Subject: NCC Weekly News

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WCC visitors to US enter conversations on racial matters in the USA

On April 18 in Washington, DC, Rev. Dr Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA), welcomed a contingent from the World Council of Churches (WCC) who, with others, will be spending 18-25 April on a WCC-sponsored racial justice listening and support visit to several US communities which have suffered violent incidents related to race.

Winkler facilitated a day of introductions, reintroductions and conversation with Rev. Dr Jim Wallis of the Sojourners Community, officials of the US State Department whose duties focus on religious freedom and race, as well as with the long-time president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Seven visitors from the WCC and two of their hosts from the NCCCUSA joined in the talks, led by WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom of Kenya and general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit of Norway. Other WCC delegates from diverse nations, including the USA, will join the team as they travel to Charleston, Saint Louis and Chicago.

Some details of the day’s conversations were private, exploring possibilities and brainstorming informally about approaches that may be undertaken in the WCC journey itself and within the larger context of US society. A report on the visit will be submitted to the WCC Central Committee when it meets in late June at Trondheim in Norway.

J. Herbert Nelson selected as nominee for PC(USA) Stated Clerk

The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson is the nominee to become the next Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the committee charged with bringing a candidate to the 222nd General Assembly (2016) announced today.

“We, the committee, believe J. Herbert Nelson will be both priest and prophet to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and to our ecumenical and interreligious sisters and brothers,” said the Reverend Carol McDonald, moderator of the Stated Clerk Nomination Committee (SCNC).

“He has the heart and soul of a pastor; when he asks, ‘how are you doing?’ he really wants to know. His prophetic voice will call us as a denomination to do ‘kingdom work’—to reclaim the biblical and theological foundations of who we are, to forge again community that unites rather than divides, and to step boldly into the world to speak the message of Jesus,” she said.

This June is Torture Awareness Month

Mark Torture Awareness Month by joining with people of faith and conscience nationwide as we stand in solidarity with survivors of torture and issue a moral call for human rights for all. We invite you to incorporate the color orange into worship services or other community gatherings throughout the month as a symbol of solidarity with all who endure torture: those in orange jumpsuits in Guantanamo to those held in conditions of torture in U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers in our own communities.

Here are some ways you can raise awareness of torture during a worship service or vigil in June:
  • Use an orange altar cloth or center piece (see examples).
  • Encourage people to wear an orange ribbon.
  • Ask a faith leader to lead a service or vigil while wearing an orange jumpsuit - a way to very publicly express solidarity with those in Guantanamo and domestic places of confinement.
  • Share this bulletin insert prepared by NRCAT.
  • Print these poster images to make visible the stories of people enduring torture in our communities.
For all our resources you can use to spread awareness of torture during this important month, visit

Please let NRCAT know if you are able to do any of these activities. Also, in June please send pictures of a faith leader wearing orange, an orange altar cloth, orange ribbons or other ways of displaying orange to These pictures will be used to show our elected officials and the American people that people of faith are committed to a torture-free world, without exception.

Religious leaders call on Virginia lawmakers to end death penalty

Harold Wilson stood in front of TV cameras Monday at the state Capitol with a simple question for those who want to preserve the death penalty in Virginia.

“Was it worth killing me?” asked Wilson, who in 1989 was convicted of a triple murder in Philadelphia. DNA evidence introduced at a new trial 16 years later exonerated Wilson, freeing him up to speak out as a death penalty opponent.

Wilson, who called himself “living proof that the system is broken beyond repair,” joined a group of about a dozen religious leaders at a news conference Tuesday to urge the General Assembly to reject the death penalty when the body reconvenes Wednesday to take up Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments.

“When you have to resort to secrecy or brutality to keep the machinery of death going, it’s a sure sign that what we’re doing is not right,” said Bishop Carroll Baltimore, a past president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

A bill the General Assembly passed this year would allow the state to use the electric chair even when a prisoner has chosen to die via lethal injection. McAuliffe rejected the electric chair proposal, instead making a series of amendments that would allow the Department of Corrections to more easily obtain lethal drugs through contracts with pharmacies and outsourcing facilities that would be shielded from public view.

