Subject: NCC Weekly News: Beyond Tolerance

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From Jim: Beyond Tolerance
I was raised in the American Midwest in a Protestant family. We never faced any problems sharing our faith and worshiping in the manner we chose. We were in the majority. Ecumenism had a growing influence -- Catholics were being accepted in our towns as Christians and we began having conversations with Orthodox Christians.

We were somewhat sensitive to our Jewish sisters and brothers, but in my youth I felt that much of this was due to the horror they had experienced in the Holocaust. There were few Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, living near us, as far as I knew.

We've come a long way since those days even though for the overwhelming majority of American Protestants, religious liberty is not a front-burner issue -- despite claims that Starbucks is anti-Christmas even though they are selling Advent calendars.

However, in countless places around the world people of various faiths are not free to practice their religion. It happens for numerous reasons including the intolerance of people of other faiths, or because of government repression.

Recently, the Washington National Cathedral hosted "Beyond Tolerance: A Call to Religious Freedom and Hopeful Action." This was preceded by a gathering of Muslims and evangelical Christians, an almost unheard of notion when I was younger.

At the Cathedral, we affirmed our desire for unity, pledged to uphold and defend freedom of conscience and the religion of all individuals and to reject and speak out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment, and violence based on religion or belief.

A few days later, I participated in a protest outside of the Myanmar Embassy due to the repression of Rohingya Muslims in that country. Had I been a speaker I would also have noted that Myanmar Christians face discrimination, too.

As long as a presidential candidate says a Muslim should not be president of the United States, Christians and Muslims kill and attack one another in Nigeria and the Central African Republic, and respect and tolerance for the religious choices of others is lacking, then we will continue to struggle for religious liberty.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh puts it this way: "The situation of the world is like this. People completely identify with one side, one ideology....Reconciliation is to understand both sides, to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side. Doing only that will be a great help for peace."

Jim Winkler,
President and General Secretary

North American conference convenes to “Reclaim Evangelism!”

Nearly 60 participants gathered to reflect on the theme “Reclaim Evangelism!” at the North American 2015 Conference on Evangelism, held 29 October - 2 November in Nashville, Tennessee (U.S.). The conference was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches – USA (NCCUSA), in consultation with the Canadian Council of Churches (CC Canada), and it was hosted by the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church (UMC).

The ecumenical conversation was a moment to celebrate Christian hope in God’s work on making disciples, said Kyriaki Avtzi, WCC programme executive on evangelism. “Planning and organizing this event with NCCUSA, CC Canada and the Discipleship Ministries of UMC was a uniquely enriching experience of mutual learning and collaboration,” said Avtzi. “The commitment and enthusiasm with which participants engaged in group and plenary discussions on new effective ways of reclaiming evangelism in the context of North America is a promising and deeply encouraging sign toward a renewed understanding of evangelism that celebrates diversity, change and collaboration.”

The conference was indeed groundbreaking, said Heather Heinzman Lear, UMC director of Evangelism in Discipleship Ministries. “It was a joy to witness denominational and theological differences melt away as participants engaged in dialogue and dreaming about how to collaborate in sharing the gospel in North America. I am excited to see what God can and will do through these new friends and colleagues in ministry,” she said.

Refugee Welcome Weekend: November 13-15

As we face the largest number of displaced people since the end of World War II, there are many ways that people can help. As the United States works to resettle additional refugees, including many Syrian refugees, we are asking communities to take part in Welcome Weekend, host a #RefugeesWelcome dinner, volunteer with a local refugee resettlement agency, and help educate communities about the life-saving role of refugee resettlement. Especially as Congress must allocate funds to government agencies by December 11th, these actions are timely and vital to urging the United States to help displaced persons and refugee-hosting countries, resettle more refugees, and ensure that communities have the resources they need to help refugees integrate and thrive as they rebuild their lives.

