Subject: NCC Newsletter: Remembrances Continue for Rep. John Lewis as He is Honored by the Nation

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Remembrances Continue for Rep. John Lewis as He is Honored by the Nation 

NCC Newsletter
July 31, 2020
Tumult, Tension, and These Times
Last week I took a much-needed vacation for which I have some feelings of guilt. I am keenly aware of the great privilege I have in this time of monumental crisis of being able to hold a paying job and take time off to recharge.

Since my return to work I have been wading through the hundreds of emails that have clogged my inbox during my time away, returning phone calls, participating in zoom meetings, and trying to catch up.

This has truly been a tumultuous and extraordinary year for all of us and more anguish faces us in the months to come. Racism suffuses our society, police violence is a daily reality, the President constantly lies, and a fraught election is approaching.

In the midst of the pain and anger that engulf the entire world I have been trying to concentrate on expressing my thanks to God for the lives of Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian and the hundreds of thousands of people who have given of themselves in protesting for peace and justice. 
I have been mindful of the countless acts of kindness and love being expressed by people all over the world towards those suffering from sickness and living in fear.

In the midst of this hot and tense summer, people of faith are standing up for justice and peace. I fear things will get much worse before they get better. In the United States, the coronavirus is not close to being under control. Tensions in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others are sky high.

Are we reaching a breaking point? I don’t know. I believe people of good will must exert every effort to hold things together. I believe our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques are seeking to do so.

An old friend of mine worked very near the World Trade Center and like many others had to quickly leave the area on September 11, 2001. He said the most frightening moment occurred when he was on the Brooklyn Bridge when the first tower fell. A stampede almost took place. However, a few people acted quickly to calm the panicked crowd and everyone made their way across the bridge safely.

This is a moment that requires each of us to dig deep, to pray intensely, to give of ourselves, to love and trust God and our neighbors, and to resist injustice. May this Kairos moment lead to a new era of harmony and peace.  

Additional Statements by Member Communions

Other Statements

Churches Join Together, Ring Bells to Honor John Lewis

(Religion News Service) - It’s not every day that the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals agree.

But for the day of Rep. John Lewis’ funeral, they have joined with other religious groups in calling for houses of worship to ring bells or sound their celebration of his life in some other way.

Joshua DuBois, founder and CEO of Values Partnerships, said more than 500 congregations have committed to an online request to ring bells for 80 seconds — 1 second for each year of the congressman’s life — during Lewis’ funeral, set for 11 a.m. Eastern Thursday (July 30) in Atlanta.

American Baptist Churches USA Call to Prayer Event Planned for August 5, Task Force Focused on Anti-Racism to Meet
The American Baptist Churches USA Board of General Ministries Executive Committee voted at its June 2020 meeting to reconstitute the task force on race and racial violence. The new task force will have an "anti-racism" focus. ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly recently shared the following definition of anti-racism, "Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably (NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity)."

To begin this work, the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary will sponsor a Call to Prayer event on Wednesday, August 5 at 2:00pm EDT.

The San Francisco Interfaith Council Denounces the Defacing of The Krouzian Zekarian Vasbouragan (KZV) Armenian School and Community Center
Early this morning [July 24] the staff of the Krouzian Zekarian Vasbouragan (KZV) Armenian School on Brotherhood Way in San Francisco arrived to discover that during the previous night the school had been defaced with offensive messages intended to incite ethnic violence and intimidate and terrorize the Armenian-American community of the Bay Area. These messages included pointed threats and graphic vulgarities.

In the face of this bold aggression, the San Francisco Interfaith Council stands united with the KZV School and Armenian Community of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area in denouncing these destructive, bigoted and politically motivated acts of violence.
National Council of Church, Veterans Administration, Hold Webinar on Spirituality and Suicide Prevention

NCC is partnering with the Veterans Administration's Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative to present a webinar on Spirituality and Suicide Prevention. The event will take place on Wednesday August 26 from 2pm to 3:30pm ET. Advance registration is required. Click below to register.
Watch Online: ACT Now Event on the Politics of Death in the U.S.

NCC, as part of its ACT Now Anti-Racism initiative, held an online necropolitics, the politics of death, in the U.S. as exposed by the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about how structures perpetuate the devaluation of people and determine who is expendable. 
Watch Online: COVID-19 and Challenges in the Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University and the National Council of Churches USA are pleased to present the first of a series of webinars highlighting some of these ecclesial challenges. The discussion highlights how the Church is striving to meet these challenges, as well as the opportunity arising from this task for the Orthodox churches to do this ministry together.

COVID is Spreading in Prisons and Immigration Detention: Tell Congress to Act Now!

It has been nearly six months since the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, federal authorities responsible for incarcerating hundreds of thousands of people continue to ignore the risk. Act now to tell the Congress to mandate the release of vulnerable people who are incarcerated in prison or immigration detention!
Pennsylvania Council of Churches Seeks Executive Director
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches (PCC), with offices in Harrisburg, PA, seeks full-time Executive Director to lead the PCC in addressing the issues facing the Christian community. The successful candidate will be a skilled and committed ecumenist combining broad scriptural/theological scholarship, passion for and demonstrated experience in ecumenism with strong leadership and relationship-building skills.
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