Subject: NCC Weekly News: Las Vegas, Gun Violence

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We Mourn This Terrible Act: a joint statement by the NCC and the World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA grieves with the families of those who lost their lives in the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the night of October 1, 2017. We pray for those whose lives have been shattered by this senseless act and lift up those who will be recovering years to come.

We find ourselves again in shocked disbelief that so many people have been killed and injured by a lone gunman with an array of powerful weapons, with 58 people killed and more than 500 injured in Sunday night’s attack on a crowd of concert-goers.

Just fifteen months ago, the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting was referred to as “the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.” Today’s news of an act that brings an even higher death toll is indeed devastating.

“I have been watching the news out of Las Vegas and have been praying for the victims and their families,” remarked Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches (USA). “I cannot imagine why anyone would carry out such an act nor why it would be legal for ordinary citizens to own such lethal weapons. May we unite as a nation to ensure such terrible acts do not take place again.”

“We are again shocked and saddened by this latest act of brutal violence. Any violence destroys human lives, but nobody is born to be violent,” stated Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. “This tragedy calls for empathy and prayers, but also more efforts to build quality of relations of justice and peace, so that we may have life and life in abundance. As churches, we have a shared responsibility to work for a culture of nonviolence in all societies.”

We do not believe the presence of more weapons will prevent future tragedies like this one in Las Vegas and others in Newtown, Orlando, and countless other places, from taking place. We call upon the U.S. Congress to enact common-sense legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We recommit ourselves to working for a society in which acts of violence like these are unheard of, and that people can live, work, and enjoy restorative time without fear.

Anglican primates offer prayers for Las Vegas as Episcopal leaders mobilize after massacre

Leaders of the Anglican Communion called the weekend massacre in Las Vegas “truly shocking” in a statement released from Canterbury, England, by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, as faith leaders mobilize outreach efforts in the wake of the shooting, which killed at least 58 and injured hundreds more.

Clergy members in the Las Vegas area are providing pastoral care for victims and emergency personnel, memorial worship services are planned for this week, and a group of Episcopal bishops is organizing a nationwide effort to toll church bells Oct. 3 in memory of the dead.

“We are praying for the families and friends of those who have died and for the many people who have been wounded,” Curry said Oct. 2 in a video delivering the statement released by the primates, who are gathered in Canterbury. “We remember, too, everyone else caught up in this tragedy – including the emergency services (first responders). We pray that the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ will be with the people of Las Vegas as they endure this trauma.”

Metropolitan Issues Statement on Shootings in Las Vegas

We are utterly disturbed and saddened, to hear about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The loss of life, and the number of injuries causes great sorrow to all peace loving people. On behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Northeast American Diocese, we express our solidarity with those who are grieving and who have been affected by this tragedy. May Christ, the Prince of Peace, grant us solace and peace during such difficult times.

- Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

Response to the Las Vegas Shooting

The year – 2016

The Place – 2016 Women’s Missionary Society Executive Board Meeting

The Voice – The AME Council of Supervisors, supported by the AME WMS and AME Social Action Commission adopts a resolution on gun violence.

Sadly, the language still applies today. As AMEs we are still traumatized by the 9 who were killed at Mother Emanuel. Today we are again jolted by the killing of at least 50 who gathered for a concert, and untold numbers who were wounded physically and emotionally in that area. The toll of millions of human beings who face senseless killings daily is staggering and will only end when we make this focus our relentless push. It must trump business as usual!

What Now in 2017? 
  • Pray every day for those persons affected by gun violence. Pray for the uncaring who fight to keep assault weapons in the hands of the general public. Pray for those whose lust for profit from the sale of these weapons keeps. Pray for timid legislators who place contributions to their campaigns above duty to their constituents. Pray for all leaders to find clear voices of intolerance of gun violence. Visit: to keep updated for action.
  • Contact your local, state and federal legislators in support of common sense gun legislation. Join with Faiths United Against Gun Violence. Tell your Congressperson to vote “no” on H.R. 3668, the Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, Share Act; vote “yes” on universal background checks.
  • Vote and encourage your neighbors, friends and work colleagues to vote for candidates who support common sense gun legislation. Let’s “un-elect” those who support no controls over gun purchases, background checks and other prudent measures
Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath will be on December 6 and 17, 2017. Consider special emphasis during that period or another timeframe that addresses the anniversary of gun violence incidents in your community. The goal is to Shine A Light On Gun Violence … and the need to stop it!! 

