Subject: NCC Weekly News: A Call to the President-Elect; Standing Rock

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From Jim: A Call to the President-Elect
The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA expresses hopes and prayers that President-Elect Donald J. Trump will govern in a magnanimous, just, and collaborative manner. Mr. Trump has himself been in the past part of congregations associated with the Council. We pray the words and teachings of Jesus that he has heard will manifest themselves in him a gentle and loving spirit.

We desire for Mr. Trump to be a successful president and help move our nation forward. Yet, like many others, we have observed the presidential campaign with a sense of dismay and disbelief. 

Now is the time for Mr. Trump to cease employing racist, misogynist, and xenophobic rhetoric. Great responsibilities rest on his shoulders. He will be evermost in our prayers in the weeks and months ahead.

Now is the time for Mr. Trump to drop his threats to deport millions of people from the United States, build a wall on the border with Mexico, ban the immigration of Muslims and carry out surveillance on those who are here, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and withdraw from the painstakingly crafted Paris agreement on climate change.

In the words of the great hymn, “We, your servants, bring the worship not of voice alone, but heart, consecrating to Your purpose every gift that You impart.” Why do we offer our voice and heart? Because, “Still Your children wander homeless; still the hungry cry for bread; still the captives long for freedom; still in grief we mourn our dead.”

We ask, O Lord, for us and for Mr. Trump that You will “use the love Your Spirit kindles still to save and make us whole. Called from worship to Your service, forth in Your dear name we go, to the child, the youth, the aged, love in living deeds to show; hope and health, goodwill and comfort, counsel, aid, and peace we give, that Your servants, Lord, in freedom may Your mercy know and live.” (hymn reference: “Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service.”)

Scripture is clear on the need to welcome the stranger, care for the sick, and to free the oppressed. We do not believe our nation is a disaster, on the verge of collapse, or that our best days are behind us. We believe America is a great nation already, and that if we together address environmental degradation, poverty, racism, and violence, we can be a greater nation. This will be more difficult to accomplish if the presidency is occupied by a person who demeans women and minorities and vows vengeance against those he perceives to be his enemy and seeks to jail his political opponent.

We pray that the better angels of Mr. Trump’s nature will come to the fore and that Almighty God will give him wisdom for the task that faces him.
Yours in Christ,

Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary

Go Forward!

Dear CME Family:

We have a new President-Elect in Donald J. Trump. God willing, he will be inaugurated in January 2017. Going to Washington with him will be a majority Republican Congress and a majority Republican Senate. Things will change.

Accept, hear, and respect that those who voted on November 8th made this decision through our electoral process. Respecting the people’s vote and accepting new leadership is the way of our democracy. Accept, hear, respect and pray for President-Elect Donald J. Trump. Prayer for our leaders is the way of Christianity (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Analysts say that many people in the “rust belt” of the world – persons who formerly had significantly paying jobs with industries no longer strong in their areas – felt they were not heard by the “elite” … but they were heard and their angst was tapped into by Candidate Trump. Now, after November 8, protesters have gone to the streets in some of our cities – many of them young people – because they believe they are not heard.

I say to those who are disappointed, angry, or want to protest: channel your energy. Channel your energy and monies into those organizations that work for causes you hold dear. Search out those organizations that believe in what you believe and help them grow stronger. Write. Bombard your Congresspersons and your Senators with emails and letters and calls that express your concerns. These kinds of participation will have much longer life and influence than walking in the streets.

We elected a President and Congressional officials. But just as important are the elections of school board members and city and county and state officials. They will make many decisions that will affect the larger elections (such as gerrymandering). Those who were victors on November 8 are making more detailed plans on how to move forward with their agenda. This election is over and the die is cast. Nothing other than finding fraud that took place on election day can change the election. While protesting can release frustrations, it is more helpful to make plans and plot direction for the future.

I joined in prayers on election night and heard prayers filled with great emotion and cries to God for divine intervention. And I also heard Exodus 14:15 – “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on’” (NIV). The King James Version says, “[S]peak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.”

I say to you:
- Go forward in prayer for our nation and our President-Elect.
- Go forward aligning yourself with organizations that will work for the political world you want to see.
- Go forward keeping yourself informed and addressing your Congressional leaders on every issue of import to you when those issues are or should be before them.
- Go forward with a commitment to vote in every election, no matter how “small,” and to communicate the importance of registering and voting.

Pick up the pieces. Go forward!

+Lawrence L. Reddick III

"We intend to fight": Civil rights leaders respond to Trump election

Donald Trump’s startling election victory Tuesday night has the organizations representing America's minorities talking of unity, but bracing for war.

In a series of post-election press conferences in the nation's capital Thursday, official after official from groups representing African-Americans, Latinos, Arabs, Jews and Muslim-Americans stepped to the microphone and used words like “anxiety,” “dangerous” and “resolute” to describe the mindset of their communities as they absorb the fact that a man who made ethnic and religious recriminations a cornerstone of his dark horse presidential campaign is now prepared to enter the White House.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, likened the challenges African-Americans will face under a President Trump to some of the darkest moments of racial injustice in American history. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to continuing to move the needle of equality forward,” Ifill said Thursday morning at one such post-election briefing. “We did it during the days of Jim Crow, we did it during massive resistance of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, we did it during the period of lynching.”

