Subject: NCC Newsletter – September 2, 2023


September 2, 2023

Registration is now open!

Click HERE for more information.

Faith Leaders Urge President Biden to
End Soft Genocide in Artsakh

This week, NCC President/General Secretary Bishop Vashti McKenzie joined 41 member communions and faith-based organization heads in appealing to President Joe Biden to end the soft genocide occurring among the people of Artsakh. A copy of the letter was sent to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

Dear President Biden,

We write as leaders of Christian communions and agencies in the United States with grave concerns over the continuing blockade of the people of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh. Through our ecumenical and global ecclesial partnerships and ties, we have long and deep connections with the Armenian people, especially through the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Evangelical (Protestant) Church. These relationships have intensified our awareness of the crisis in Artsakh over these past two years, particularly the immediate crisis of recent days and weeks.

We urge you to use the influence of your good offices to seek an immediate end to the devastating Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin Corridor, which is the only point of access to more than 120,000 Armenians who live there and whose families have resided there for centuries. Of the 120,000 Armenians at risk, 9,000 of them are people with disabilities, 20,000 of them are elderly, and 30,000 of them are children, particularly vulnerable to the effects of starvation.


A report released on August 8 by Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, concluded that “There is a reasonable basis to believe that a genocide is being committed.” The report continued, stating that “Starvation is the invisible genocide weapon. Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks.” The blockade prevents the delivery of food, water, medical supplies, fuel, and other essentials for the population there to survive. It also has cut off internet access for communications. Further, there is no access into or out of the area, including for international agencies like the Red Cross.


Well-respected international figures and organizations such as UN Special Rapporteurs, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Freedom House, and the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention have all spoken in support of the people of Artsakh, decrying their plight, and urging action.


The National Council of Churches in the USA has spoken of the urgency of this issue as well. In a November 2020 statement lamenting the continuing military assault in Artsakh, US church leaders wrote, “Leaders of the nation of Armenia have appealed to regional and global powers to use their leverage to bring peace and relief. The militarization of the area has only served the interests of outside powers, and not the interest of the people who live there.”

Paul writes in the first letter to the people of Corinth, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.” We are acutely aware of the suffering of the Christian Armenian community in Artsakh. We must stand in solidarity with the people there, and it is our duty to advocate for their rights and their lives.


We therefore implore you to take urgent action to end the blockade of Artsakh, to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance that is needed to sustain life and to ensure that such supplies can be delivered, and to end the suffering of the people of Artsakh so that the soft genocide we are witnessing is averted. We also urge you to do all that you can to seek an immediate diplomatic solution — including working with international partners and the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey — to find a resolution to this continuing political crisis and humanitarian disaster.


We offer our prayers and our voices to prevent further harm, and for your strength and courage to dedicate the necessary efforts to work for peace with justice in the midst of this tragedy.

NCC Participates in National Safety and Security Briefings Hosted by Federal Agencies

Last weekend, NCC released a statement condemning the deadly shooting that occurred in Jacksonville, Florida. On Monday, NCC participated in a National Partner Call hosted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and local law enforcement. The call provided stakeholder groups with an understanding of the events surrounding and leading up to the hate crime in Jacksonville, and the coordinated response from the host organizations to thoroughly investigate this incident and to divert threats of violence and combat crimes of hate.


NCC also participated in a Fall Religious Observance Security Briefing and Safety and Security Resources for Places of Worship hosted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and interagency partners. During the briefing, federal officials shared the Protecting Places of Worship: Six Steps to Enhance Security Against Targeted Violence and other safety and security resources and encouraged faith communities to take advantage of federal funding opportunities such as the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).


NCC urges member communions to develop a security plan and use preparedness tools provided by local, state, and federal agencies. 

UCC Churches Vandalized in Targeted Attacks

Banners promoting diversity, love, and inclusion were destroyed at Grace UCC in St Louis, Mo. (top) and Little River UCC in Annandale, Va.

Recent vandalism at two United Church of Christ congregations around their Black Lives Matter banners and inclusivity has church leaders concerned. This comes after recent violence this summer around LGBTQ+-affirming churches.

Earlier in August, Grace UCC in St. Louis was victimized when “White Lives Matter” was spray painted across the wall of the church. The words were sprayed below signs that read “Reject Racism” and other slogans showing their open and welcoming nature.

The UCC’s Associate General Minister, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, is from the area and said she has been following Grace’s story. “I believe these actions are carried out by people who have lost their love, and the only response to such acts of aggression is to love louder,” Blackmon said, echoing a recent UCC campaign to promote “Love Is Louder.”  

So far, no one has been charged in this incident.

In Annandale, Va., in mid-August, banners that declared “Black Lives Matter,” “Be the Church,” “Reject Racism” and “Embrace Diversity” were torn down at the Little River UCC. Senior Pastor Shelli Poe said that, while people in their congregation are upset about it, they are taking it in stride.

She noted that church members are asking for new banners to be put up right away. The church was founded as a desegregated congregation in 1955 when segregation was the law of the land.

Read the full story here.

Harvard Divinity School Selects First Woman Dean
in 207-year History

A cultural anthropologist of Black religious experience has been named dean of Harvard Divinity School, beginning January 1, 2024.

Marla Frederick, a professor of religion and culture at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, will succeed David Hempton, who had served as dean of the divinity school since 2012.

Frederick will become the first woman and the first Black woman to lead the school in its 207-year history. Preston N. Williams, acting dean from 1974-75, was the first African American to lead the school.

Frederick previously served on the Harvard faculty for 16 years as a professor in the Department of African and African American Studies.

“I am thrilled to welcome Marla back to Harvard,” Harvard University President Claudine Gay said in an email to Harvard Divinity School students and alumni. “I am confident that Marla’s leadership qualities, her academic stature, her wide-ranging curiosity, her collaborative mindset, and her thoughtful and caring approach to all she does will combine to make her an excellent new dean.”

The author or co-author of four books, Frederick has built her expertise in religion and media, religion and social activism in the U.S. South, and the sustainability of Black institutions. She served as president of the American Academy of Religion in 2021 and has been president of the Association of Black Anthropologists.

Read the full story here.

UCC Media Justice Ministry and the National Consumer Law Center Offer Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit

United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry and the National Consumer Law Center have produced a new State Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit.


The toolkit will help the faith community, advocates, and others to weigh in with their state broadband offices on important digital justice issues because all states and territories are making key decisions with respect to more than $42 billion in federal funding over the next six months.


The availability of billions in federal dollars means a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Please write to your state broadband office to support digital justice with this new easy-to-use resource.


Read more about the toolkit here.

Join the Discussion on The Hidden Roots of
White Supremacy

The Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice and Public Religion Research Institute invite you to attend a conversation* on Robert P. Jones’ new book The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future, Wednesday, September 6, at 7 p.m. (ET) in Riggs Library, Healy Hall, Third Floor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Reserve your space to attend in person here. The event will also be streamed live on The Center on Faith and Justice Facebook and Youtube pages.

Jones’ book takes the story of white supremacy in America back to 1493 and examines contemporary communities in Mississippi, Minnesota, and Oklahoma for models of racial repair. The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy helps chart a new course toward a genuinely pluralistic democracy.


Robert P. Jones is president and founder of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). His writing on religion, culture, and politics has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME, and Religion News Service. He is also the author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity and The End of White Christian America. He writes a regular Substack newsletter at



Vann R. Newkirk II is a senior editor at The Atlantic, and the host and co-creator of narrative podcasts Floodlines and Holy Week.

Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion for The Washington Post and is an MSNBC contributor and author.



Jim Wallis is the inaugural Archbishop Desmond Tutu Chair in Faith and Justice at the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Faculty Director of Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice and New York Times bestselling author. 


*Book conversation with a reception to follow. Books will be available for purchase and signing following the event.

Free Men’s Cancer Screening September 9

In recognition of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, men are invited to register with the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention to receive a free prostate cancer screening test and information session presented by Reid Temple AME Church at their annual Community Fair, and in partnership with The Mighty Men of Reid Temple and the Health and Cancer Ministry.


September 9, 2023, 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Reid Temple AME Church

11400 Glenn Dale Blvd

Glenn Dale, MD 20769

To register, call: (202) 687-5367 or register here.


  • Receive a free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test

  • Learn about cancer prevention services available for men and women at the Ralph Lauren Center

  • Talk to urologists and medical residents about personal health concerns

  • Gain access to virtual education sessions about prostate cancer

Progressive National Baptist Convention of Ohio Hosts
Summit for Civil Rights, September 28–29

Please join the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) of Ohio at the Summit for Civil Rights on September 28–29, at Cleveland State University in Cleveland Ohio.

The Summit was founded in 2017 as a forum to gather civil rights leaders from across the country who care about both racial justice and economic opportunity for all working people. Those leaders have included prominent elected officials, faith leaders, scholars, and labor leaders. 

The purpose of the Summit is to explore and advance a unifying non-partisan agenda for economic opportunity and racial justice backed by a multi-racial constituency. 

Please click the link here for information about the Summit, including an overview of the program, topics, and goals. The Summit will start at 1:00 PM (ET) on September 28, and end at 4:00 PM on September 29.


Click the links for more information, including registration, lodging, and sponsorships.

Click the following links for more information:

Register for the New York State Association of Protestant Chaplains Education Conference, October 3–5

Register Now! This link will take interested parties to a page to pay online or there is a link to a form to submit a check. The registration deadline is September 15, 2023. The theme for 2023: "Trauma Informed Care for Those We Care for, and the Caregiver" (Psalm 23:1–3).


The conference will be held at Holiday Inn Express Wolf Road, 16 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205.


The full registration cost this year is $185.00 (this includes two dinners and one lunch). Those who prefer to pay with a check or who plan to attend only a portion of the conference, please use the form available at this link.

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

Catholic Charities USA Hiring Policy Analysis Director

Enhance Catholic Charities USA’s mission and goals through policy analysis, with special emphasis on federal and state regulations.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Follow, track and analyze relevant legislative activity in Congress with special attention to regulatory actions by Federal and State Public Agencies relevant to the Catholic Charities ministries.

  • Fact checking development, communications, and research materials for legislative and regulatory accuracy.

  • Coordinate and work with Government Relations team in submitting regulatory comments.

  • Helping Catholic Charities agencies understand and develop policy initiatives and regulatory responses on a wide variety of issues.

  • Work with Government Relations team to develop legislative, regulatory, and advocacy strategies.

  • Foster communication, cooperative planning, and integration among the divisions and departments of CCUSA and the member organizations regarding regulatory policy and advocacy.

For more information, click here.


Follow the National Council of Churches on Our Social Media Platforms to Receive Daily Bible Readings and Updates on the Work of NCC.

If you find our newsletter informative,
please forward it to friends and colleagues! 


To subscribe to our weekly newsletter, sign up here.

Your gifts help us build a more just and equitable community that chooses

grace over greed, love over hate, and faith over fear.

Powered by: