Subject: NCC Newsletter: NCC Condemns Police Killing of Donovan Lewis, WCC Assembly Begins

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NCC Outraged by Police Killing of Donovan Lewis, WCC Assembly Begins
NCC Newsletter
September 2, 2022
NCC Outraged by Police Killing of Donovan Lewis
The National Council of Churches USA (NCC) is outraged by the killing of Donovan Lewis, an unarmed 20-year-old Black man, who was shot by police in Columbus, OH, on Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

Video evidence shows Lewis was shot without any chance to comply with police orders. In the recently released body camera video, a police officer opens the bedrooms door and immediately shoots Lewis. Then, to literally add insult to injury, police officers shout orders to “crawl out” and “stop resisting” as Lewis writhes in pain on his bed, where he had been sleeping moments before.

According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch, this is the sixth police-involved shooting in Columbus in 2022 and the third to happen within an eight-day period. The continued recurrence of tragedies like this demonstrates the need for robust new approaches to policing that address racial bias and support communities rather than target them, along with redoubled efforts for racial justice. Black Americans account for less than 13% of the U.S. population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of White Americans. Lewis is one of the 1,044 people killed in an officer-involved shooting so far this year, according to a national police-involved fatal shooting database.

The NCC calls for a complete and unbiased investigation of this and all recent police shootings in Columbus, and for those responsible to be held accountable. As peaceful protests are being planned this weekend in Ohio, our prayers are with the Columbus community for justice and with the family of Donovan Lewis as they grieve.

Previous Statements by NCC on Police Violence:
World Council of Churches Assembly Begins Amidst War and Global Pandemic
August 31, 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Pacific Islander dancers help lead opening prayer at the World Council of Churches' 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany. The assembly takes place August 31 to September 8 under the theme "Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity." Photo: Mike DuBose/WCC
After being postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Council of Churches opened its 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany on August 31. Opening prayers acknowledged the current context of pandemic, war, forced migration, and structural injustice. Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (Syria) was the opening preacher and reminded attendees of the plight of Christians in Syria and the wider Middle East.

WCC's moderator Dr. Agnes Abuom urged attendees to listen to the voices of youth who have grave concerns about justice, peace, and the future of the planet. Dr. Abuom highlighted the commitment at the previous Assembly to a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. The Pilgrimage in 2021 virtually visited various locations in North America. NCC and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) helped to coordinate the visit, which focused on the experience of racial injustice of BIPOC communities in North America. Additionally, NCC and CCC also coordinated the Women's Pilgrimage, which emphasized the struggle of women against the many intersections of injustice they face in North America.

WCC's outgoing Acting General Secretary Rev. Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca highlighted the need for unity in the face of climate change, pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and systemic injustice. Rev. Prof. Dr. Sauca underscored the essential need for ecumenical relationships, especially with issues such as climate change that have a global impact.

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed the Assembly to Germany and noted with appreciation that all German churches were welcomed to the first Assembly in 1948. The Federal President reflected on the symbols in the WCC logo and emphasized the crisis presented by climate change. 

The Assembly continues until September 8. You can find more information and view the proceedings at the links below.

Mississippi's Water Crisis
On August 29, 2022, the water system in Jackson, MS failed the 150,000 residents, leaving them without safe drinking water and a lack of water pressure. A system overwhelmed by floodwaters, technical issues and staff shortages created a public health crisis and resulted in a state of emergency. Jackson, MS residents are still without enough water to, “to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs” as the city’s primary and secondary water facilities are dealing with aging infrastructure and extreme weather events.

The NCC believes that we must surround Jackson, MS with assistance and prayer. We encourage our communions locally and nationally to seek ways to help residents in need. The NCC also calls for robust local, state, and federal cooperation to address the crisis and provide the people with the necessary water they need to live. We will continue to monitor this situation and look for ways to advocate for the protection of the environment and to hold officials accountable to address the disproportionate negative impact on people of color and lower income communities.

Hunger in America
NCC is a staunch advocate for the end of hunger and food insecurity in America and in our world. September is “Hunger Action Month,” a national effort to inspire everyday people to “take action and raise awareness of hunger in the United States.” NCC is proud of the work of our communions and the efforts of our partners such as Bread for the World, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Alliance to End Hunger who are at the forefront of seeking an end to hunger.

NCC will continue to work to address this massive issue. We believe we all have a role to play to end hunger, including our government. Later this month, we will participate in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. It will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. We will be sure to share resources and opportunities to make sure everyone has enough to eat.


“The Challenge of Change:
Serving a Never Changing Christ in an Ever-Changing World”

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19, NRSVue)

Register, Sponsor, Participate, and Share!
Greetings, NCC Friends and Supporters!

As we slowly bid farewell to the long days of summer and prepare ourselves for the cooler days of fall, a major part of the NCC’s agenda is the annual 2022 Christian Unity Gathering (October 9-11). This is the third year in which we are holding a virtual CUG, and this year’s event will again bear witness to the work that the National Council of Churches is doing to provide advocacy and action that shines light upon critical issues and works in the public square toward solutions.

