Subject: NCC Newsletter – July 29, 2023


July 29, 2023

NCC Strongly Opposes House Agriculture Appropriations Bill

On Friday, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on H.R. 4368, the FY 2024 appropriations bill for agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration; however, with divisions among factions within the Republican conference, Speaker Kevin McCarthy postponed the vote until after the August recess, when members of Congress will be working from their district offices.


Congress could consider the legislation as soon as immediately after Labor Day, a few weeks before funding for current government programs expires on September 30, but that is unlikely. Amongst other things, the House appropriations bill makes draconian cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides healthy foods to pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and their children under age 5. According to a report released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, H.R. 4368 would cut food assistance for or altogether take it away from nearly 5.3 million women and children.


The NCC strongly opposes H.R. 4368 and we urge our member communions to contact your member of Congress and tell them to vote “No” on this harmful bill.

Support World Day Against Trafficking on July 30

Please join the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (NAC), and their partner, the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT), in raising awareness this week, approaching July 30 / World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. They are lifting up the evil nexus of human trafficking and forced migration — continuing their months-long journey of listening, analysis, and action on this topic.

Please download their toolkit offering background on their current project, along with social media posts and graphics to be mixed and matched and shared throughout the week and weekend. Help them raise awareness about the human trafficking/forced migration link, to “reach every victim, [and] leave no one behind” (2023 WDATIP Theme). Share the link with others as well.

President Biden Designates Emmett Till and
Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument

A photo of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie. (Photo: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, gift of the Mamie Till Mobley family.)

This week President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Mississippi and Illinois. The new national monument will help tell the story of the events surrounding Emmett Till’s murder, their significance in the civil rights movement and American history, and the broader story of Black oppression, survival, and bravery in America. The new monument will be managed by the National Park Service.

The locations slated for the monument are: the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, where Till’s funeral was held and his mother allowed the undertakers to show his mutilated body; the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Miss., where those accused of killing him were acquitted by an all-White jury; and a Tallahatchie River bank in Mississippi, where the Black teenager’s body was found.

“This new national monument is the physical evidence and a living testimony to the legacy of one family whose unimaginable tragedy led our nation one step closer to the arc of justice,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We encourage the world to learn from this history, reckon with what caused harm, and continue the work to prevent the same trauma from ever happening again.”

The teen's 1955 lynching became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Till’s mother, later was hailed for her bravery, insisting on an open-casket funeral so the world could see the horrors inflicted on her son. Black-owned Jet magazine published photos of his mutilated body, as the murder was largely ignored by mainstream media at the time.

Read more about Emmett Till here.

CSI Looks at Conditions in Nagorno Karabakh

For the very sick in besieged Nagorno Karabakh, a Red Cross truck is the only way to leave to seek treatment in neighboring Armenia. (Photo credit: Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman)

Nagorno Karabakh, where 120,000 Armenian Christians live in their ancient homeland, has been under siege by Azerbaijan for more than 225 days. Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Christian human rights organization promoting religious liberty and human dignity, recently spoke to Vardan Tadevosyan, Minister of Health in Nagorno Karabakh, to find out about conditions on the ground.

Vardan Tadevosyan is director of the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre, and CSI’s main partner in Nagorno Karabakh, where 120,000 Armenian Christians have been under siege by Azerbaijan for the last eight months. On December 12, Azerbaijan blocked the Lachin Corridor, the only road that connects Nagorno Karabakh to the outside world.

Vardan was recently appointed Minister of Health in Nagorno Karabakh (also called Artsakh). That means he is responsible for putting sick people on the ICRC list to be taken to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, for treatment.

Under the blockade, leaving Nagorno Karabakh is a risk for Armenians — there is no guarantee that Azerbaijan will let them back in.

Ethnic Cleansing in Progress

Azerbaijan launched a war of conquest and ethnic cleansing against the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh in September 2020. Forty-four days later, Russia forced a ceasefire on Azerbaijan, and since then, a small group of Russian peacekeepers has been responsible for security in the region. But the Russians, distracted by the war in Ukraine, have not acted to stop the blockade.

On June 15, Azerbaijan stopped the Russians from using the Lachin Corridor. In July, Azerbaijan sharply curtailed the Red Cross’ access, accusing them of "smuggling."

The Russians now bring in their own supplies to their base by helicopter. “But,” Vardan says, “these supplies are only for them, not for us. No humanitarian aid is coming in – no medicine, no food, no fuel, nothing.”

Humanitarian Catastrophe

Without any supplies from the outside world, the situation in Nagorno Karabakh has become truly dire. “The price of eggs has tripled,” Vardan says. “The price of tomatoes is ten times higher than before. The price of apples is 30 times higher.”

Authorities in Nagorno Karabakh have announced that the miscarriage rate for expecting mothers had tripled during the blockade.

“There are hundreds of people who cannot get the surgeries they need because we have no medicine,” Vardan says. “Eventually, they will be so sick that they will have to be put on the Red Cross list to be taken to Armenia.”

