Subject: NCC Weekly News

View this email online if it doesn't display correctly

A Prayer for Fall


Gracious God, we praise you for the changing of the seasons. Autumn is upon us. Leaves are changing from a vibrant green to a panoply of shades of orange, brown, and red. We ooh and ahh at the beauty of your Creation. The days swing back and forth between warm and cool. Ever more, the sun hangs lower in the sky, the nights grow chillier and heavier blankets are pulled from closets. Church youth retreats, homecoming celebrations, the raking of leaves and carving of pumpkins are underway. We thank you, O God, for being ever watchful and caring of us in this season.


Cleanse us from sin, O Lord. May we not ignore the mounting number of mass shootings in our nation, the intensifying violence in the Holy Land, the urgent plight of refugees in Europe, and the suffering experienced by those in pain and poverty. Open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts that we may reach out to those alienated and isolated, dealing with addictions, fearful and hurting. Purify our lives and lips that we may be dedicated to your service.


As the Day of Thanksgiving approaches, make us truly thankful for your grace and love. Let us dance for joy for the gifts you bestowed upon us. Be patient with us, Creator, as we stumble toward you. It is with gladness and singleness of heart that we worship in your Name.

Jim Winkler,
President and General Secretary

Statement calling for an end to foreign military interventions in Syria

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace" (Romans 10:15)

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is gravely concerned by the dramatic escalation of the military operations in the conflict in Syria and strictly condemns them. This we do at a moment when expectations and new hopes had been raised of a political process moving forward, in line with the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, and approved by the UN Security Council last August. We are particularly concerned that this escalation will make the situation even worse for the people of Syria, and particularly for all vulnerable communities.

The WCC, together with its member churches and ecumenical partners, has expressed on several occasions its deep conviction that “there will be no military solution” to the crisis and conflict in Syria. In an open letter to the UN Security Council in September 2013, the WCC stated that “an attack from outside Syria is likely to increase suffering and the risk of more sectarian violence, threatening every community in the nation including Christians. At this crucial time, the people of Syria and the Middle East need peace and not war. Weapons or military actions cannot bring about peace in Syria. The need of the hour is for the world to focus on how best to ensure security and protection for the people of Syria. There is no other way to sustainable justice and peace for the people of Syria than the hard work that must be undertaken by all parties inside and outside Syria to find a negotiated political solution. All people of good will must set aside our differences of opinion and interests in order to end the armed conflict in Syria as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the international community to act now to do everything possible to find a nonviolent solution leading to a lasting peace.”
Prayer of Lament: Mass Shootings

Too often, when we turn on our phones, TVs, and computers, we are met with news of yet another mass shooting. These tragic outbreaks of violence remind us that we live in a lost and broken world. But as people of faith, we know that this broken world is also so loved by God. We pray that our churches—and all churches across the world—will continue to be seen as places of refuge, of love, and of hope, rather than places of fear. We seek God’s guidance as we try to make sense of these tragedies and respond as Christ would. We pray for the future of our nations and for our integrated life together.

As we mourn for those affected by these tragedies, we invite you to join us in praying these words adapted from the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice:

Lord, in our shock and confusion, we come before you.

In our grief and despair in the midst of hate,

in our sense of helplessness in the face of violence,

we lean on you.
Office of Public Witness hosts gun violence webinar
J. Herbert Nelson leads conversation to enact common sense gun legislation

In light of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in which eight students and an assistant professor were killed, PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness (OPW) hosted a webinar to provide a forum for discussion and advocacy strategy. The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, OPW’s director, discussed gun violence and its underlying causes, urging participants to lobby elected officials to enact measures that will eradicate or reduce gun violence in the United States.

In a statement announcing the webinar, Nelson reminded Presbyterians they have a responsibility to broaden relationships with other faith communities to create a broad-based social movement to prevent gun violence.
Caution Needed Before Claiming Christian Persecution in U.S.

Global headlines announced that the gunman who killed nine people at Umpqua Community College had targeted Christians. Media reports acknowledged days later that school accounts varied on the targeting of Christians.

Did the gunman really target Christians? And if he did, do the actions of a young man with mental health issues serve as an example of the persecution of Christians in the United States?

Evangelist Franklin Graham said it does.

"Persecution and targeting of Christians isn't just in Iran or the Middle East, it's right here in America," Graham wrote on his Facebook page. "The bold souls at Umpqua Community College who stood up to say they were followers of Jesus Christ were heinously gunned down with no mercy."

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Church in California, wrote, "We read almost daily stories of our brothers and sisters being martyred for their faith in Christ in the Middle East by groups like ISIS, but now it has come to our shores."

Fr Heikki Huttunen named CEC General Secretary

The Conference of European Churches is pleased to announce the appointment of Fr Heikki Huttunen, Orthodox Church of Finland, to the position of General Secretary.

“I am delighted at Fr Heikki Huttunen’s appointment,” remarked CEC President Christopher Hill. He will play an important part in helping CEC be a bridge-builder in this continent, the traditional role of the Conference of European Churches.

In welcoming Fr Heikki the President also expressed his gratitude to CEC General Secretary Rev. Dr Guy Liagre for his transitional ministry and especially his achievement in moving CEC to Brussels successfully.

A Hymn: I Cried to God
A hymn lamenting gun violence

I cried to God, “Three hundred thirty thousand!”
Five thousand more, six hundred more, and nine!”
In just ten years, a truth we can’t imagine:
All died from guns, one loved one at a time!
And then I heard… “Whom shall I send to grieve them?
Go tell the world: “I love them! They are mine!”

I asked the Lord, “Why is there so much violence?
If you are God, why don’t you stop the pain?
God, won’t you speak? For all around is madness!
Just say the word and make us whole again!”
And then I heard… “Whom shall I send as prophets?
Speak out my truth! Shout till the killings end!”

I knelt and prayed, and wept for all the fallen;
So many lives, so many dreams now gone.
More than a name— each one was someone’s cousin,
Or someone’s child, or someone counted on.
And then I heard… “Whom shall I send, who knew them,
To work for peace, to labor till the dawn?

Lord, here am I! And here we are, together!
No one alone can end this killing spree.
The powers of death pit one against another,
Yet you are God and you desire peace.
As mourners, prophets, laborers together,
Give us the strength to make the killings cease.

110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.