Subject: NCC Newsletter – May 19, 2023

May 19, 2023

NCC Passes Resolution on Gun Violence, Mass Shootings,
Commits to Do More

In response to the incessant gun violence and mass shootings rocking our nation, the Governing Board of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), at its annual Spring Meeting, passed a hard-hitting resolution on the issue, committing to increase its efforts to end the devastation and calling on its member congregations to do the same.


“As faith leaders in America, it is incumbent on us to address the escalating plague of gun violence in our nation,” starts the resolution. “Since the beginning of 2023 alone, mass shootings from coast to coast have resulted in the devastating loss of hundreds of lives. Appallingly, it feels as if no one and nowhere is safe – not our schools, colleges and universities, medical facilities, grocery stores, movie theaters, social halls, financial institutions, shopping malls, homes, churches, or other houses of worship…It is necessary and reasonable to act quickly and decisively because we do not have to live like this,” states the resolution.


Further, the resolution calls for congregations to use all their available resources to end the scourge of gun violence, to work across political lines and with faith and secular partners to find solutions to end gun violence and mass shootings, and to create safe spaces for those inundated with violence and provide care for victims/survivors.


The resolution also calls for NCC member communions and congregations to “be attentive and offer a public witness and care to those in our communities who are susceptible to being perpetrators of gun violence, showing them grace and mercy, and attempting to put them in contact with resources that may help them choose a different path.”


In addition, the resolution calls on the President and Congress to quickly introduce and pass legislation that would end “the massacres from weapons of war in our communities,” and to hold public officials accountable for the lackluster and negligent legislative responses that occur after mass shootings. NCC has repeated calls for comprehensive gun violence reform and the banning of military-grade weapons in our communities.

NCC Hosts Policy Roundtable, Issues Call to Action

Congressman Jim Clyburn was one of the speakers who addressed NCC's first Policy Roundtable. Photo: NCC, Charles Matthews Photography

On Wednesday, NCC hosted a Policy Roundtable in conjunction with its Spring Governing Board Meeting. The Policy Roundtable engaged dozens of member communions, policy experts, and advocacy leaders in dialogue about policy matters of concern and identified how we can collectively advocate and act in a greater way to live and serve “…as a community of communions called by Christ to be visible unity sent forth in the Spirit to promote God’s justice, peace and healing in the world.” 


The policy roundtable featured several high-level speakers, including Assistant Democratic Leader, Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC), Amelia Kegan, Associate General Secretary, Policy and Advocacy, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Ellen Nissenbaum, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Rev. Adam Taylor, President, Sojourners, and Rev. Stanley Jenkins and Prince Solace, Lansing Reparations Representatives.


The Policy Roundtable addressed key policy issues advocated by the NCC and covered in our weekly legislative update, including the debt ceiling, farm bill reauthorization, and reparations. Action items derived from the roundtable include writing letters and making phone calls to lawmakers, submitting op-eds to local newspapers, and building relationships with members of Congress.


To engage in the action, join NCC’s upcoming Call Your Legislators Campaign to Protect Social Safety Net Programs.


Sign up for NCC’s Call Your Legislators Campaign here.

The Power of a Thinking Church

Above: Rev. Stephen Green; Below: Bishop Vashti McKenzie, with Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, Historiographer and Executive Director of AME Research and Scholarship 

Bishop Vashti McKenzie, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, and Rev. Stephen A. Green, NCC Civic Engagement Consultant, attended The Power of a Thinking Church convening, led by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Green participated on a panel on Politics and Justice and shared the National Council of Churches' Journey to Jubilee Campaign for Reparative Justice.

Bishop McKenzie offered greetings and reflections on the history and legacy of Jarena Lee, the first woman licensed to preach in the AME Church. 

The Journey to Jubilee Bible Study is available for download here.

Studies: Black Communities Suffered Disparate
Number of Deaths since Early 2000s

In an article published in the May 16, edition of the Washington Post, writer Akilah Johnson exposes the disparate number of deaths among African Americans and the staggering costs to our nation’s economy.


“America’s Black communities experienced an excess 1.6 million deaths compared with the White population during the past two decades, a staggering loss that comes at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, according to two new studies that build on a generation of research into health disparities and inequity,” writes Johnson.


Additionally, the article reveals that according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers conclude that the gap in health outcomes translated into 80 million years of potential life lost — years of life that could have been preserved if the gap between Black and White mortality rates had been eliminated. A second report published in JAMA determined the price society pays for failing to achieve health equity and allowing Black people to die prematurely: $238 billion in 2018 alone.


“The reasons for the excess deaths and resulting economic toll are many,” Johnson writes,  “including mass incarceration, but the root is the same, according to the reports published Tuesday in the influential medical journal JAMA: the unequal nature of how American society is structured.”


