Subject: NCC Weekly News: A Negative Campaign

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From Jim: A Campaign Marked By Negativity
We are in the midst of a very odd presidential election campaign, one in which the two major party candidates are disliked by a majority of voters. The campaign has been, and will continue to be, marked by negativity.

The National Council of Churches has asked for meetings with Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump in order to pray for the candidates, share our priorities, and express our desire for a positive campaign. It remains to be seen whether such meetings can be arranged.

It's appropriate for denominations and congregations to discuss political issues, to permit their facilities to be used as polling sites, and to invite political candidates to forums. It’s not appropriate to endorse candidates or parties or give financial contributions to political candidates and campaigns.

A number of NCC member communions have produced helpful voter guides. Here are links to several of them:
Congress does not need to repeal the 1954 Johnson amendment, which prohibited tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The last thing we need is to have preachers and churches explicitly endorsing parties and candidates, and for there to be faith-based political parties.

You simply will not find leaders of the churches in the National Council of Churches following the example of the likes of Jerry Falwell, Jr. who said it is time "to tell Chelsea's mama, you're fired. And the only way to do that is to elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence president and vice president of the United States."

I think the church has a responsibility to speak truth to power as it is embodied in the state and it is important for the state not to exercise power over the church. Neither should the church seek to control the state.

I confess to being a bit of a political junkie. I own a full set of the Almanac of American Politics, the “bible” of political trivia lovers. By the grace of God, I chose not to pursue a career in politics after I lost a couple of college elections. The Chinese scientist and political activist, Fang Lizhi, used to counsel young people to learn a profession so that they were not financially dependent on politics to pay their bills. That’s wise advice.

I am grateful that the churches I grew up in, and most of those that comprise the National Council of Churches, are diverse theologically and politically. When we speak together, it is out of a scripturally-based desire for peace and justice. I hope Christians will approach this year’s election with calmness and maturity.

Yours in Christ,

Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary

It's time to have an open conversation about White Privilege

As the United Church of Christ is preparing for the Sept. 1 launch of the 'White Privilege: Let's Talk' curriculum, the denomination's general minister and president is reaching out via video to members of the wider church, issuing members and congregations a personal invitation to make use of the resource.

'White Privilege: Let's Talk," an adult education curriculum designed to invite members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race, is written by five authors from different perspectives and walks of life. The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, one of the authors, has a doctoral degree in White Privilege, and previously taught a course on the subject at Eden Theological Seminary. He promised to create this curriculum as one of his first initiatives as general minister and president, and noted that the "United Church of Christ, in its long history, has preached the hard truths about social justice to a world often unwilling and unready to hear those truths. When we preach the gospel faithfully, we often anger and disrupt the comfort people have grown accustomed to living with."

Episcopal Presiding Bishop: Statement in support of the advocacy of the people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

“Water is a gift from the creator, respect it, and protect it.” I was deeply moved by these words printed on the sign of a person standing with hundreds of others to protect the Missouri River. In the Episcopal Church, when we baptize a new follower of Jesus Christ, we pray these words over the water of baptism. “We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.” We then recall how God used water to bless his people in the Bible, from the story of creation in Genesis, the emancipation of Hebrew slaves in Exodus, to the baptism of the Lord Jesus in the River Jordan. Indeed, “Water is a gift from the creator.” To sustain it and to protect it is to “safeguard the integrity of God’s creation,” and therefore to protect human and others forms of life created by Almighty God. That work warrants our full and prayerful support.

The people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, standing in solidarity with hundreds of other indigenous nations and allies, are calling us anew to respect and protect this sacred gift of God, and in so doing to respect and protect God’s gift of human life. In protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, they recognize the gift of water to all of us, a gift given to us by our Creator. The Sioux remind us “mni wiconi” or “water is life.” This God-given resource courses through our mighty rivers and our human veins, working to renew and reinvigorate all of creation.

God and Guns: Millennial Faith Leaders Address Gun Violence October 6-7

The Riverside Church in the City of New York, along with a growing list of partners, will host an intensive training on gun violence for faith leaders of all traditions beginning the evening of October 6 through the evening of October 7, 2016. Designed for millennial faith leaders, a demographic with the capacity to shift our culture, the training is also open to ministry teams of any age that include a millennial attendee. Those who attend do not have to agree on the solutions to the epidemic of gun violence, only that something must be done.

Evangelicals and mainline Protestants make up 40 percent of the population, but own guns at higher rates than the rest of the country. The power to change our culture is in our pews.

