Subject: NCC Newsletter: Our Voices During This Transformation

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Our Voices During This Transformation

NCC Newsletter
January 22, 2021
Guide Us to Heal
Earlier this week, on the eve of President Biden’s inauguration, I was blessed to be part of an online ecumenical prayer service. Here is what I said:

Tonight our most fervent and heart-felt prayers go forth from this vigil as we beseech God’s help. We are a nation and a world in need of healing, healing from the pandemic that has ravaged our people, disrupted normal life, and claimed the lives of millions across the globe; healing from racial and economic injustice and healing for our planet from the damage we have inflicted on it.

We ask this night for divine guidance for those in positions of power and respect the world over; grant special knowledge and faith to them when decisions must be made about war and peace, about control and consequences, about morality that informs politics and economics. In these perilous times when mistrust and misunderstanding roam the world and we are surrounded by darkness and doubt, guide our leaders in government, our nurses and doctors, bishops and pastors, faithful lay leaders, and those who teach our children.

Let us never forget God is in us, God is with us, God is for us, God works through us and where God is, God always wins in the end. Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Call for Extension of New START Treaty
On January 19, 2021, NCC joined with many of our member communions to call for an immediate five-year extension of the New START treaty, in order to avoid a nuclear crisis interfering with the other urgent priorities facing the nation and the world -- from containing the pandemic to restarting the economy. Equally, a five-year extension would provide a period of predictability for new negotiations on further steps to reduce nuclear dangers. The signatories can be found on the NCC website.
NCC Endorses Statement on the TPNW
NCC joined the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in endorsing an interfaith statement on ‘The Entry into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)’, and joined with many other renowned faith-based organizations from around the world in signing the interfaith statement.

The United Nations (UN) Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), a legally binding instrument, is a decisive step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. It includes a set of prohibitions and undertakings that prevent the development, testing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons. 
The TPNW was adopted with the support of 122 states in 2017 and is set to come into force on January 22, 2021. To mark the historic and ground-breaking moment, several interfaith organizations released a joint statement that reaffirmed the moral, ethical, and theological imperatives and importance of the global disarmament movement.

The joint interfaith statement espouses, “As people of faith, we believe that the possession, development, and threat to use nuclear weapons is immoral…these technologies are part of structures and systems that bring about great suffering and destruction. We commit, therefore, to the ethical and strategic necessity of working together for economic and social justice, right relationship with the Earth, and accountability and restoration where there is violence and harm.”

The TPNW recognises the damage wrought on people and the environment by the use or testing of nuclear weapons; it requires nations to implement the required remedial measures to rectify all harm.

The statement concludes with the declaration: “At this historic moment, we must act decisively to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation, and common security.”

Faith & Fire Conversations
"Birth of a New Nation: Interfaith Dialogue as Model for Building Unity" was broadcast on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 with panelists: Rabbi Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Erica Littlewolf, Indigenous Visioning Circle Program Coordinator, Mennonite Central Committee, member of Northern Cheyenne Nation; and Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. You can watch the episode on the NCC YouTube channel.

Our Faith & Fire Conversations were scheduled weekly through January 19th. Since the series has been immensely popular, future episodes are being considered. Watch this space for announcements on these courageous conversations! 

You can watch all the episodes on NCC's YouTube channel or listen to each as a podcast on NCC's podcast station.
Interfaith Prayer Service of Reflection, Lament, and Hope
In case you missed it, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), in partnership with the Washington Interfaith Staff Community (WISC), held an Interfaith Prayer Service for members of Congress, their staffs, and all who work at and protect the U.S. Capitol building.

In case you missed it, the video of the public portion of the service, the Order of Worship, and some of the prayers are now posted on the NCC website. We hope you find these special words of healing as comforting as we did!

Jim Winkler Featured on Religica Podcast
"We have to address white supremacy, we have to address a legacy of racism, we have to deal with reparations ... This is God's justice. We're getting on the right side of God when we're working for racial justice." ~ Jim Winkler

Michael Reid Trice converses with Jim in this Religica episode entitled, "Race and Religion in the Post-Election" where they discuss religion in the post-election, the religious pulse, and responding to racism.

NCC Represented at the 2021 Inauguration Ceremony
Rev. Dr. Sylvester Beaman, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware, delivered the benediction during the swearing-in ceremony for President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris on Wednesday. He prayed:

“As a nation and people of faith gathered in this historic moment, let us unite in prayer. God, we gather under the beauty of your holiness and the holiness of your beauty. We seek your face, your smile, your warm embrace. We petition you once more in the celebration. We pray for divine favor upon our president, Joseph R. Biden, and our First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden and their family. We further ask that you would extend the same favor upon our vice president, Kamala D. Harris, and our second gentleman, Doug Emhoff and their family. More than ever, more than ever, they and our nation need you. We need you for in you we discover our common humanity. In our common humanity we will seek out the wounded and bind their wounds. We will seek healing from those who are sick and diseased. We will mourn our dead. We will befriend the lonely, the least, and the left out. We will share our abundance with those who are hungry. We will do justly to the oppressed. Acknowledge sin, and seek forgiveness, thus grasping reconciliation. In discovering our humanity, we will seek the good in and for all our neighbors. We will love the unlovable. Remove the stigma of the so-called untouchables. We will care for our most vulnerable, our children, the elderly, the emotionally challenged, and the poor. We will seek rehabilitation beyond correction. We will extend opportunity to those locked out of opportunity. We will make friends of our enemies. We will make friends of our enemies. People, your people, shall no longer raise up weapons against one another. We would rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and goodwill to the world and neither shall we learn hatred anymore. We will lie down in peace, not make our neighbors afraid. In you, O God, we discover our humanity. In our humanity we discover our commonness beyond the difference of color, creed, origin, political party, ideology, geography, and personal preferences. We’ll become greater stewards of your environment, preserving the land, reaping from it a sustainable harvest, and securing its wonder and miracle giving power for generations to come. This is our benediction, that from these hallowed grounds, where slaves labored to build this shrine and citadel to liberty and democracy, let us all acknowledge from the indigenous Native Americans to those who recently received their citizenship, from the African-Americans to those whose foreparents came from Europe and every corner of the globe, from the wealthy to those struggling to make it, from every human being regardless of their choices, that this is our country. As such, teach us, O God. As such, teach us, O God. To live in it, love in it, be healed in it, and reconciled to one another in it, lest we miss the kingdom's goal. To Your glory, majesty, dominion and power forever. Hallelujah. Glory, hallelujah. In the strong name of our collective faith, Amen.”

NCC Participation in the National Prayer Service
On Thursday, January 21, 2021, the National Cathedral hosted a virtual National Prayer Service for the 59th Presidential Inaugural, in partnership with the Presidential Inaugural Committee. President Biden and Vice President Harris joined the online service from the White House.

Participants from NCC member communions included:

The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington

The Very Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean, Washington National Cathedral

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, New York, New York

The Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois

The Reverend Dr. Gregory Knox Jones, Senior Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, Delaware

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Prelate, Tenth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dallas, Texas

The Reverend Robert W. Fisher, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, District of Columbia

The Reverend Dr. Cynthia L. Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, Georgia

Bishop William J. Barber II, DMin, President, Repairers of the Breach and Co-chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Goldsboro, North Carolina

The Reverend Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan, Canon for Worship, Washington National Cathedral

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church, Raleigh, North Carolina

Congratulations to Shanta Ready-Alonso
The Department of the Interior today announced that Shantha Ready-Alonso will be the Director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs. As a key member of agency’s leadership, she will work to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s agenda to build back better and address the four intersecting challenges of our time: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. Shantha was the recipient of the 2020 National Council of Churches USA J. Irwin Miller Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership award and most recently was Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries. From 2008-2013, she worked for the NCC doing young adult, anti-poverty, and eco-justice ministries and then went on to lead the community mobilization efforts of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.
From Our Partners:
Worldwide Prayer for Christian Unity
Traditionally, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated from January 18-25, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, especially in the northern hemisphere. 

Join the World Council of Churches in a global ecumenical prayer on Monday, January 25, 2021 at 8AM Eastern Time (14:00 Central European Time).

The theme for 2021 is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.”

Conversation on Christian Nationalism
Democracy and Faith Under Siege: Responding to Christian Nationalism will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2019 at 4:30 pm ET/ 3:30 pm CT. What does Christian nationalism look like in our world today? How can we respond when we see our faith and democracy under siege? Join a timely conversation on these issues with:

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Dr. Andrew Whitehead, Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis
Moderator: Amanda Tyler, executive director of BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty).

Free and open to all.
National Compliment Day
Community of Christ invites us to participate in National Compliment Day in the USA on Sunday, January 24, 2021 and explain, “The power of a compliment is pretty remarkable: either giving or receiving one can boost your happiness and confidence — making the act a win-win. You never know when someone could use some good vibes, so spread the positivity by giving someone a reason to smile!” Here’s how:
• Compliment a stranger
• Spread the good vibes on social media by using #NationalComplimentDay
• Challenge friends, family and coworkers to compliment at least one person. 

Job Listing

Co-Director of Racial Justice - The Minnesota Council of Churches seeks a Co-Director of Racial Justice. The Program Director partners with the fund development for these program areas, and manages financial budgeting/reporting for programs in this area. The Program Director participates in the creation of public messaging of the program, and is responsible for the implementation of that messaging in cooperation with MCC Director of Communications in social media, website, and the Council’s e-newsletter. The Program Director may represent the Council and the programs/projects in outside coalitions and groups, and may be called upon to speak on behalf of the Council and the program. MN Council of Churches is a premiere statewide council constituted by its 27 member Historical Black Church, Mainline Protestant, Pentecostal, and Orthodox judicatories. Program growth and expansion has broadened the Council’s reach and capacity to fulfill its mission to manifest the unity in the body of Christ, and to build the common good in the world. Application link and instructions can be found at:

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