60 million people are displaced globally, the highest numbers since World War II. This includes 4 million Syrian refugees and nearly 8 million individuals displaced within Syria. As we witness the desperation of people fleeing their homes to seek safety, the refusal of many countries to accept refugees, the unwelcoming attitudes and anti-Muslim sentiment of some, and the growing attention and public support for refugee resettlement we have a responsibility to act now to show that our communities welcome refugees.

Holodomor Memorial Dedication Ceremony

On Saturday, November 7, from 2;00-5:00pm, there will be an exhibit and dedication ceremony for the Holodomor Memorial in Washington, DC.

The Holodomor famine took place from 1932 to 1933, under the regime of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. This man-made famine, artificially created by the regime to destroy those seeking independence from the Soviet Union, caused the death of around 7 to 10 million people.

The memorial, authorized by Congress in 2006, commemorates the millions of innocent victims of the famine engineered by Stalin’s communist regime.
‘Into the Mystic,’ John Dorhauer’s weekly podcast debuts on

The United Church of Christ General Minister and President plans to connect with members of the wider church weekly, in a pretty accessible way. That's the impetus behind "Into the Mystic" – a podcast from the Rev. John C. Dorhauer that will be available every Monday on

"I want the art and practice of spiritual reflection to be modeled as a priority and not just a part time avocation," said Dorhauer. "I want to be seen as both General MINISTER and President. Most of what I do reminds people I am the latter. This will help them see the role as more dimensional."
An Opportunity for Pastors to Apply to the Lilly Endowment’s Clergy Renewal Programs

The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary provide funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for their pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor and for the pastor’s family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply; the grants represent the Endowment’s continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations.

Rosa Robles Loreto goes home after 461 days in sanctuary
Stated Clerk calls for continued action for immigration reform

For 461 consecutive nights Rosa Robles Loreto, seeking sanctuary inside Southside Presbyterian Church, joined supporters in prayers for freedom, for safety, and to change America’s broken immigration system.

On Tuesday they gathered once again, but this time for the final prayer vigil. The wife and mother of two young boys, who has become a faith-filled voice of the new sanctuary movement, walked free from Southside Church in Tucson, Arizona, Wednesday morning.

Rosa entered the doors of the church on August 7, 2014, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entered a final order of deportation against her. The baseball mom had lived peacefully in the U.S. since 1999. She was not ready to leave her family behind.


Over fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the President's Commission on White House Fellowships and over the course of nine presidential administrations the nonpartisan White House Fellows program has become the nation's premier fellowship for public service and leadership. The program's mission is to expose Fellows to first-hand, high-level experience in the Federal government. The program consists of a full-time work placement in the offices of Cabinet Secretaries, senior White House staff, and other high-ranking Administration officials. During a year in Washington, DC, Fellows also participate in a robust education program designed to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of the Federal government. It is an extraordinary year that yields a lifetime of rewards. Learn more about the White House Fellows program here.

Each fall, we are honored to welcome a new class of White House Fellows and accelerate our efforts to recruit applicants for the next class. We invite you to join in our efforts and know that your support will allow us to reach remarkable leaders all over the country. Here are 5 Easy Things You Can Do to help us recruit Fellows:

  • Engage One-on-One. Identify exceptional individuals who could become White House Fellows and encourage them to apply.
  • Send an Email. Please share information about the White House Fellows program to your professional and social networks.
  • Utilize Social Media. Post messages promoting the program to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. using #WHFellows #BecomeaWHF
  • Sponsor an Event. Please consider hosting an informational session, panel, or reception to present the program; to the extent possible, White House Fellows program staff will lend support and provide background materials.
  • Leverage Earned Media. As a thought leader in your community, we invite you to submit op-eds, contribute to news stories, and/or author blog posts to share your experiences with the White House Fellows program.
Thank you for your help. Please let us know if you have questions. We know that your support will allow the White House Fellows program to stay strong for years to come!

Jennifer Yeager Kaplan, Director
President's Commission on White House Fellowships
main: 202-395-4522

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