Attendees will gain concrete tools to educate, engage, and mobilize your congregations to enact change in your community. Each God and Guns 2016 participant will commit to taking concrete action in their circles of influence.

Following the training, The Riverside Church will provide ongoing support, resources, and reporting mechanisms. This will help those who attend stay connected and share the work you are doing in your congregations.

The training begins with a free, open to the public screening of "The Armor of Light" on Thursday, October 6 at 7PM. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers Rev. Rob Schenck, Abigail Disney, and Lucy McBath.

Children's Sabbath to be celebrated October 21-23

The 2016 National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration, “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps” will be held October 21-23, and will focus on closing opportunity gaps due to poverty and lack of access to high-quality early childhood development and a high-quality education so that every child can reach their God-given potential. For that to happen, we as people of faith need to stand tall within our communities and push our nation to keep our promises of love and justice, equality and dignity for all.

Join thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other faith communities across the country in this celebration by holding a community-wide interfaith special worship service or a special service in your place of worship, add educational programs, and advocacy activities to engage people of faith in improving the lives of children and their families in your community, state and in our nation.

For our Washington, DC Friends:

THE WISDOM OF OUR ELDERS, a CBS Interfaith Special, features interviews with three faith leaders about how they became who they are today and what they think about the current state of religious affairs in the U.S. and throughout the world. This special broadcast will be on the CBS Television Network Sunday, Sept. 18 (check local listings).

Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B., is a Benedictine sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, who for the last fifty years has been a passionate advocate for peace, justice and human rights. She writes a column for the National Catholic Reporter, “From Where I Stand,” and is co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a UN-sponsored organization creating a worldwide network of women peacemakers. The author of over fifty books, she is considered by theologians and historians to be a prophetic voice on issues related to faith and spirituality.

Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., is Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church. He was the first African American to lead this multicultural, interdenominational congregation in New York City. Widely known as a “preacher’s preacher,” he recently launched “The Revival: Time for Moral Revolution of Values” with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, the founder of the Moral Mondays movement. This multi-city campaign is aimed at promoting awareness about social injustice and inequality while also calling for more love and mercy in political discourse.

Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell is an ordained minister in two Christian denominations, the Disciples of Christ and the American Baptist Church. Ordained at the age of 50, she went on to become the first woman to serve as the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. She also served as Director of the Department of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution for 14 years. Widely regarded for her work on behalf of the ecumenical interfaith movement, she frequently lectures on poverty, social justice, religious freedom and human rights.

John P. Blessington is Senior Executive Producer, and Liz Kineke is Producer. In creating the topics and content of this CBS Cultural and Religious Documentary, they sought input from religious scholars, clergy and others, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and various interfaith organizations.

Following the Sept. 18th air date, this program may be viewed again at “Like” us on and follow us on Twitter @CBSReligion.

Webinar: Introduction to Rome conference, September 13

Please join the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative for an introductory webinar about a ground-shifting conference on the topic of Gospel nonviolence and just peace, which was held in Rome this past April 2016.

Tuesday, September 13, 9-10 AM Eastern Standard Time

This introductory webinar is the first of a four-part series to share and advance the fruit of the conference, which was co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

In this first webinar, we will hear from conference organizers and participants about the background, purpose, process, and basic outcomes of the conference. You will also see some video from the initial session, and we will have some time for discussion.

This Week's Podcast: Food Security and Solutions

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's guests: Gary Oppenheimer, founder of, talks about food security and an innovative way to bring fresh produce to food banks across the nation.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes Store and Stitcher Radio. NEW: We're now also on iHeartRadio.  If you like what you're hearing, please write a review. By doing this you will help us reach the widest possible audience!

Ecumenical Opportunities:

The Episcopal Church is accepting applications for the position of Manager for Language Services, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. In this full-time position, the Manager for Language Services will manage all aspects of translation and interpretation activities for the Episcopal Church, including items needed from the Presiding Bishop’s Office, General Convention office, and other church bodies and staff. Deadline for applying is September 9. For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at

Social Justice Education Coordinator, Mercy Institute Justice Team: The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Roman Catholic religious order located in Silver Spring, MD, is seeking a full time education coordinator as part of its three-person Social Justice Team. Primary focus: to develop education and action resources, and facilitate educational experiences and communication opportunities to engage members and ministry partners on Mercy’s justice priorities. Send cover letter and resume by August 10th to
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
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