Learn to Counter Anti-Muslim Sentiment: Applications Now Open
  • In 2016 Shoulder to Shoulder is sponsoring its 3rd Annual Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar for seminarians, rabbinical students, and other emerging religious leaders at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Seminar will run Thursday, September 1 – Monday, September 5 (Labor Day). This is being held in conjunction with the 53rd Annual ISNA Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, from September 2-5, 2016. Each year, the ISNA Convention attracts over 20,000 American Muslims from diverse backgrounds to discuss issues of importance to the larger American Muslim community.
The goal of the Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar is to prepare participants for leadership in inter-religious efforts to end anti-Muslim sentiment and promote inclusive pluralism in the United States. The participants will be emerging leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities, with a particular focus on bringing several participants from the Chicago area. Emerging leaders will be chosen on the basis of their interest in and commitment to interfaith efforts and the possibility of their providing leadership in the future to this work. Workshops and discussion groups will be led primarily by Jewish, Christian and Muslim facilitators.
This Week's Podcast: Subscribe TODAY!

The NCC is bringing the best, most interesting and relevant voices from the faith community to your mobile device. Every week NCC communications director Rev. Steven D. Martin interviews faith leaders, activists, and people from across the NCC's 38 member communions and affiliated organizations.

This week: Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse-Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, joins us for an inspiring conversation.  Each new episode goes online Friday afternoon.

To ensure you receive the podcast automatically, subscribe using your mobile device in the iTunes Store and Stitcher Radio. If you like what you're hearing, please write a review. By doing this you will help us reach the widest possible audience!

Resources to Celebrate Earth Day Sunday, April 17 or 24

Each year, Creation Justice Ministries offers materials to help churches recognize Earth Day. Earth Day Sunday can be recognized April 17 or 24.

The resource is written to be useful year-round. Additional opportune moments to use this resource include September 1, recognized by Orthodox and Catholic communions as the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, or in October, during the Season of Creation and close to the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.

Also, enjoy these resources distributed by Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Earth Our Garden Home: Creation Care Lessons for Children and Wild Faith: A Creation Care Curriculum for Youth are curricula ideal for Sunday school and teen discussion groups in summer and fall. These were developed by Cynthia Coe of the Diocese of East Tennessee, an Episcopal Church Mark V fellow. Download the books here.
  • Learn about Environmental issues and the Anglican Communion through a video from Episcopal News Service here.
  • Urge your members of Congress to support the Green Climate Fund here. And read a letter from 121 faith groups, including The Episcopal Church, supporting the Green Climate Fund here.
Banners to Oppose Anti-Muslim Bigotry

To counter anti-Muslim bigotry, Interfaith Action for Human Rights joins with Shoulder to Shoulder and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Justice to call on U.S. religious communities to display banners signaling their support for the Muslim American community. 

The campaign follows in the tradition of similar banner campaigns, such as Save Darfur, Stand with Israel and Black Lives Matter. It aims to demonstrate that faith communities stand together with the Muslim American community.

There are three banner options:
  • Honor God: Say No to anti-Muslim Bigotry
  • We Stand with our Muslim neighbors
  • [Organization Name] stands with Muslim Americans
Banners come in two sizes: 2’ x 6’ - $140 or 3’ x 9’ - $200. 

Banners are weatherproof vinyl and have mounting grommets for easy hanging or posting. Price includes UPS Ground shipping and handling. Allow 14 days for delivery. Sorry, No PO Boxes Allowed.

Job openings

World Council of Churches: The WCC is looking for a Coordinator of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) at 100% in order to strengthen the ecumenical network of people with disabilities through reference from the regions, to conscientise the ecumenical movement and the churches, and to advocate for a truly inclusive church as a theological and ethical imperative. The appointment will be for a first period of 4 years with the possibility of extension. The position reports to the Director Mission and Evangelism : 31 May 2016

Also: The WCC is looking for a Programme Executive for Health and Healing at 100% to be responsible for providing support so as to enhance the contributions of the WCC to the ecumenical movement. The position reports to the Coordinator of Human Dignity and to the Associate General Secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia. Deadline for applications: 24 April 2016
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
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