Subject: NCC Newsletter – March 3, 2023


March 3, 2023

This Lenten Season, Let's Commit to Do, Love, Walk

Each week during the Lenten season, the National Council of Churches will highlight focal areas for prayer, contemplation, and service based on Micah 6:8 (NRSVue):  

He has told you, O mortal, what is good,

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice and to love kindness

    and to walk humbly with your God?


Focal topics include poverty, reparations, democracy, community advocacy, and more. Follow the topics on all of our social media accounts and share your story using the hashtags #DoLoveWalk and #Micah6v8.

200+ Faith Leaders Issue Letter to President Biden to Establish Reparations Commission by Executive Order

The National Council of Churches USA (NCC), Faith for Black Lives, and more than 200 faith leaders from across the country issued a letter this week to President Joseph Biden to establish a commission to study reparations by executive order on or before Juneteenth, June 19, 2023.

The United States has a notable record of demonstrating the courage to admit when its policies and actions have resulted in harm. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act to compensate victims of the US policy to place people of Japanese descent into internment camps during World War II.

“The National Council of Churches historically has stood on the frontlines in advancing a vision of racial justice in America to build a beloved community,” said Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary, NCC. “This historic letter to President Biden from a diverse coalition of faith leaders speaks to the fierce urgency to preserve American democracy through reparative justice,” she added.

“We encourage President Biden to pursue a pathway of racial healing and transformation in this country by establishing a Presidential Commission to Develop Reparations Proposals,” said Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair, Faith for Black Lives. “As attempts to erase Black history spread across the nation, it is imperative that we respond with a federal approach to address the harms and vestiges of slavery and segregation.”

Notable signatories include:

  • Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

  • Rev. Cornell William Brooks, Director, William Monroe Trotter Collaborative

  • Rabbi Jonah Posner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

  • Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Ecumenical Bishop, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson, President, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition

  • Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada

  • Metropolitan Serapion, Metropolitan of Los Angeles Coptic Orthodox Church

  • Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA)

  • Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President United Church of Christ

  • Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller, President, Northern Province, Moravian Church in America

  • Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair, Faith for Black Lives

Congress Passes Resolution on Turkey and Syria

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.132, a resolution mourning the massive loss of life caused by the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. In addition, the resolution: “(1) applauds the work of humanitarian aid and rescue workers on the ground; and (2) condemns the efforts by the Assad regime of Syria to exploit the disaster to evade international pressure and accountability, including by preventing the United Nations from providing assistance through border crossings between Turkey and Syria.”

NCC urges congregations in the United States to pray for those affected and to support the ongoing disaster and humanitarian relief efforts of our member communions and ecumenical partners.

Responding to Earthquake in Syria and Turkey

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is mourning the loss of thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria following a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the region in the early hours of Monday, February 6. To date, more than 41,000 people have died. NCC is urging congregations in the U.S. to join the global community in praying for and supporting those impacted. You can view many opportunities to give on NCC's website.

End of SNAP Emergency Allotments

Emergency allotments to families under a temporary expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ended this week. These allotments helped SNAP beneficiaries supplement their food budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing up to an additional $95 in benefits for most families. Last year, Congress voted to end the emergency allotments through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

High inflation and soaring grocery costs make this a particularly difficult time for families already struggling to make ends meet. NCC commends the long-term work of our member communions who provide food aid to their congregations and communities. We encourage member communions to help spread the word about the changes to SNAP and use the USDA’s Hunger Hotline as a resource.

US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Student Loan Debt Relief

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the legality of President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan. Under the plan, millions of student loan borrowers could qualify for up to $20,000 in debt relief. Last November, the Department of Education “extended the pause on student loan repayment interest, and collections,” until the Supreme Court hands down its decision—which will likely occur in June—or 60 days after June 30, 2023.

According to a statement issued by Secretary Miguel Cardona, “targeted student debt relief addresses the financial harms of the pandemic, provides borrowers with a smooth transition to repayment, and helps borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume.”

NCC recognizes the heavy burden of student loan debt, especially for young Americans, and calls on the Supreme Court to act with conscience and compassion to provide relief to those most in need.

CUS Invites Ecumenical Partners to Worship
March 16 in Louisville

The Committee on the Uniform Lessons Series (CUS) will hold its annual meeting March 15–17 in Louisville, KY. It is a time-honored tradition to invite denominational partners to join CUS for a worship service during which we commission new officers and bless the completion of this year’s Guide to Lessons and Home Daily Bible Readings.

CUS materials support Christian education for thousands of children, youth, and adults across and beyond the United States. Bishop Vashti McKenzie, NCCs interim President and General Secretary, will bring the message at this year’s event, which will take place in the Presbyterian Center. chapel, 100 Witherspoon St. We joyfully welcome all in the Louisville area to join us in person, but virtual participation is also available.

Please register to attend:

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