Subject: NCC Weekly News

View this email online if it doesn't display correctly
From Jim: We need our evangelical sisters and brothers to join us
Last week President Trump, facing a mutiny by American business leaders on two of his business advisory councils, abruptly shuttered them. The councils were largely ceremonial, but suddenly they were an opportunity for executives to take a stand against Mr. Trump’s equivocations following the recent white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va. And the executives, not often looked to for moral guidance, were being lauded for taking a principled stand against the president.

All of which raises a question. What about the people who actually are supposed to provide moral guidance — the president’s 25-member Evangelical Executive Advisory Board?

The board, which Mr. Trump created in 2016 while he was running for president, is likewise a largely ceremonial body, though also one designed to give cover to the famously irreligious candidate and allow him an entree to millions of evangelical voters. In exchange, the board members got unprecedented access to the White House; one activist later said the president had them on “speed dial.”

President Trump has also followed through on many of his promises to the evangelical community, such as nominating an anti-abortion jurist to the Supreme Court and taking on Planned Parenthood.

But access comes at a price. While these leaders may think they are doing the right thing for their followers in keeping a clear line to the president, in doing so they are forced to be silent on his transgressions.

So far only one member of the board, A. R. Bernard, a pastor in Brooklyn, has resigned, citing “a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.” Although he submitted his resignation on Aug. 15, Mr. Bernard said that he had already decided to leave a few months ago.

Contrast that with another member of the board, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., who not only is staying on but has also lauded President Trump’s “bold, truthful statement” on Charlottesville.

To be fair, some of the evangelical advisory board members have spoken out against the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville. Johnnie Moore, a public-relations executive who works with evangelical groups and is a member of the board, was even willing to criticize Mr. Trump, saying, “The president is certainly guilty of being insensitive.” But for the most part, members of this board have made it clear that they approve of Mr. Trump’s comments, and his performance in office generally, and that they intend to remain a bulwark of support for him.

Grace and peace,
Jim Winkler
General Secretary and President
The Board of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Issues an Open Letter to Members of Congress

Dear Congressional Leaders:

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it,
it is sin for them.” (James 4:17)

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, known as “The Freedom Church” is the church of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Coretta Scott King. As such, we have a more than 200 year history of addressing the issues of justice, equality, and reconciliation. It is that legacy that demands we raise our voices to speak to the crisis currently facing our beloved country.

We lament the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend and extend our sincerest condolences to the families of Heather Heyer, the fallen police officers, and to the scores of others injured by the weaponized vehicle or individual assaults. Our shared sorrow has now become righteous indignation as a result of the remarks by the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, that suggested a moral equivalence between advocates for justice and white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Such a perspective is abhorrent for any person, but coming from the President, it is extremely dangerous and demands an immediate and strong rebuke from Congress. The combined events in Charlottesville and the statements by the President have revealed what many of us have been painfully aware. There is a toxic stream of bigotry and racism that has been an animating force in some politics and policies. Such political opportunism and division must be publicly renounced by all persons of good conscience across the political spectrum. Those who espouse racial, ethnic, and religious hatred must never find succor in the words or actions of any elected official but especially those elected to the highest office in our land.

Donald Trump has peddled for many years in racially charged rhetoric and discriminatory practices, including his offensive and false accusations that our only African American President wasn’t born in this country. It will be a blight throughout history that many remained silent in the face of Trump’s birtherism claims. His list of other divisive comments are well documented and far too many to be litigated in this letter. Simply put, any person who harbors such immoral beliefs or offers excuses for those who do, is grossly unfit to hold such a high office.

Remember Charlottesville by Bishop James Mauney, ELCA VA synod

On this Friday, some things bear repeating (written Friday, August 18, 2017):

The first is to repeat my request that all of us lift up the town of Charlottesville, its people, its government and first responders, its injured from last weekend, and the families of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Berke Bates. I ask that you would lift up the congregations of St. Mark and Peace along with the many houses of faith in Charlottesville. In conversations this week with pastors in Charlottesville, we pray for a healing and a strengthening by the Holy Spirit for a returning of this place of people, commerce, culture, and learning to its vibrant sense of well-being and joy.

It bears repeating that we do not talk enough about the outright lie that the color of one’s skin contributes to the value that God has for them or the intelligence that one has or the content of the character of a person. We do not talk enough about the outright lie that says the south wasn’t built on the backs of people sold and regarded as property. We do not talk enough that we are “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice FOR ALL.”

Boston drowns out racial hatred with faith and love

Upwards of 30,000 people descended on the city Saturday, Aug. 19, in response to a far-right wing “free speech rally,” sending a clear message that the type of hate they espoused has no place in today's world.

The Rev. Kelly Gallagher, an associate conference minister with the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, believes that the counter-protest by justice advocates, the interfaith community, and anyone who opposes racism, was a direct missive, one that sets up a foundation for anti-racism advocacy moving forward.

"It sends a message that there is intolerance of hatred and white supremacy and Nazism," she said. "The work going forward, I think, is to drop that line lower and lower to white privilege," Gallagher said. "It's a heartening place to say we all agree on this. When 30,000 people show up to say no, six days after Charlottesville, it's a heartening statement to say we have made a verbal and physical statement to stand up to hatred and that kind of overt white supremacy. It can't be seen as an anomaly or a just-this-moment event."

Pressure mounts to remove Confederate symbols from Episcopal institutions

Parishioners who attended Sunday worship at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Aug. 20 should not have been surprised that Dean Gail Greenwell’s sermon addressed the issue of racism, given the national outcry over a large white supremacist rally in Virginia the weekend before.

Those hate groups had gathered in defense of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. What may have surprised some Cincinnati parishioners is the Confederate symbols in their own cathedral.

Greenwell used her sermon to draw their attention to part of a stained-glass window honoring Lee and a plaque dedicated to Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal bishop and Confederate general. She called for both to be removed.

“The church itself has been complicit in enshrining systems and people who contributed to white supremacy, and they are here in the very corners of this cathedral,” Greenwell said in her sermon.

AME Council of Bishops Statement: Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church condemns the violence that exploded in Charlottesville, Virginia. The “Unite the Right” march was sponsored by white supremacists, white nationalists, and the Ku Klux Klan to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. It was responded to by counter protestors.

The result was a face-off between the two groups marked with punching, kicking, water bottle hurling, racial taunting and even the deployment of chemical sprays. A car plowed into a group of peaceful protesters killing one woman and injuring about 19 others. The driver, James Alex Fields is being held on charges including second degree-murder. A helicopter monitoring the rally later crashed killing two Virginia State Troopers.

There are those who argue that white nationalists have the right to free speech, and in a democracy, we support their right. But what was on display before the nation yesterday was more than free speech. It was an unruly event designed to intimidate and provoke violence.

In a word, what happened yesterday was a hate crime and domestic terrorism. It was demonic and does not represent what the United States claims it stands for.

Vanita Gupta to speak at Christian Unity Gathering Gala

One of today's top civil rights leaders, Vanita Gupta will be the 
keynote speaker at the Christian Unity Gathering Awards Gala 
on Thursday, November 9.

Vanita Gupta serves as the President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation's premier civil and human rights coalition. She is an experienced leader and litigator who has devoted her entire career to civil rights work. Most recently, from October 15, 2014, to January 20, 2017, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Appointed by President Barack Obama as the chief civil rights prosecutor for the United States, Gupta oversaw a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement efforts to ensure equal justice and protect equal opportunity for all during one of the most consequential periods for the division.

The newest feature to the National Council of Churches' signature event, the Christian Unity Gathering, is our annual awards gala where the top leaders in the ecumenical movement will be honored.

This year the awards gala will take place at the Sheraton in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. It is included as part of your CUG registration fee; the cost is $150 if you wish to attend the gala by itself, without attending other CUG meetings and events.

We are proud to bring you this awards gala which will bring together today's top faith leaders with those living out their calling to building peace and doing justice.

Ecumenical Opportunities:

American Progress has an immediate opening for a research associate for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative. The research associate will work under the direction of the vice president of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative and will be responsible for producing research and writing on the intersection of theology and progressive social policy.

The American Baptist Churches USA Office of the General Secretary is searching for persons to fill two Associate General Secretary positions. Originally announced on July 14, 2017, the positions include Associate General Secretary for Missional Initiatives and Partnerships and Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness. The deadline for applications is August 15, 2017.

Church World Service is seeking a creative and visionary leader to fill the position of Media Associate. The ideal candidate will live and breathe a commitment to immigrants’ rights and a coalition approach to advocacy, and thrive in a creative environment in which no day is the same. This team member will join and be at the intersection of the CWS Advocacy, Communications, and Immigration and Refugee Program staff teams.

Church World Service is seeking a savvy digital media intern to support our communications work.This internship offers valuable real-world experience in digital media outreach, online organizing, and graphic design.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) seeks a full-time Director of U.S. Prisons Program to coordinate national interfaith organizing and strategic state and federal advocacy for its interfaith members working to end the torture of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Strong preference for the position to be based in NRCAT's Washington, DC office, though open to possibility of remote work.

Two New Videos on Drone Warfare

The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare has produced two videos for congregations of all faiths: Moral and Safe?: War, Peace, Drone Warfare and the Religious Community and The Religious Community and Drone Warfare. They can be viewed at

Moral and Safe? is an introductory film for congregations for whom drone warfare is a new issue. It describes the history, use and nature of lethal drones as well as the human rights, legal and moral challenges posed by drone warfare. 

Click here to view the 90 second trailer.

The Network has also produced a second film, The Religious Community and Drone Warfare, which digs deeper into the religious concerns about drone warfare on an interfaith basis. Its trailer is here

In addition, the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare has made a three 30 minute versions of three documentaries: Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films, the film National Bird by Sonia Kennebeck and Drone by Tonje Hessen Schei. A study guide is also available for each film. You can also see all of our films and the study guides at

Congregations across the country are urged to show the films. Those with questions can call 609-924-5022.
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.