the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Held annually, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity celebrates the oneness that the Church finds in Christ and our call to ecumenical cooperation. This year's theme, "Do Good, Seek Justice," was based on the call of the prophet Isaiah:


[L]earn to do good;
seek justice;
rescue the oppressed;
defend the orphan;
plead for the widow.

(Isaiah 1:17, NRSVue)


In his welcome to those in attendence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America commented on the particular appropriateness of the theme in our current context. "It is clear to all, that Christian unity is needed now more than ever, especially as we see racism on the rise in our land. As leaders of faith communities — especially communities that bear the name of Christ — we shoulder the responsibility to make common witness known to the world, that we will never cease from pursuing what is right and just, and practicing the good."


The resources for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were developed by a team led by the Minnesota Council of Churches. The group met in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and just as the verdict was announced in the trial of the officer who killed Mr. Floyd. 


In the closing reflection for the final day of the Week of Prayer, the team from Minnesota challenged the gathering with the words of Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman from his book, Jesus and the Disinherited:


"We must proclaim the truth that all life is one and that we are all of us tied together. Therefore, it is mandatory that we work for a society in which the least person can find refuge and refreshment. You must lay your lives on the altar of social change so that wherever you are, there the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

NCC Mourns Senseless Killing of Tyre Nichols

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,

because they are no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:18, NRSVue)

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) mourns the senseless killing of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black male who died from injuries sustained after a brutal beating at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.

We pray for the Nichols family as they lay their loved one to rest today, and as they determine ways to honor Tyre’s legacy going forward. We join in solidarity with faith leaders in Memphis and surrounding areas who are providing moral and spiritual leadership to communities mourning this tragedy.

We applaud the swift action of Memphis and Shelby County authorities to terminate and criminally charge those involved in this tragedy. We will continue to monitor this investigation and connect with Memphis area faith leaders to ensure all parties are held accountable, and that the family and community have the resources they need to heal from such a heartrending and unnecessary incident.

We decry yet another act of police violence against an unarmed and nonviolent citizen. The videos of the incident revealed an abhorrent disregard for human life that we collectively must ensure never happens again. Yet, we recognize that this kind of violence continues to permeate our nation’s culture. We must intensify our efforts to end policing that intimidates and traumatizes communities of color rather than protecting and serving them. A traffic violation should not be a death sentence.

While we affirm and support the many law enforcement officers who take seriously their oath to serve our communities daily, we cannot ignore the prevalence of excessive force used by police officers against Black and Brown people.

We call upon Congress to act swiftly in passing comprehensive police reform legislation that will hold officers accountable, train them on de-escalation techniques, and end qualified immunity. Our nation also must address the underlying racial vitriol that devalues the lives of people of color and empowers law enforcement to beat someone like Tyre Nichols to death for what required no more than the issuance of a traffic citation.

Our prayer is that this horrendous display of brutality will be the last such occasion we are prompted to issue a statement of condemnation and that we all commit to using our resources and spheres of influence to hold elected officials at every level of government accountable for passing legislation that it may be so.

NCC Concerned for People in Holy Land Amidst Hostility

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA expresses concern for the communities in the Holy Land that are being targeted by hostile rhetoric and actions, as well as outright violence and extremism. No community is safe — Israeli or Palestinian; Jewish, Muslim, or Christian — while this violence is tolerated, if not encouraged, by political leaders.

Illustrating the distress felt by all residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding region due to this violence is the situation of the Armenian Christian community, which has been part of the fabric of Jerusalem since the 4th century and whose community members are reportedly now subject to continual threats. While we lift them up for particular mention at this time, our concern and our prayers for peace extend to all communities in the Holy Land.


For more information on the ecumenical Christian response to the ongoing violence, please see:

Faith for Striking Warrior Met Coalminers Launch Days of Action with Press Conference and Rally

On April 1, 2021, the United Mine Workers of America miners employed by Warrior Met Coal, Inc. in Alabama went on strike. The strike is now in its 22nd month and continues with no end in sight. The Warrior Met Board and Executives refuse to honor their commitment, made upon purchasing the assets of bankrupt Walter Energy, Inc., to restore compensation, benefits, and safe working conditions. Miners have been required to work 12-hour shifts 6-7 days each week, give up holiday and vacation time, and take pay cuts for several years in order for Warrior Met to turn the company around. They continued to work under those conditions while executives received substantive salaries and generous bonuses. These same workers and their families are still waiting for Warrior Met to make good on its pledge so they, too, can support themselves and their families while working in safe conditions with reasonable expectations from their employer. The cost has been harsh, and Warrior Met seems to have no compulsion to be fair or just.