Perseverance under Siege

“People are going to start dying soon,” Vardan says. And the population lives with the knowledge that an Azerbaijani attack may come at any time.

CSI Has Issued a Genocide Warning

CSI calls on the U.S., UK, and EU, to pressure their ally Azerbaijan to end the blockade, provide humanitarian aid to Nagorno Karabakh, and recognize the right of self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, as affirmed in the 2007 OSCE Minsk Group’s Basic Principles.

Click the link to read the full article.

Watch the video of the interview with Vardan on CSI’s YouTube channel.

Join Reparations in Action,
Rescheduled to Wednesday, August 2

You are invited to join "Reparations in Action: The Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan," an engaging webinar, on August 5. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Join the webinar to learn more about how reparatory justice is becoming manifest in Lansing, along with ways your community can engage the reparatory justice process, too!

Click here to access the registration link.

New Documentary Film Examines Practices and Traditions

SABBATH: An Ancient Tradition Meets the Modern World

Journey Films has released a new film available via PBS and streaming/screening. SABBATH: An Ancient Tradition Meets the Modern World is a two-hour documentary that explores the origins, traditions, and practices of Sabbath across traditions within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Among other things, the film highlights historical connections (and in some cases, disconnections) between Sabbath and social, racial, and environmental justice; Sabbath and labor; Sabbath and community; Sabbath and health; and of course, Sabbath, worship, and rest. The film takes viewers around the nation to a Jewish communal farm, a Trappist monastery, a Hasidic yeshiva, a Black megachurch, a “Torah” camp, Princeton Theological Seminary’s “Farminary,” and a university Islamic Center. The three-minute trailer is available here


Their hope is that churches, seminaries, and denominational bodies can use SABBATH as an educational tool, a resource for spiritual formation, and a catalyst for interfaith conversation. Duke Divinity School and Washington National Cathedral recently hosted screenings and discussions on the film. Further, the first interfaith screening is forthcoming (held at an Adventist church and involving a local rabbi and the pastor of an historic African-American church in DC).


Individuals can stream SABBATH directly from Journey Film's website, where there are downloadable discussion guides and other educational materials. Groups wishing to host public screenings are asked to purchase a one-time $250 licensing fee, which gives them access to the film in perpetuity for use when and as they wish.


Feel free to share information about SABBATH or host a screening and conversation. If you do so, please let Journey Films know how they can support your effort. Their goal is for the film to have a lasting impact on individual and corporate spiritual formation as well as on ecumenical and interfaith relations, based on the ancient traditions and practices of Sabbath.


For more information, contact Deryl Davis, Producer, SABBATH Film Impact Director, Journey Films, (202) 251-1321.

Churches for Peace News

Join Churches for Middle East Peace and Embrace the Middle East for a four-week series in conversation with Christians across the Middle East. Rev. Colin Chapman will speak with Christian leaders from Iraq, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt, discussing the intersection between political context and personal faith. Learn about the work Christians are doing to address various issues present in these countries, and how Christians outside of these countries may still have a role to play.

Delve into these rich ongoing conversations in August.

Mondays | August 7, 14
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (EDT) | Via Zoom

Click here to learn more.

CMEP proudly co-hosts this webinar series with Embrace the Middle East.

Register for March on Washington 60th Anniversary Event

Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network; Arndrea Waters King, President, Drum Major Institute; and Martin Luther King, III, Chairman, Drum Major Institute enlist your participation in the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington to be held August 26, 2023, in Washington, DC to mobilize the faith community across America, for "March on Washington Not a Commemoration, a Continuation!"

Please use the link to register for the march and to confirm your participation and that of your congregation, peers, and colleagues. The link has information you can use to share with your contacts. 

Creation Justice Ministries Celebrates 40 Years

Creation Justice Ministries (CJM) is planning a Service of Celebration commemorating their 40th anniversary on October 26 in Washington, DC at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1518 M ST. NW, Washington, DC 20005. The keynote preacher is Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

The service will also be livestreamed. A link will be sent to registrants closer to the date. While there is no charge to attend, interested persons are asked to register in advance.


Learn more about the Service of Celebration and register to attend on CJM’s website.


Sponsorship opportunities are also available. More information, including the benefits of sponsorship, can be found on the CJM website.

Employment Opportunities

AFSC Office of Public Policy and Advocacy
Hiring Policy Fellow

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Office of Public Policy and Advocacy is hiring a policy fellow that will be able to work on issues relating to migration, peace, and economic justice. Details are below with a link to apply. This is a hybrid position located in Washington D.C. that offers housing and is open to those willing to relocate.

Position: David Paul Policy Fellow

Status: Full-Time, Specific Term, 12-month appointment starting September 11

Location: Washington, D.C.

Application Deadline: August 9

For consideration, please attach a cover letter and resume to the online application in addition to answering the application questions.

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The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) is looking for a Local Programme Coordinator, 100 percent based in Jerusalem, who will be responsible, in coordination with the Jerusalem Liaison Office Coordinator and the Program Executive for the Middle East, for the development, planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on WCC-EAPPI’s work. More details are available online or apply here. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: August 13.

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