Subject: NCC Newsletter – October 1, 2023


October 1, 2023

Registration is now open!

Click HERE for more information.

The Christian Unity Gathering is just a few weeks away, and we have an exciting program and speakers who will be joining us. 

Confirmed speakers and presenters include:

  • Dr. Shijy Alex, Vice President of Operations, Ascension Holy Family Hospital

  • Dr. Aly Benitez. Assistant Professor of Practice of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, Vanderbilt Divinity School

  • Bishop Ann Henning Byfield, Bishop, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  • Dr. Obery Hendricks Jr. Visiting Scholar, Departments of Religion & African and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University

  • Rep. Gloria Johnson, Tennessee House of Representatives, District 90

  • Dr. Nicolas Kazarian, Ecumenical Officer, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

  • Jennifer Lackard, Deputy Police Commissioner, Mt. Vernon, NY

  • Rev. Harold Love, Pastor, Lee Chapel AME Church, State Rep., Tennessee House of Representatives, District 58

  • Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, Pastor in Residence for Community Engagement, Belmont University Methodist Church

  • Rev. Garland Pierce, Executive Director of Christian Education, African Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck, Visiting Faculty of Christianity and Religious Leadership, Hebrew College

  • Dr. Phillis Sheppard, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair, Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, and Womanist Thought, Vanderbilt Divinity School

  • Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, Chair of the College of Bishops, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Rev. Dr. Renita Weems, Ordained minister, Hebrew Bible Scholar, and Author 

Join NCC at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Nashville Airport for engaging dialogue, impactful and relevant speeches, and conversations with leading scholars, preachers, educators, and thought leaders! The registration fee for 2023 is $199.

Seminary students are eligible for a $100 discount by using the code "seminary."

For more information or to register, click the link here or above!

Congress Averted Shutdown, but Work Is Far from Done

Legislation approved by Congress and signed by the president late Saturday night provides the government with funding for an additional 45 days beyond the Sept. 30 deadline. The political showdown in the days leading up to the crucial vote was avoidable, in large part due to extremely partisan measures taken by a small group of members aimed at gridlocking Congress. Meanwhile, the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans working in public service and relying on critical programs and services provided by the federal government hung in the balance.


During the crisis, the National Council of Churches stepped up its advocacy efforts, urging Congress to work together to keep the government open. NCC staff participated in Capitol Hill and White House briefings, held conversations with key members of Congress, and mobilized its network through action alerts.


In a statement released by the NCC last week (see article below), NCC President/General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie said, “We call on Congress to pass adequate funding for the U.S. Government to function effectively. Without proper funding, critical services may be understaffed or unable to meet growing demands, leading to a decline in public welfare, public safety, and societal well being. We cannot afford to play ‘my way or the highway’ games with the lives and livelihood of millions of Americans.”


Although Congress averted an imminent government shutdown, the work is far from done. Members of Congress must pass a budget (in a series of appropriations bills) to fund the government for fiscal year 2024. NCC will continue to monitor the appropriations process and urge members of Congress to put aside partisan politics and toxic rhetoric and work together in the best interests of the American people.

NCC Calls Out Congress Amid

Government Shutdown Concerns

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is appalled by Members of Congress who have taken extreme measures and reneged on an agreement reached in June to raise the debt ceiling in return for spending caps. They are escalating political gamesmanship to even higher levels, much to the dismay of the American people who expect their duly elected members of Congress to lead in times of crisis.   

Amidst the political point scoring and increasing rancor of those disconnected from the realities of everyday Americans, the NCC hears the cries of the millions of families who are already suffering from a lack of basic human needs and would be further harmed by a government shutdown. We lament along with those who are suffering and call on Congress to pass legislation to keep the government open after current funding expires on September 30.   

NCC’s Governing Board Chair Bishop Teresa Snorton states that, “We must urge Congress now to prioritize passing legislation that ensures uninterrupted government functioning. Otherwise, the country fails to provide essential services to citizens, and weakens our nation's stability.”     

The effects of a government shutdown are far-reaching—preventing families living in poverty, including many military families, from accessing critical programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides food and nutrition for mothers and young children, and Head Start, an early learning and development program that supports children from birth to 5 years old.

A shutdown would also impact workers who are deemed “essential”— active-duty military personnel, air traffic controllers, and TSA agents, for example—who would be forced to work without pay. The added stress on these families threatens public safety by making staff recruitment and retention more difficult and exacerbating staffing shortages.  

In addition, hundreds of thousands of government workers—including those in cafeterias, clerical staff, civilian Pentagon staff, and training staff—will be furloughed. These workers form the backbone of our government, ensuring service delivery and supporting Members of Congress, the Judiciary, and the White House. Turning their backs on these people is a betrayal that gnaws at the commitment to public service of the American people.   

“We call on Congress to pass adequate funding for the U.S. Government to function effectively. Without proper funding, critical services may be understaffed or unable to meet growing demands, leading to a decline in public welfare, public safety, and societal well-being. We cannot afford to play 'my way or the highway' games with the lives and livelihood of millions of Americans.” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, NCC President and General Secretary.  

NCC urges people of faith to take a stand and voice their concerns by calling their elected representatives and writing letters of support for a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open until a budget can be negotiated and passed. Those in Congress who have embraced extremist viewpoints and abandoned the bipartisan budget agreement to keep the government funded leaving millions of Americans—especially the most vulnerable in our society—at risk of becoming destitute cannot go unchecked.   

This is an opportunity for us to strive together to make a difference and emphasize the importance of effective legislative action now for the betterment of our nation. With effective governance, we can safeguard against the negative consequences of political gridlock and provide a more secure future for all Americans.

US Heads of Communion Issue Urgent Call to

President Biden on Palestinian Christians

Ahead of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which took place on September 20, when both were present at the United Nations General Assembly, 21 heads of US churches and agencies wrote to President Biden bringing to his attention urgent concerns about the treatment of Palestinian Christians. Among the signatories were NCC President/General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

The letter reads, in part:

Palestinian Christians today represent the continuous Christian presence in the Holy Land that dates back two thousand years. They are an essential part of the rich tapestry of religious, cultural, and political life in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We believe the vitality and flourishing of this community is a critical element in efforts to realize your call for security, freedom, and prosperity, in equal measure, for all the people of the land. 

The Holy Land, a place of immense spiritual significance to Christians worldwide, is witnessing an alarming spike in targeted attacks against the indigenous Christian population, especially Christian clergy, but also against churches, cemeteries, and other sacred sites. These acts of hatred, which have increased in frequency over the years, not only inflict harm on innocent individuals and communities but also carry severe ramifications for Israel's international relations and damage its credibility when it purports to be a place of religious tolerance. We urgently request that you use the influence of your good office to call for swift and decisive action by Israel to hold perpetrators of these attacks accountable for their crimes so that this troubling reality might end. 

Additionally, we remain deeply concerned about the immediate legal threat facing the Mount of Olives that could strip the area’s control away from various Christian denominations, including the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Armenian Patriarchate, the Catholic Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The site holds immense spiritual significance for Christians globally, as it is the place where Jesus Christ spent his final days and ascended into heaven. 

Read the letter in its entirety here.

Jim Wallis: Congress Made Political Choice, Pushing Children into Poverty

In God's Politics with Jim Wallis on Substack, Wallis recently offered the following perspective on a recent Census Bureau report on the rise of poverty in America.

Choices – good and bad – are part of life. But poverty is usually not the result of bad choices people make. It’s the result of politicians making policy decisions.

The new Census Bureau report released on September 12 showed a dramatic rise in poverty in America, especially and most painfully among children. In just one year, the poverty rate has risen to 12.4% in 2022 from 7.8% percent in 2021.


Not because of the choices low-income families made, but because of choices made by members of Congress. This change reversed the real progress we were making in reducing child poverty.

Poverty, especially among children, increased because programs that provided aid to families during the COVID pandemic were allowed to expire.

Poverty among children more than doubled to 12.4% percent from a record low of 5.2% the year before, according to the Supplemental Poverty measure, which factors in the impact of government assistance and regional differences in the cost of living.

This stunning rise in child poverty follows two years of historically large declines, because of programs that were created or expanded during the pandemic.

Unemployment benefits, rental assistance and child care subsidies all helped. But perhaps most important was the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), which provided regular monthly payments to families with children. Research shows families used the extra money for essentials like groceries, rent, school supplies and medical expenses. What worked was direct payments to households!

Those are the facts. Also a fact: the decision to end critical help for our poorest families was made by politicians. Let’s be clear about who those politicians are: virtually all Republicans and a few Democrats, like Senator Joe Manchin. They made the choice to increase child poverty.

Christian Churches Together (CCT) Hosts Annual Forum

October 3–6 in Savannah, Ga.

Leaders from more than 30 church denominations and Christian organizations in the U.S. will gather in Savannah, Georgia for the annual Forum of Christian Churches Together (CCT) on October 3–6.  

“In our current climate of polarization, the differences that exist among Christians in the U.S. can seem insurmountable and divisive,” Executive Director, Monica Schaap Pierce commented. “But through Christian Churches Together, faith leaders learn to better understand, love, and reconcile with each other even when disagreements persist.”

Christian Churches Together (CCT) is one of the broadest Christian fellowships in the United States. In Savannah, representatives from its five “families” of churches—Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Black, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant—will engage in theological learning, spiritual reflection, shared worship in local churches including the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, and Christ Church Episcopal, and a prayer pilgrimage to the Historic Baptismal Trail in Riceboro, where as early as the 1840’s ancestors of local Gullah/Geechee communities baptized new members into the Christian faith.

One reason Savannah was chosen as the site for this year’s Forum is because of its rich Christian history—with churches ranging from the oldest Black church in the U.S. to the home base of John Wesley’s ministry during his time in the colonies.

Join the opening worship of the Forum at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Tuesday, October 3, at 7:30 pm.

More information is available here.

One Home One Future Virtual Launch, Oct. 4

ACLA Awards 2024 Nominees Sought

One Home One Future, a national multi-faith campaign for congregations and communities, is launching October 4!  NCC partner One Home One Future is a multifaith campaign to strengthen vitality, relevance, and community connection across generations in local congregations nationwide. It is a coalition effort of American faith denominations and organizations working for visible and collective climate action by faith leaders. The campaign will educate, activate, and empower clergy, congregants, youth, and all spiritual people in meaningful and just solutions locally, regionally, and nationally in ways that are accessible, positive, and empowering.

Register to participate in the virtual launch event here.


American Climate Leadership Awards Nominations Sought

The American Climate Leadership Awards 2024 (#ACLA24) is in its fifth year. The program recognizes leading local, state and national climate leadership programs with $175,000 in prizes. Please submit an application and spread the word. Apply today and nominate your favorite climate leaders! Nominations accepted until December 1. 


There is now also a separate awards program for high school students, the American Climate Leadership Awards for High School Students, with $125,000 additional awards to showcase the leadership of the next generation. High school students and their advisors can find that separate application form, or make a nomination here. We are accepting nominations until December 1. 


The fifth annual American Climate Leadership Awards seeks models of effective climate advocates and changemakers. If you know a climate champion or organization making a serious impact to mobilize Americans to curb climate change in a just equitable and inclusive way, please invite them to apply! We are seeking frontline communities, faith leaders, community organizers, teachers, high school students, youth, conservation efforts and many others. Find FAQs here.  


Twenty semi finalists will be awarded $1,000; eight finalists will receive $10,000; one runner up will receive $25,000; and the winner will receive $50,000! The high school student program has earmarked $25,000 for the winning application. Five applicants will take home $10,000 each and 10 high schoolers will be recognized with $5,000 awards. 


The deadline to apply is December 15, 2023. 


The 2024 ACLA Selection Committee is comprised of exemplary climate leaders. You can read more about those individuals here. 


Questions should be directed to Check out the 2023 awards ceremony here to learn about ACLA’s most recent group of finalists.

Free COVID Rapid Antigen Test Kits Available

Effective September 25, residential households in the U.S. can order one set of #4 free at-home tests from the United States Postal Service again. Please keep in mind:

  • Limit of one order per residential address

  • One order includes #4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests ( has more details about at-home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates)

  • Orders will ship free starting the week of October 2, 2023.

  • Click this link to order your free COVID test kits.

Jubilee USA Network Hosting Jubilee Weekend 2023

October 14–15

Developing countries continue to struggle with the havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic. This amid a polycrisis, where people everywhere are struggling to pay for food and electricity, are experiencing war or the domino effects of it, increased climate disasters, and more.

There's so much more that needs to be done to help redo the decades of progress that were undone, create a world where we all have enough, and ensure that our planet is healthy for our children and their children. Jubilee USA Network believes economic solutions are vital in surmounting these effects and enabling the most vulnerable to emerge from crises with resilience.


During the 2023 Jubilee Weekend, October 14–15, 2023 the Jubilee USA Network will begin to prepare the way for a momentous Jubilee Year in 2025. During Jubilee Weekend, the IMF, World Bank, and G20 will gather to make decisions that determine which direction the world will go to solve the polycrisis. As they continue trying to overcome the effects of COVID-19, their goal is to educate others about the debt crisis and call for increased Special Drawing Rights sharing from rich countries to poor countries, increased debt relief from all debt creditors, and a comprehensive, universal debt restructuring tool. 


Organizations can sign-up to participate using this link: Jubilee Weekend—Protecting the Vulnerable Amidst Multiple Crises: The Road to Jubilee 2025 or by contacting Anjoulie Woodhead, Communications and Outreach Director, by email at, or by phone at (202) 964-0134. 


They ask organizations to take one action during Jubilee Weekend and faith communities to offer one prayer. Review the Jubilee Weekend 2023 Guide here.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis Keynote Preacher for Creation Justice Ministries 40th Anniversary Celebration Service

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 Church1518 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. The keynote preacher is Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

The service will also be live-streamed. 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.

Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations (OGR) to Hold Advocacy Training Sessions

International Climate Advocacy Day – November 10, 12:00–1:30 p.m. EDT. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) 28 is rapidly approaching. During this conference, political leaders from around the world will gather to discuss the next steps in the global approach to climate change. One of the most crucial aspects of meeting the goals set in place by the COPs is advocating to the U.S. federal government. During this advocacy training, a progress overview will be given, as well as a report on what still needs to be done, tips for setting up and having meetings with elected officials, and more! Register here.

LBGTQIA2S+ Advocacy Days – November 7 (virtual), or 8–9 (in-person). Join the Office of Government Relations in one of two opportunities to advocate for federal protections for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions! Participants will first engage in a half-day of advocacy training to learn best practices, hear from Office of Government Relations staff, network with other Episcopalians, and connect with key coalition partners in the LGBTQIA2S+ advocacy space. Then, depending on the training attended, participants will be prepared for personal congressional office meetings. There are two ways to participate.

Join from 1:00-4:00 p.m. ET for a virtual advocacy training mirroring the in-person option. Participants will receive guidance on setting up virtual meetings with their members of Congress and/or in-district meetings with local staff. Advocacy meetings for this option do not need to take place on the same day and may extend into the following week.

The morning of November 8 will be the advocacy training, with that afternoon and the morning of November 9 reserved for potential congressional meetings. Participants should arrive in D.C. on November 7, and can begin leaving on November 9, after 3:00 p.m.

This Advent, journal your way to the birth of Jesus! Behold, What Wonder, the Advent volume in the NRSVue Bible Journal series, draws thirty key passages from Matthew, Luke, and elsewhere to inspire you to reflect on your own journey of faith. 

NRSVue Bible Journals are themed 30-day journals designed to inspire people in their life of faith and to encourage thoughtful engagement with the Bible through journaling.

Each journal is an elegant linen hardcover book containing more than 96 pages. The compact 4.5" x 7" size fits perfectly in the hand and makes it easy to carry on the go.

An excellent gift for yourself and others in this special season. Bulk discounts are available! Inquire by emailing

Employment Opportunities

NCC Seeks Marketing and Communication Officer

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) seeks a talented professional to drive the external and internal engagement of our ecumenical, advocacy, and activist agenda. This position offers an exciting opportunity to lead and implement strategic communications initiatives, from concept to reality, aimed at promoting NCC's vision, mission, and values. The Marketing and Communication Officer will manage the organization's overall communication and marketing strategy, including written and verbal communications, media relations, social media presence, and relationship building with key contacts in Washington D.C.

Joining NCC's team as a Marketing and Communication Officer offers a unique opportunity for a motivated and passionate individual to drive impactful external and internal communications strategies that advance our organization’s goals. If you are dedicated to utilizing your skills and experience to make a difference toward positive social change, NCC would love to hear from you.

Job Classification

Full-time exempt. Work is generally conducted Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This is a hybrid position with at least 1 to 2 days in office each week. Occasional evening and weekend availability may be required. Eligible for paid time off and retirement benefits. Salary range: $65,000 – $75,000.

To apply, click here.

• • • • • •

AETH Seeks Fundraiser and Development Associate

The Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH), a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, seeks a Fundraiser and Development Associate to build, manage, and engage prospects and donors in the United States and worldwide, especially in Spanish-speaking countries.

Salary is commensurate with experience in a similar position with the potential for an annual performance-based bonus. The salary for this part-time position is $35,000.00 annually and includes no benefits.


To apply, submit a resume, cover letter, and the names and contact of the three references to the Search Committee ( (AETH). Please explain in the cover letter your interest in the WETH and how your experience has prepared you for this position.


The priority application deadline is December 15, 2023. 

• • • • • •

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:

• • • • • •

 United Church of Christ Advocacy Positions

Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues (Full-Time) 

Application Close: October 13, 2023

Reports to Director of Washington, DC Office 

Starting Salary $83,000 

The Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues shall participate in and have primary responsibility for leading the work of the domestic public policy advocacy. The person in this position will regularly work in cooperation with the national staff of the United Church of Christ. The majority of the work will be carried out with ecumenical and interfaith groups in Washington, various settings of the United Church of Christ, and in secular coalitions. The Policy Advocate is expected to reside in the Washington metropolitan area.


To apply click here.


Policy Advocate for International Issues

Application Close: October 13, 2023

Starting Salary: $83,000 

The Policy Advocate for International Issues shall participate in and have responsibility for leading the work of international public policy advocacy of the United Church of Christ, National Ministries. The Policy Advocate will regularly work in cooperation with other National staff. Much of the work will be done with ecumenical and interfaith groups in Washington, DC, and with larger secular coalitions. The Policy Advocate is expected to reside in the Washington metropolitan area.


To apply click here.


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