Read the full Washington Post article here.

NCC Supports Call for Urgent Action on Debt Ceiling Crisis

After a reported impasse that prompted House Republicans to step away, bipartisan debt limit talks have resumed and will continue into the night, according to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The up-and-down developments Friday have come as time is quickly running out for lawmakers to find a debt ceiling compromise or risk default for the first time in U.S. history. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. could run out of cash to pay all its bills as early as June 1, though the exact date remains uncertain.

NCC supports the Circle of Protection's statement calling for Congress to "steer clear of deep cuts in poverty-important programs and…avoid a U.S. default that would have severe consequences among many people in poverty…."

Scroll down to find the article and link to the Circle of Protection's full statement in this edition of the NCC Newsletter.

Join the Faithful Budget Conversation!

On Wednesday, May 24, Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock will join The Maiden Group + Sojourners and Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund for A Faithful Budget: Defending the Social Safety Net Infrastructure. 


This conversation brings home to the kitchen table what's at stake and why it matters for all of us. Our care economy is the heartbeat of our nation. Working families in every community rely on SNAP, healthcare benefits, housing assistance, and other vital programs to make ends meet and take care of their loved ones.


This webinar will be a vital resource to empower communities seeking to engage their leaders on these critical questions around community care and resourcing. The spirit of America is one of fairness and generosity — key values we cannot deny working families. Let's work together to preserve and expand our care economy and make sure our country works for all members of American society. 



Circle of Protection Calls for Action on Debt Ceiling Crisis

As the nation’s two political parties again negotiate budget issues on the edge of a fiscal cliff, the Circle of Protection Friday morning sent the President and every member of Congress its Scripture-grounded point of view. The Circle of Protection is comprised of heads of Christian denominations, agencies, organizations, and educational institutions who believe that God expects national leaders to prioritize the needs of poor and hungry people.


The Circle is also organizing high-level lobby visits for a Circle of Protection delegation on June 6.


The Circle issued this statement: "Thanks to all for the various ways you are working and praying that our elected leaders steer clear of deep cuts in poverty-important programs and, at the same time, avoid a U.S. default that would have severe consequences among many people in poverty in our country and around the world."


Read the statement issued to the President and Congress here.

NCC Korea Continues Efforts to End War on Korean Peninsula

The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) continues its efforts to end the state of war on the Korean Peninsula. In 2020, they joined with a larger coalition of civil society NGO’s and faith organizations to launch the Korea Peace Appeal (KPA) campaign seeking to turn the armistice system into a peace agreement for the Korean Peninsula. The NCCUSA has been supporting the NCCK’s peace campaigns for years now and is also supporting the KPA alongside the World Council of Churches and other international ecumenical partners.


This year, 2023, marks the 70th year since the signing of the armistice agreement on July 27, 1953. That agreement was meant to be temporary, allowing space for negotiations to secure a more permanent peace treaty within that year. However, those negotiations never transpired, and the Korean Peninsula remains locked in an armistice system that has solidified not only division of the peninsula, but also polarization within South Korean society.


As hostility takes priority, the most vulnerable throughout the peninsula bear the greatest burden as resources are turned away from the environment, public health, and genuine human security. We, in the US Christian community, will also add our voices to calls for a return to dialogue and for authentic measures that build mutual trust especially as our US military continues to exercise wartime operational command authority over the South Korean military, playing a major part in influencing and hindering past peace processes.


The KPA campaign will collect signatures until this coming September when they plan to visit New York City and deliver them to the United Nations and embassies of the countries that played the biggest part in the Korean War itself: South Korea, North Korea, the US, and China. We hope to add as many signatures as possible to show our support for an end to hostile policies and a return to gradual trust building and peace building.

Find out more about the Korea Peace Appeal here.

Reparative Justice Bible Study

Harvard Kennedy School’s Partnership with the National Council of Churches has produced an effective resource to aid congregations in learning about reparative justice.

Download the Reparative Justice Bible Study toolkit to use in your congregation.

Also, join the National Council of Churches in Washington, DC on June 19, 2023, to support Justice on Juneteenth.


Friendship Press Reissues Classic Titles

Friendship Press is honored to announce the reissue of Benjamin Mays' 1957 title, Seeking to be Christian in Race Relations. This new edition offers both new and familiar readers a fresh opportunity to hear the prophetic voice of this visionary leader. 


Print copies can be pre-ordered from the Friendship Press website or readers using Kindle can preorder on Amazon.  Both editions release June 1, 2023!

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.

For more information please contact Ms. Trudy Grant at or (843) 830-7118 or Rev. Nelson B. Rivers at (843) 412-2249 or via email at

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