The miners, who had negotiated in good faith until their most recent contract ended, have the following goals for a new contract:

  • Increase wages

  • Family-friendly health benefits

  • Give appropriate time off (i.e. paid family leave)

  • Improve scheduling

As the strike has dragged on and families have continued to suffer for almost two years, an interfaith coalition has formed to stand up, speak out, and work with the UMWA to seek an equitable outcome and end the strike. But Warrior Met won’t engage. On December 20, clergy and faith leaders received a response from the Board of Directors declining their request to meet.

On February 1, faith leaders held a press conference and rally in support of striking workers. They highlighted their support of the workers' goals and called on mine owners to respond favorably with an equitable contract. Click here to read the entire letter.

There is still time to support the striking Warrior Met Coalminers and their families. Take five minutes to sign and share the Faith Leaders Support United Mineworkers Statement (click the link), to show UMWA they are not alone. You can also join the letter-writing campaign found in the faith toolkit here,

Fiscal Year 2023 Nonprofit Security Grant Program Technical Assistance Webinar Series

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) invites nonprofit organizations to participate in upcoming webinars regarding the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The NSGP provides funding support through a competitive process for facility hardening and other security enhancements to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist or other extremist attack and promotes emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration between public and private community representatives, as well as state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.


For all attendees, it is strongly recommended that you review the existing NSGP resources available at prior to the webinar, particularly the “How to Apply” section of the NSGP Subapplicant Quick Start Guide. These resources are intended to assist readers in understanding the program and requirements in plain language. Familiarity with this material will improve attendees’ experience in the upcoming webinars.

All sessions will be the same and will cover:

· Program Overview
· Key Changes from FY22 to FY23
· Application Process Overview
· Key Tools and Resources
· Question and Answer

Webinar Schedule and Registration Links

2/16/23 2 PM ET
3/3/23   2 PM ET
3/8/23   3 PM ET
3/30/23 3 PM ET
4/4/23   2 PM ET
4/25/23 3 PM ET
5/4/23   2 PM ET

Note: Following registration, you will receive a calendar invitation for the webinar. The link to join the webinar is contained in that calendar event email. It may take time for this email to arrive – please wait following registration and be sure to check your junk/spam folders.

FEMA Reaching Out to Alabama and Georgia Residents Impacted by Weather Events

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reaching out to connect people in Alabama and Georgia impacted by recent storms, tornadoes, and other weather events with resources that are available to assist them.

President Joseph Biden declared that federal disaster assistance would be made available to the State of Alabama to supplement state and local response efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on Jan. 12, 2023.

FEMA has developed a one-stop shop for information on available resources and opportunities to do business with FEMA that will be regularly updated at Alabama Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, and Tornadoes DR-4684 |

FEMA also continues to support recovery efforts in California, Georgia, and a number of other areas impacted by disasters. Information on current disaster operations can be found at Current Disasters |

As of January 23, individuals and households in the following designated Alabama counties are eligible to apply for financial and direct services: Autauga, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, and Hale. Click here to apply for assistance, or learn more about the Individual Assistance program.


Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can apply for disaster assistance at, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA App. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams are going door-to-door in impacted neighborhoods to help individuals apply for FEMA assistance. Using mobile technology, DSA personnel can help survivors apply for assistance, update a FEMA application, and answer questions about federal assistance. DSA teams wear FEMA attire and have federal photo identification badges. There is no charge for service.

Information from FEMA’s office of civil rights can also be found in our Disaster Multimedia Toolkit.

In addition to this information, FEMA has developed some Tools to Recover | FEMA has collected frequently used tools and information to help you communicate and get started with the recovery process.


Other Resources:

  • Disaster-Related FAQs — Get answers to frequently asked questions about disaster assistance, emergency shelters, flood insurance and more.

  • FEMA in Your Language — FEMA’s website has information and materials available in languages other than English. Disaster survivors can find translated information about disaster assistance programs, emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities, and flood insurance.

Great news! The NRSVue is coming to YouVersion! If you’re already a YouVersion user, you know all about this powerful bible reading tool. If not, check them out on the Apple or Android app stores!

You can download the NRSVue today!

Creation Justice Ministries Releases 2023 Lenten Resource

This guide is designed to help you and your community take time during the Lenten season to learn, reflect, repent, ask God for forgiveness, and take concrete steps to change course in order to better care for creation.

Use of this resource is encouraged as a way to deepen your spiritual practice during the Lenten season and to commit to taking meaningful actions to care for God's creation.

For more information, click here.

Did you know that prayer, spiritual direction, and soul care have been woven into the fabric of African American society for centuries?

In this webinar, Barbara Peacock (soul care director and author of Soul Care in African American Practice by InterVarsity Press) and Nicole Massey Martin (Christianity Today's Chief Impact Officer) explore how these disciplines were interwoven into the lives of leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and Howard Thurman.

This webinar is an invitation to contemplate a journey that will lead you deeper into your relationship with God. Click here to sign up today!

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


To receive our weekly newsletter, sign up here.

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

Powered by: