Subject: NCC Newsletter: Preparing Poll Chaplains, Uprooting Christian Nationalism, and WCC-Russian Orthodox Consultation

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Preparing Poll Chaplains, Uprooting Christian Nationalism, and WCC-Russian Orthodox Consultation

NCC Newsletter
October 21, 2022

National Council of Churches Partners to Prepare Poll Chaplains
The National Council of Churches believes that Poll Chaplains are a vital resource as they "stand in the gap" to help ensure free, fair, and safe elections that protect the most vulnerable citizens during this election season. With early voting already having started in many states, Poll Chaplains will provide a powerful moral presence while also answering voters' practical questions as they seek to cast their ballots informatively.

“Now more than ever we need positive prophetic peaceful presence at the polls” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Interim President/General Secretary, who participated in the inaugural Poll Chaplain training. “There are now more than 600 persons trained to volunteer, equipped with toolkits and resources so no one feels alone adrift in a sea of intimidation tactics.”

Also participating in the inaugural training was Ms. Armandi Eaddy, National Coordinator, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law; Rev. Terrance McKinley, Director of Racial Justice Mobilizing, Sojourners; Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Faiths United to Save Democracy; the Honorable Constance Newman, Skinner Institute; Rev. Jim Wallis, Center for Faith and Politics at Georgetown University; and, Mr. Eli McCarthy, DC Peace Team.

The National Council of Churches has partnered with Faiths United to Save Democracy (FUSD), Sojourners, Center for Faith and Justice at Georgetown, and the National African American Clergy Network on this effort. There is still time to sign up to serve as a Poll Chaplain, especially in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. For more information go to

A final required one-hour Poll Chaplain training is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25th (4-5 pm/EST), followed by an optional De-escalation training (5-6 -pm/EST) to help poll chaplains peacefully handle conflicts that may arise at polling sites.

Register for the Training at:

Are You All In? 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

During Voting Rights Month in September, the National Council of Churches issued 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 trusts. It was a hard-fought right and is a present hard-fight right now in our country.

NCC Voter Empowerment initiative has partnered with our communions and others to provide a Voter Resource Guide and Voter Toolkit from Faiths United to Save Democracy that contains information for a church-based plan of action. On each 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. Included are ideas to stimulate conversations at church and at home.

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

NCC and Religions for Peace Co-Sponsor Upcoming Event on Christian Nationalism
Event announcement for RFP USA and NCC - Christian Nationalism and Ongoing Threat to Democracy in US October 27 2pm ET.
CUG Session Explores Nexus of Racism, White Supremacy, and Christian Nationalism; Efforts of Faith Leaders to Uproot
ICYMI: This year’s annual Christian Unity Gathering provided a look at White Christian Nationalism. A horrific nexus has formed, merging racism, white supremacy, Christian Nationalism, and violence, have increased deserves our attention and response. Shootings involving white supremacists have become disturbingly more frequent and many involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol espouse the belief that the US should be an explicitly and exclusive Christian nation. The final session of NCC's recent Christian Unity Gathering examined how some leaders are working to fight racism and push back against White Christian Nationalism and what needs to be done next.

Panelists included Rev. Dr. Willie D. Francois III, Rev. William Lamar, Amanda Tyler, Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, and Dr. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz. The discussion explored the revolutionary and inclusive nature of Jesus' ministry, the concept of whiteness, the psychology behind Christian Nationalism, the role of Western concepts of Christian Nationalism in Russia's war against Ukraine, and how Christians can push back against Christian Nationalism.

You can watch the session now on NCC's YouTube channel at

NCC Joins Faith Groups to Call for Restraint to Avoid Nuclear Catastrophe
On October 13, NCC joined 27 other faith groups in a letter sent to President Joe Biden calling on him to exercise restraint and use diplomacy to resolve ongoing tensions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The letter highlights the threat of nuclear war to all human life regardless of nationality. It also highlights the harmful effects of even a limited nuclear exchange on a climate already in crisis.

Some of the groups joining NCC on the letter included the Alliance of Baptists, Church of the Brethren, Moravian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, California Council of Churches, and Pennsylvania Council of Churches.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, WCC Acting General Secretary Meet in Moscow, Agreeing that War Cannot Be Holy
From the World Council of Churches

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Father Ioan Sauca met on 17 October in Moscow, discussing how churches are called to be peacemakers.

In addition to a public conversation, Patriarch Kirill and Fr. Sauca had their own private audience to discuss Orthodox matters.

Patriarch Kirill welcomed the guests, saying: “I appreciate that you have come to Russia in these hard times to meet with me and my people and talk about the difficult international relations we live in and are confronted with today which naturally affects our inter-church relations, as well.”

Fr. Sauca thanked the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for the meeting, and said: “The members of our fellowship are looking with great interest and hope to this visit,” explaining that the WCC delegation came to Moscow because of a mandate from the WCC central committee to visit WCC member churches with “bleeding wounds.” Those visits have included the Middle East—Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine—and then Ukraine, and now Russia.

Prayer Vigil for Brittney Griner
A prayer vigil to support Griner will take place Monday, October 24 through Thursday, October 28. This second vigil is being hosted by the Global Prayer Network and 400 Years Celebration, Inc. On Tuesday, August 16, NCC joined Faith for Black Lives to hold a virtual interfaith event and vigil, “Justice for Brittney Griner Prayer Vigil.” The group prayed for Griner, her family, her teammates, and all persons who face unjust sentencing. Griner has been held in a Russian prison with very little contact with her family for more than 200 days.

Be sure to review the accompanying flier for more information or visit or email
Death Penalty Abolition Groups Active Amidst Uptick in Executions
Groups that oppose the death penalty in Oklahoma and Missouri are responding to an alarming increase in number of executions scheduled in the near future.

In Oklahoma, groups including Death Penalty Action and the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty have been busy with the state setting dates for 25 executions through 2024. Benjamin Cole was executed Thursday October 20 despite pleas from his attorneys that he suffered from schizophrenia and severe mental illness. Cole's petition to the US Supreme Court was rejected. Early this month, Rodney Reed's attorneys presented his case to the US Supreme Court as well. Reed's family and faith leaders stood vigil outside the court during the hearing. Reed has maintained his innocence since his conviction and has sought, with the help of groups such as the Innocence Project, to have DNA evidence examined that may provide proof of innocence. You can learn more and take action at or

In Missouri, clergy are organizing in support Kevin Johnson as he is scheduled to be executed on November 29. They will hold a meeting on October 25 to plan actions in support of clemency. Those wishing to join in action can register at More information about Johnson's case and clemency request can be found at
Accessing Aid for Communities Affected by Hurricane Ian
Resources for Persons Impacted by Hurricane Ian
For resources you can use and share with communities affected by Hurricane Ian, please visit where you can:

(1) Apply for assistance
(2) Get state-specific resources for Florida and South Carolina
(3) Obtain post-storm safety tips
(4) Read about how to stop post-disaster rumors and scams
(5) Access disaster-related tools
(6) Learn about ways to volunteer and donate

EITC Added to GetCTC’s Simplified Filing Tool - Deadline to File November 15
From now until November 15, eligible GetCTC clients in the 50 states and D.C., will be able to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) using a simplified filing tool. To claim the EITC, clients will have to provide W2 paperwork, which they do not have to provide to only claim the Child Tax Credit or missing third stimulus payment. The tool’s income limits remain the same: clients must earn less than $12,550 single or $25,100 married, and have less than $400 in self-employment income.

All clients directed to will be given the option to choose if they want to add W2s for this additional money. Clients who select this option will be asked a few additional EITC qualifying questions and guided through entering their W2s. By reporting information from their W2s, clients will also be able to claim their federal tax withholding. Any client who chooses not to add their W2s or is ineligible for the EITC (including filers in Puerto Rico) can use GetCTC exactly as they always have. For more information about EITC functionality in GetCTC, watch this updated recorded GetCTC demo.

This critical program through GetCTC gets more money to families who need it. But this functionality is also an experiment. GetCTC will be tracking clients' experiences carefully to learn more about the barriers and to help advocacy efforts for key next steps in filing reforms.

Now is the time to do everything you can to send families to Updated outreach materials, available in 11 languages, can be found here.

Correction: In October 15 edition of the newsletter, Dr. Tammy Wiens name was misspelled in the article “CUS Member, Dr. Mozella Mitchell, Receives NCC President’s Award.” We sincerely apologize for the error.

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