A Pastoral Letter to a United Church in a Divided Country

"United in Spirit, and inspired by God's grace, we love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all."

Just three weeks ago, the United Church of Christ Board affirmed this as the Mission of the United Church of Christ.

This morning, we wake up to a new reality. Our country and its citizens once again successfully elected a new leader. As we gather to worship this weekend, we will find among us many who are celebrating the decision that was reached – and many who are mourning it. We are, by all measures, a deeply divided people.

Because this election sharply separated us over matters of race, gender, human sexuality, faith, economic inequality and political persuasions we all bear a heavy burden moving forward. It is our call, our shared mission, to heed the call of God's Spirit and to work to repair damages in our deeply wounded and fiercely broken body.

Peaceful, prayerful, nonviolent stand of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux

“We knew you were coming; that one day you would come here and start asking questions about your government,” said elder Regina Brave, her long, gray braid falling over the word “navy” written in yellow, capital letters across the top of her black, leather vest. “We are all children of God. Black, red, yellow, white, are all represented.”

Brave, an Oglala from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, took the microphone at a gymnasium in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on Nov. 2, the night before more than 500 interfaith clergy and laity joined opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a show of prayerful, peaceful, nonviolent and lawful solidarity and witness.

The Nov. 2 meeting served as a warm up. On the morning of Nov. 3 – as the sun came up, the temperature in the mid-30s – the interfaith allies entered the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the largest of the three camps, and formed a circle surrounding the sacred fire that burns 24 hours a day in the camp’s center.

Eco-justice at stake for Standing Rock people in USA

The Episcopal Church in North Dakota, in an open letter dated 25 October 2016 and penned by Rev. John Floberg, called on communities of faith to converge at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, USA from 2-4 November to “stand witness to water protectors’ acts of compassion for God's creation, and to the transformative power of God's love to make a way out of no way.”

Responding to the call, representatives from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and other churches in the United States and Canada came to the banks of the Missouri River for prayerful, peaceful action. Among the clergy present was Bishop Mark MacDonald, national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada and World Council of Churches (WCC) president for North America.

“I think that peace, from an indigenous perspective, involves unique perspectives…a spiritual centre that sees a holistic view of life anchored in the Creator; organization of political borders by the need for peace; and a general stance toward life and political development of militant nonviolence,” MacDonald reflected.

On 3 November, “a day of protective witness in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and with the water protectors,” church people from various traditions prayed together.

Donations to Religious Institutions Fall as Values Change

It used to be that many people gave to their particular house of worship to get a prominent pew or extra blessings. Or because their grandparents and parents had always attended that church or synagogue or mosque.

That is changing. Religious institutions are still the single biggest recipients of overall charity donations, according to the 2015 survey by the Giving USA Foundation. About 32 percent — $119.3 billion — of a total of $373.25 billion Americans gave to charities went to churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.

But that is down from about 50 percent since 1990, according to Rick Dunham, vice chairman of Giving USA, and the percentage has been “in steady decline for some time.” The religion category in the survey refers solely to religious institutions, not religious charities such as the Salvation Army, he said.

Part of the reason is an overall decline in the number of people who identify with a religious group. According to the Pew Research Center 2014 Religious Landscape Study, 23 percent of Americans say they are not affiliated with any religion, up from 16 percent in 2007.

Muslim groups call on President-Elect Trump to respect the rights of all Americans

Like millions of voters and minorities, the upset victory of Donald Trump on Tuesday night was not a pleasant situation for the seven-million-strong American Muslim community that was at the receiving end during the controversial 2016 presidential election campaign. Hence, an urgent question for the American Muslims is how they will be treated by the forthcoming administration of Donald Trump.

With this in mind, nine Muslim and Arab civil-advocacy groups held a joint press conference in Washington DC on Wednesday to offer reaction to the election of Donald Trump as the nation's 45th president. They were joined by the National Council of Churches.

Muslim groups have called upon the President-elect Donald Trump to respect the rights of all Americans and pledged to work with the new president to strengthen the nation. The Muslim groups also called on President-elect Trump to unite all Americans under the Constitution.

The Muslim groups emphasized that they fully cherish the democratic process of the country in which they endeavored to participate this election season by launching voter-registration campaigns and drives to motivate the Muslim voters to go out and cast their vote.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2017: Confronting Chaos, Forging Community

Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD) is pleased to announce the theme for its 2017 national gathering, April 21-24, 2017. The theme is titled, "Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism." The theme builds open Dr. Martin Luther King's final book and the fiftieth anniversary of his historic, final speech at Riverside Church in New York City.

The gathering marks the 14th annual event where nearly 1,000 Christians come to Washington, DC to learn, network and advocate before Congress on federal policy issues that the ecumenical community is concerned. This year, perhaps more than ever, EAD calls on participants to come and make a loud, faithful witness to a new Congress and a new Administration.

The gathering will again be held at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA -- just across The Potomac River from the U.S. Capitol Building. The event concludes with EAD's Lobby Day where a prepared legislative "Ask" is taken to members of Congress by the gathered participants. "We expect Christian advocates from across the country to attend the gathering," said Douglas Grace, director of EAD. "Registration is now open at, along with the young adult scholarship application process, so plan now to be in Washington next April!"

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