Subject: NCC Newsletter: Responding to the Attack on the U.S. Capitol

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Responding to the Attack on the U.S. Capitol

NCC Newsletter
January 8, 2021
End of the Trump Era
After four long years of a White House marked by depravity, racism, cruelty, white supremacy, and incompetence, the tide has turned and numerous Trump supporters and officials are scurrying to depart from the wreckage. A few are resigning and some have denounced the riot that overran the Capitol this week.

I have worked across the street from the Capitol for 35 years and have attended many meetings and events there over the years. I will never forget the fear that gripped us on September 11, 2001, as thousands fled the scene. At the United Methodist Building, we invited Capitol Police to come inside for a glass of water, to call their loved ones, and to rest. On that day, the attack was from without. On January 6, it came from within. 

The area around the Capitol has become increasingly militarized over the past several decades. I have always found it disturbing. Armed guards have a tendency to swagger and glare and exclude. I have participated in numerous protests in and around the Capitol over the years and have always been in the presence of heavily armed police. I join with others in saying that were it a group of Black and Brown protestors who surged over the barricades and smashed the windows two days ago, dozens if not hundreds would have been shot dead and thousands would have been arrested.

Instead, a relative handful of White supremacists were arrested and the mob ran freely across the Capitol grounds. I am sickened by what I saw and I am even more disturbed by the fact this was orchestrated and encouraged by the president of the United States.

As calls for Trump’s immediate removal mount—and I support them—and as the examination of his horrible presidency takes on additional momentum, I hope we will not spare Trump’s so-called evangelical advisory board from scrutiny. This shadowy group enabled and encouraged Trump throughout this disastrous term in office.

They laid hands on him and described him as an instrument of God’s will. They arrogated to themselves the right to speak for Christians. They happily excluded other Christian voices, even less extreme evangelical forces, from having access to Trump. They never said a word against Trump’s racism, his hatred of immigrants, his destruction of the environment, and his favoritism of the rich. They were court prophets who sanctioned all he did.

In early 2010, I spoke to two evangelical leaders who candidly shared with me that they had been invited to the Obama White House more frequently in less than 18 months than they had in the entire 8 years of George W. Bush’s presidency even though the image they presented to the public was one of unrivalled access and influence. 

It was the practice of the Obama administration to invite the entire panoply of American religion to the White House. Not so under President Trump. His White House was sealed tight against any dissenting voices and this contributed to his paranoia and loss of contact with reality. His evangelical advisors never challenged that and they bear some measure of responsibility for what has unfolded even though many of them will now claim, I assure you, that they never really had any influence.

We will soon return to a more appropriate relationship between the faith community and the Biden-Harris administration. The state will not and should not seek to control people of faith nor should people of faith seek to control the state. But, people of faith must speak truth to power and those in power have a responsibility to listen. 

There will always be sycophants who will tell the president whatever he or she wants to hear—we’ve just witnessed that over the past four years from the evangelical advisory council—but at its best the faith community speaks on behalf of the last, the least, and the lost, on behalf of the voiceless and marginalized, and on behalf of the common good.

Grace and Peace,

“See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.”
Psalm 7:14-16 (NRSV)

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) condemns and repudiates the actions of pro-Trump protesters today, who instead of exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, have put people’s lives in danger, made a mockery of the American democratic process and the rule of law, vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulted law enforcement officers and threatened the safety of members of Congress, staffers and others who work at the Capitol building. Chaos reigns, guns have been drawn, and our democracy is under siege. This is outrageous, unacceptable, shameful and a disgrace. Every effort must be made by law enforcement to restore order immediately.

While we support nonviolent protests, and have often organized and participated in them, demonstrators desecrating the Capitol and disrupting our fair democratic process cannot be tolerated or go unpunished. All who have been involved in today’s riots, those who participated as well as those who have incited this violence, must be held accountable.

“NCC staff, who work across the street from the Capitol, are safe and secure, although we are outraged and heartbroken at these drastic turn of events,” stated Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary. “We are keenly aware from our own experience that what is taking place is a profound breakdown in security and is beyond anything we have ever seen before.”