The National Council of Churches is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1950 which brings together 37 different Christian denominations to advocate on critical issues facing our country. The membership and scope of the NCC has evolved over the past 72 years and today 30 million Christians are united under our umbrella in a common expression of God’s love and promise of unity.

As an organization with a mission and purpose that is broadly aligned with the NCC, and because of your long-term engagement with NCC’s entities, we’re appealing to you to get involved! There are two ways in which your participation can make a tremendous difference. I am asking that, with God’s help, you lend your support in both areas.

1. Registration
The 2022 CUG registration fee is a modest $25 to help defray costs. Please click the Register Now link and make plans to join us for engaging dialogue, impactful and relevant speeches, and conversations from leading scholars, preachers, educators, and thought leaders!

2. Financial Sponsorships

We are seeking sponsorships on three levels and each of the tiered levels of sponsorship offer different perks.
  • Gold ($300) – This level includes mention of sponsorship in the slide deck during sessions
  • Frankincense ($500) – Includes all the benefits of Gold plus display of sponsor logo in the Whova event platform, as well as mention in press releases about the event
  • Myrrh ($1000) – Includes all the benefits of Gold & Frankincense plus social media mentions on all NCC social media accounts.
Click on the Sponsor Now button below to partner in this important work and make your support for NCC known to our many participants.

I and the NCC team are grateful for your prayers and support as we journey together toward our annual gathering in October. Let’s continue to work together for a cause greater than ourselves!

By the Grace of God,

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie
Interim President/General Secretary

Voter Empowerment: Check-up Sunday Every Sunday
“We were all made in God’s image and likeness. Voter suppression on the basis of skin color is a throwing away of Imago Dei.”

Jim Wallis, Chair in Faith and Justice and the founding Director of the
Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice

“The right to full participation of the person in political and civic life, including the opportunity: to vote by secret ballot…the right to vote is a basic human right.”

from the 1963 NCC Human Rights Policy Statement

The National Council of Churches issues a Call to Action to energize and empower voters to exercise their right to vote in upcoming elections and in every election. The right to vote with unfettered access to the ballot box is one of America’s sacred trust. It was a hard-fought right and is a present hard-fought fight right now in our country.

NCC Voter Empowerment imitative partners with our communions and others to provide a Voter Resource Guide and the Voter Toolkit, from Faiths United to Save Democracy that contains information for a church-based plan of action. On Check-Up Sunday, people can use a QR code to check their voter status, verify ID requirements, poll locations, poll rules and regulations, voter registration deadlines, early voting and election dates and more. There are ideas to stimulate conversations at church and at home.

Register your communion, church and organization today to receive the Voter Empowerment Resource Guide. It’s free. Click here to register: Go to Use the hashtag #Vote Ready #NCC on your social media platforms. 

The Word with Friendship Press CEO Will Bergkamp
One of the privileges of being a new Publisher and CEO is learning about the fine work that has been done by the organization prior to your arrival. The recent release of the NRSVue is just one of the remarkable projects that Friendship Press has done!

United Against Racism is a remarkable collection of thought-provoking essays, prayers, and resources, collected from across the NCC member communions, that help churches take a strong stance against racism in our communities and our nation. The United Against Racism Facilitator Guide makes the work of organizing classes and studies around the material easier for the busy leader. You can order your copy at the links below or at your favorite Christian bookstore.

NCC Seeks Director of Communications
NCC is looking to add a new Director of Communications to its team. Based at its headquarters in Washington, DC, the Director of Communications is responsible for all of NCC's outward messaging including press statements, social media, website, multimedia, and this newsletter! You can read the full job description on NCC's website and if this sounds like an opportunity for you please send your cover letter and resume/cv to 
Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: Religion, Racial Unrest and Pandemics
The annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion provides scholars from across the social and behavioral sciences the opportunity to present their research, network with other scholars, meet with acquisitions editors from major publishing houses, and become familiar with current research. Each year SSSR meets jointly with the Religious Research Association (RRA) in late October or early November. A typical annual meeting includes three plenary sessions, several receptions, and approximately 450 papers in 140 sessions over the course of three days.

The SSSR+RRA 2022 Annual Meeting will be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland on November 11-13, 2022. The theme of the 2022 Annual Meeting is Religion, Racial Unrest and Pandemics. Visit the Annual Meeting website for more information or to register.

COVID-19 Pandemic Response: Share Reminders that Vaccines are Free
Churches should be aware that 10-13% of the population of the United States has not received even one COVID-19 vaccination. Research has shown that people who are not vaccinated often live in rural communities and/or live in poverty. For those who are not vaccinated, the current surge is just as dangerous. Churches can share reminders that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and FREE for all. Answers to frequently asked questions and myth busters about vaccines can be found on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 


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