Subject: NCC Newsletter – January 20, 2024


January 20, 2024

Urgent Call for Peace: Join Pilgrimage to Demand Gaza Ceasefire

Join Faith for Black Lives, National Council of Churches USA, Rabbis for Ceasefire, Hindus for Human Rights, The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia), Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, Kairos Center, Freedom Church of the Poor, and Until Freedom on a Pilgrimage for Peace to demand a Ceasefire in Gaza.

From February 14 to February 21, faith leaders, activists, and artists will journey on a pilgrimage from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA to the White House to urge President Biden to call for an end to the war in Palestine.

Moved by our conscience, we stand united to address the ongoing tragedy in Gaza, where the death toll has reached over 24,000, the deadliest conflict in the 21st century. As we continue to mourn the loss of innocent Israeli lives on October 7, we firmly believe that responding to violence with more violence is not the solution.

We urge President Biden and Congress to halt weapons funding to Israel and, instead, channel efforts toward increasing humanitarian aid to Palestine. It is our collective responsibility to advocate for a peaceful resolution and uphold the principles of justice and compassion. 

We will either sow seeds of nonviolence today or reap nonexistence tomorrow. Register online at

Pilgrimage for Peace Route

February 14, 2024 - Philadelphia, PA to Chester, PA

February 15, 2024 - Chester, PA to Wilmington, DE

February 16, 2024 - Wilmington, DE to Newark, DE

February 17, 2024 - Newark, DE to Perryville, MD

February 18, 2024 - Havre de Grace, MD to Joppa, MD

February 19, 2024 - Joppa, MD to Baltimore, MD

February 20, 2024 - Baltimore, MD to Laurel, MD

February 21, 2024 - Laurel, MD to Washington, DC

A Case for Love in Theaters January 23 Only

“There is surely a future hope for you and your hope will not be cutoff.”  Proverbs 23:18, NRSVue


From the beginning to the end of the year, thou art God! 

In Jesus’ name, I pray God's will for us today!

Today, may we look back at another year gone by and praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness in our lives. I thank Him for all He has given us this year — provisions, protection, healing, and success. I pray for new breakthroughs from the Lord for the coming year. 

May new ideas, new things, and new relationships be revealed to us in the days to come. 

May God continue to mold and prepare us for the great things He has in store. I pray for an excitement to rise within us, as God unfolds things we have not yet seen. 

May an abundance that we cannot contain come to us, our work, our ministries, the NCC family, and our individual families.

I ask that God make every good seed that we sow in good ground throughout the year grow and bear fruit.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Happy New Year! I’ve entered 2024 praising the Lord for the impactful ministry that we witnessed last year. I look forward to continuing to make an impact in the public square while amplifying our collective and collaborative goals. 

I am writing today to encourage and rally your support for the upcoming movie premiere of A Case for Love on January 23, 2024, in theaters across the United States. The film is a documentary that embodies a message promoting unity and love amidst our current times of national chaos. Check your local movie listings for times. 

Based on the consistent theology and preaching of Episcopal Church trailblazer and NCC member Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the film highlights the transformative power of love. The producers behind this project have expressed hope that with substantial attendance at this special one-day event, A Case for Love will be picked up for wider distribution in theaters.

A Case for Love follows a dedicated team as they travel across the United States, seeking individuals who live selflessly and share their stories. The interviews featured in the movie include ordinary people and well-known figures, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, NBC Today show personality Al Roker, Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms and social entrepreneur, and many others.

I highly encourage everyone who can to attend the movie premiere on January 23, and appeal to others to do the same! Wouldn’t be a powerful statement if congregations, ministry auxiliaries, and other groups showed up en masse to support this documentary? We can do this together! 

Let’s show our support for this important film. Your presence would undergird NCC’s commitment to spreading messages of love, selflessness, and unity to a broader audience.

Let us come together and embrace the opportunity to support a movie that delves into the essence of what it means to advocate for and practice unselfish love. By attending and/or at least purchasing a ticket, we can contribute to the success of A Case for Love and increase its potential for wider release.

Thank you for your considerate and consistent support. 

By the Grace of God, 

Vashti Murphy McKenzie

President/General Secretary

Watch Faiths United to Save Democracy's MLK Day Voter Registration Launch

Faiths United to Save Democracy (FUSD) organized a virtual Voter Registration Launch on January 15, 2024. This event, led by FUSD Core Member Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, featured prolific faith leaders from across the country to empower the public by answering the pressing question: Why Vote? 

Among the speakers was NCC's President and General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. Watch the recording and share it with your network of faith leaders and activists. 

President Biden Signs into Law Stopgap Funding Bill

This week, Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed into law, a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown. The bill extends the appropriations deadline until March, giving lawmakers more time to write and pass all 12 appropriations bills. Congress now has until March 1 to approve four of the appropriations bills, and until March 8 to approve the remaining eight. Since last September, Congress has passed three short-term extensions due to their inability to meet the funding deadlines. Over the past several months, the National Council of Churches has called on Congress to fulfill its duty to fund critical government programs in a timely manner so that people who rely on these programs for their basic needs will not have unnecessary interruptions and delays in the delivery of services. We continue to urge Congress to work effectively and efficiently in a bipartisan manner to meet the new March funding deadline.

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Congressional Tax Committees Come to Bipartisan, Bicameral Agreement on Child Tax Credit

On Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith announced, “a commonsense, bipartisan, bicameral tax framework that promotes the financial security of working families, boosts growth and American competitiveness, and strengthens communities and Main Street businesses.” The American Families and Workers Tax Relief Act of 2024 would enhance the child tax credit, according to a joint statement released by the chairmen of the tax committees:

  • Expand access to child tax credit: phased increase to the refundable portion of the child tax credit for 2023, 2024, and 2025.

  • Eliminate penalty for larger families: ensure the child tax credit phase-in is applied fairly to families with multiple children.

  • One-year income lookback: create flexibility for taxpayers to use either current- or prior-year income to calculate the child tax credit in 2024 or 2025, the same bipartisan action taken six times in the past 15 years.

  • Inflation relief: adjust the tax credit for inflation starting in 2024.

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to advance the legislation by an overwhelming majority (40-3), signaling strong bipartisan support.

The NCC has long advocated to make permanent the child tax credit. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction. If enacted into law, the measure will support roughly 16 million children in low-income families and lift more than 400,000 children out of poverty.

Join NCC this week for Advocacy Thursday. Call your Member of Congress (find your representative here) and urge them to support the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024.

NCC Participates in CMEP Public Witness Calling for Permanent Ceasefire in Gaza

As the war in Gaza continues, Christian leaders are intensifying their efforts to call for a permanent ceasefire. On Jan. 13, NCC co-sponsored a Prayer Vigil organized by Churches for Middle East Peace calling for an immediate ceasefire and demilitarization in Israel and Palestine. The prayer vigil took place on the Ellipse between the White House grounds and the Washington Monument, as thousands of protesters calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza rallied in the nation’s capital.

At the prayer vigil, speakers offered prayers, lifted up scripture, and read from a letter sent to President Biden on November 9th, which was signed by NCC’s President and General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie and many of the heads of NCC member communion.

NCC was represented at the event by Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Senior Associate General Secretary and Advocacy Director, and Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler, Governing Board member (Church of the Brethren), who both read from the letter to President Biden.

For more information about this event, visit

Ayanna Gregory Collaborates with Common Hymnal, Releases "CEASEFIRE" Music Video

Activist and singer Ayanna Gregory collaborated with a group of creatives, Common Hymnal, to create "CEASEFIRE," a song echoing the call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Watch the video and learn more here. 

CEASEFIRE by Ayanna Gregory in collaboration with Common Hymnal and Friends. Full Credits and Cast at

Black Churches Receive $4 Million
for Historic Preservations

(Photo by Rev. Dr. Lisa Goods); St. Augustine Catholic Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Father Emmanuel Mulenga); Ward Chapel AME Church in Cairo, Illinois. (Photo by E. Charles Photography); Taveau Church in Cordesville, South Carolina. (Photo by Bill Fitzpatrick/ Preservation South Carolina)

(RNS) — Thirty-one Black churches have received a total of $4 million to help preserve their buildings and the Black history they represent.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced the second round of Preserving Black Churches grants from its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund on Monday (Jan. 15), the national holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Along with the funds provided last year, the Action Fund has supported more than 70 historic churches with $8.7 million in grants.

“We created the Preserving Black Churches program to ensure the historic Black church’s legacy is told and secured,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the fund, in a statement, adding that “these cultural assets can continue to foster community resilience and drive meaningful change in our society.”

This year’s grants, which range from $50,000 to $200,000, will allow congregations to address issues such as mold contamination, demolition, water filtration, and deferred maintenance.

Read the full story here.

Explore Nurturing Justice Upcoming Events

On January 26, Nurturing Justice (NJ) is starting a deep dive group looking at intersectional justice issues including Racial, LGBTQ, Reproductive, and Environmental Justice.


On February 15, 2024, at 7 p.m. ET to commemorate Black History Month, Nurturing Justice is hosting an amazing scholar, author and artist Dr. Renee K. Harrison to discuss her book, Black Hands, White House: Slave Labor and the Making of America, and her work, The Requiem. Check out her website: Dr. Renee K. Harrison - Teacher, Author, & Scholar (

Join NJ at 7 p.m. on February 15 here:

More information on NJ events can be accessed here.

New Lenten Resource from Friendship Press!

Friendship Press is proud to announce a new NRSVue Bible Journal for your Lenten spiritual practice. This beautiful journal contains 30 thoughtful Bible passages on Jesus's journey to the cross and includes writing prompts to motivate your reflection.  

It's an excellent gift for yourself or others and right now is 25% off and shipping for free! Use codes Lent25 and SHIPFREE at today!

Teresa Fry Brown's Proverbs Now Available!

The People's Book is proud to announce the release of Proverbs, narrated by Dr. Teresa Fry Brown! Dr. Fry Brown's work is the third release in this exciting audiobible project and you can listen to samples and purchase here

Upcoming releases include Revelation by Dr. Shively T. J. Smith and Isaiah by Dr. Hugh Page, Jr.!

Save the Dates for Johns Hopkins' Upcoming Health Challenge Events

Look for information in future issues of NCC's newsletter about the following events sponsored by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the Health Opportunities for Policy Equity (HOPE) Challenge, in cooperation with The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and other partners.

February 2024 — The Heart of the Matter: Closing Disparities in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease & Stroke

March 2024 — Holding Mommy Dear: A National Action Strategy to Eliminate Maternal Mortality

June 2024 — A Fair Shot for Health: Collaborating to Close Race, Gender, and Age Disparities in Gun Violence

Employment Opportunities

NCC Position Openings

Receptionist (Part Time)

The National Council of Churches is seeking a part-time Secretary/Receptionist to join our office team. This position requires working at least two in office, and up to three days a week, providing essential support in various administrative tasks. The ideal candidate will be highly organized, detail-oriented, and possess excellent communication skills.  

Application Process: 

To apply for this position, please submit a resume, cover letter, and a list of three professional references. In your cover letter, please highlight your relevant experience, interest in ecumenical/ advocacy work, and knowledge of the DMV area. 

How to Apply: Submit a cover letter and resume to 

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Faith in Public Life Position Openings

Faith in Public Life is hiring for a few positions and is looking for candidates who would be a good fit. Click on the links below for more information:


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