In addition, we are deeply concerned by President Trump’s efforts to remain in power that have led to today’s violence. We fervently denounce President Trump for the role he has played in provoking this situation by encouraging and attending a “Stop the Steal” rally earlier today, continuing to lie about the results of the election and refusing to concede and accept the election’s outcome. At the rally, which was held to reject the certified results of the November 3, 2020 election, he urged the crowd to protest his loss and posted derogatory comments on social media about Vice President Pence who he pressured to overturn the results of the election, something he had no authority to do.

On this day intended to ceremonially accept the vote of the people, many Republican members of Congress also attempted to disregard the votes of nearly 82 million Americans. These votes were carefully counted votes in the states and withstood more than 60 legal challenges. Elected officials can’t be allowed to pick and choose the votes they want to be counted. All votes count.

We are particularly disturbed by and aware that the votes that are being contested are those that have been legally cast by Black and Brown people in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. These actions have proven once again that the vestiges of racism and white supremacy are still affecting and infecting our democracy. We must increase our efforts to end the scourge on our society, which not only impacts people of color but is detrimental to democracy itself.

In the midst of the violent attack on the Capitol, we are grieved to learn someone lost their life. We mourn her death and we pray no one else will be injured.

We are issuing this statement as events are unfolding. All avenues should be explored to make sure this ends today and there are no further deaths, violent actions or attacks on our government. We are anxious and deeply concerned about two weeks more of this behavior. The rhetoric and efforts to overturn our fair election must immediately end. As soon as Congress reconvenes, they must explore all options to make sure President Trump is not permitted to continue to overturn the election results nor are efforts permitted to disrupt the inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration. History will eventually tell this story and judge all involved in scorching our democracy but all those responsible must be held accountable today.

We at the NCC are praying for the safety of our members of Congress and that peace will fully be restored. We also pray that we will take the necessary steps and do the hard work so that this never happens again.


January 8, 2021

Our faith instructs us to take seriously positions of leadership, not to lead others astray and to be careful about what we say and do. In Philippians 2:3-4 we are taught to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

President Donald J. Trump’s actions and words have endangered the security of the country and its institutions of government by inciting a violent, deadly, seditious mob attack at the U.S. Capitol. His words and actions have placed the lives of the people he is supposed to serve in grave danger to advance his own interests. Further, he not only failed to stop or condemn the attack after the Capitol had been stormed but instead encouraged the mob by calling them patriots. This domestic terrorist attack resulted in at least five deaths, including a Capitol Police Officer, and more than a dozen police officers injured. The desecration of the Capitol building was also disgraceful and reprehensible.

For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation’s wounds, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system.

In addition, we recognize the need to hold responsible not only those who invaded the Capitol, but also those who supported and/or promoted the President’s false claims about the election, or made their own false accusations.

We grieve for our country at this difficult time and continue to pray for the safety and security, and ultimately the healing of our nation. Holding those who have abused their power and participated in these immoral and tragic actions, in particular the President of the United States, is one step toward healing. 


Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President
National Council of Churches

Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Chair, National Council of Churches Governing Board

Bishop W. Darin Moore
Presiding Bishop, AME Zion Church
Immediate Past Chair, National Council of Churches

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Vice Chair, National Council of Churches

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Dr. Néstor Gómez,
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Director of Partnership Relations
Alliance of Baptists

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Bishop Sally Dyck, Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Ecumenical Staff Officer
The United Methodist Church

Rev. Eddy Alemán, General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Rev. Jane Siebert, President
Swedenborgian Church of North America

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate
The Armenian Church, Eastern Diocese of America

Dr. Kimberly Brooks
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Richard Tafel
Swedenborgian Church

Carole Collins, Director of Operation
Alliance of Baptists

Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell
Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson
Chair, Conference of National Black Churches

Stephen M. Veazey, President (Head of Communion)
Community of Christ

His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod
Assyrian Church of the East

Bishop Francis Krebs, Presiding Bishop
Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Rev. Dr. James Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Please join us by signing at this link:
NCC Policy Priorities for 2021
If you missed our list of faith-driven advocacy priorities for 2021, the information can be found on our website: 2021 Faith-driven Advocacy Priorities.
Join Our 40 Days of Prayer to Transform
Even though we have begun this "Journey to Newness," you can still join us in daily prayer! From now through January 20th, members of the National Council of Churches and our communion partners will offer prayers for hope, unity, and healing. Please join for “40 Days of Prayer to Transform.” We put our hope in the ability and desire of God, through Jesus Christ, to heal and transform hearts and minds. We look for the Holy Spirit to breathe God’s newness into individual lives, faith communities, the soul of our nation, indeed, the whole world. Sign up to receive a daily prayer email. The prayers are also published on our website.

This Week's Faith & Fire Conversation

“New Year, Who ‘Dis: No More of the Same Old Stuff!” aired on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 with panelists: 
  • Rev. Shazetta Thompson-Hill – Assoc. Pastor at Christian Chapel Temple of Faith CME, Dallas, TX; 
  • Derrick Lewis, II – National Field Organizer for the NAACP Youth and College Division.
  • Moderators: Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq. and Min. Christian S. Watkins.
  • (Unfortunately, Abigail Scholar – Executive Director of Central Washington Justice for Our Neighbors could not attend.)
The next Conversation, “Where We Are Going: Spiritual Sustenance for the Journey Ahead” will be recorded on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Register to participate in the Zoom webinar at 1pm ET. The episode will be broadcast on NCC's Facebook and YouTube channels at 7pm ET.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2021
Save the date for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2021 on April 18-21. Join us as we gather online to Imagine! God's Earth and People Restored. Together. We will passionately advocate and reimagine a world that lives out the values of justice, equity, and the beloved community.

Since 2003, people of faith who are passionate about peace and justice have gathered in Washington, DC, annually to learn, to network, and to advocate. Current events have always shaped our themes and agendas. Now current events are reshaping EAD itself. You are needed, now more than ever, to join us in gathering the voices of the dispersed EAD community and lifting them together to continue the work of Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

We are excited about new opportunities that open up as we redesign the event for a virtual space, making it possible for more people to participate. We are planning to bring EAD to you in new ways, to help you energize your efforts locally. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for Faith Leaders
New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) is offering a series of training webinars based on faith. 

The presentations include separate webinars on the Pandemic Toolkit & Vaccine Updates specifically for different faith traditions including Black Christian, Jewish, Traditional African, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist & Hindu, and Latino Christian Leaders. One webinar is designed for Religious Leaders in Any Tradition.

From Our Partners
African Americans & Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations & Communities
The Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum invites you to attend the book launch and webinar, "African Americans & Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations & Communities." Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 6 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern. This Zoom webinar 
is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation. Register:
Brethren Press Publishing "We Bear It in Tears"

Brethren Press is publishing a book in which Nigerian Brethren who have suffered violence at the hands of Boko Haram tell of their experiences and their heartache. Titled “We Bear It in Tears,” the book is a collection of interviews recorded by Carol Mason, with photographs by Donna Parcell. 

Mason recorded the interviews from Feb. 16-March 29, 2017. Each person who was interviewed was asked “Where were you when the Boko Haram attacked?” and “How did it affect you?” The people who were interviewed represented a wide variety of experiences and various populations and areas of northeast Nigeria.

“Together they are a significant effort at establishing a sustainable peace in Nigeria,” said the Brethren Press description of the book.

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has suffered untold violence. Hundreds of thousands of EYN members have been displaced at one time or another over the course of the Boko Haram insurgency. Tens of thousands Nigerian Brethren have been abducted or killed, including the 276 girls abducted from the school in Chibok in 2014. Hundreds of churches have been looted and burned.

“The outside world has seen the pictures and tallied the numbers but has not truly heard from those affected by the violence,” said the Brethren Press description. “This book attempts to share the experiences of those involved in the crisis of northern Nigeria and gives voice to the women, men, and children who have suffered. By hearing their stories, we share their burden of tears. By seeing their faces, we witness an enduring faith and a commitment to nonviolence. These are not merely symbols of violence, but individuals with real stories, real families, and real pain.”

Job Listing

Development Manager - Catholic Volunteer Network (Takoma Park, Md.) is in search of a Development Manager to help envision and lead CVN’s development strategies during a time of organizational transition and discernment. We are seeking a development professional who can help us understand and pursue opportunities allowing our mission and programming to be increasingly informed by a commitment to social justice, racial justice, and equity. The ideal candidate will bring creativity and excitement about new opportunities. He/she will be able to quickly understand organizational needs and industry trends and offer strategic input. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to: Yonce Shelton, Executive Director, at with “Development Manager” in the title. We strongly encourage you to apply by Jan. 20, 2021 to ensure consideration for this position. No phone calls please.

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