AME Social Action Commission
Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III, Chair
Mrs. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director

UCC general minister and president responds to grief of a community, nation, after Las Vegas shooting

The leader of the United Church of Christ, saddened and sickened over the loss of life in a mass shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas, offers prayers for those killed, the injured, their families, the first responders on the scene, and those who continue to provide physical and pastoral care in that community.

At least 59 people were murdered and more than 500 injured after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas strip Sunday night, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

"Every lost life is a name, a history, a hope, a story - an unfulfilled future," noted UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer. "Every lost life leaves behind loved ones who mourn and grieve and piece together a future of their own torn asunder by matters we cannot comprehend. I can't find words to capture this pain, this collective grief and anger. I cannot reach deep enough into my soul to express fully the pain, the anger, the rage, the confusion, the anxiety, the emptiness. When will it end?"

Statement from Bishops United Against Gun Violence Following the Las Vegas Shooting

We share in the grief and horror of people across our country and, indeed, around the world in the wake of last night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. We have spoken with our Bishops United Against Gun Violence colleague and brother in Christ, Bishop Dan Edwards of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, and we have offered him and the people of Nevada our prayers and promises of assistance. We stand in solidarity with the diocese and the people of Nevada as they cope with this massacre.

It has become clichéd at moments such as these to offer thoughts and prayers. But as Christians, we must reflect upon the mass killings that unfold with such regularity in our country. And we must pray: for the victims, for their loved ones, for all who attended to the victims in the immediacy of the shooting, for the first responders who do so much to mitigate the awful effects of these shootings, and for the medical personnel who will labor for many days to save the wounded. We must also enter into the sorrow of those who are most deeply affected by our country’s cripplingly frequent outbursts of lethal gun violence. We must look into our own hearts and examine the ways in which we are culpable or complicit in the gun violence that surrounds us every day.

Clergy network stands strong in Charlottesville

The interfaith Charlottesville Clergy Collective has been a primary force containing the violence that occurred in the picturesque university town this summer.

First, there was July's rally of the Ku Klux Klan. The event drew about 50 Klan members and more than 1,000 counter-demonstrators.

In August, white supremacists rioted and one person, Heather Heyer, 32, died when a driver intentionally drove into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. A suspect, James Fields Jr., has been charged with second-degree murder and with the “malicious wounding” of others. A group of white supremacists also severely beat Deandre Harris, an African-American counter-protester, with metal poles.

Throughout both clashes, First United Methodist Church served as a safe space, where counter-demonstrators found security away from the madness in the streets. On Aug. 12, the church had to go into lockdown four times to protect the inhabitants from attack by the supremacists.

The destruction could have been far worse, especially in the August turmoil.

Dream Sabbath 2017 Launch: Join Us to Stand in Solidarity with Immigrant Youth

President Trump has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and Congress has less than six months to pass the Dream Act to protect 800,000 immigrant youth from deportation.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition invites people of all faiths to stand in solidarity with immigrant youth by organizing a Dream Sabbath, ideally before the end of October. A Dream Sabbath can be dedicating time during a regular weekly worship service to having immigrant youth share their stories and asking congregants to take action in support of the Dream Act, or it can be a vigil, meeting with your Senators and Representatives, etc.

Register today for “Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence,”
November 8-9, in Washington, DC!

Through powerful speakers, seminars, and presentations we will find inspiration as people who are called to bind up wounds, fight injustice, and protect the poor and vulnerable. How do we grow, adapt, and thrive when we get discouraged? What does it mean to “stand in the way? Where do we go to find the strength to remain engaged?

Our 2017 Christian Unity Gathering will examine all these questions through our theme, “Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence.” Come and be inspired and equipped for the long journey ahead!

Speakers include:
Bishop W. Darin Moore is the Presiding Prelate of the Mid-Atlantic District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Bishop Moore also currently serves as the NCC Governing Board Vice-Chair. An electric preacher, Bishop Moore will bring the message during our opening service on Wednesday evening November 8 at 7:30pm.

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. She will speak during our Awards Gala on Thursday November 9 at 6pm.

Plus, we’re hosting a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, perhaps the hottest ticket in Washington! This museum tour will be a profound experience for everyone. It will provide the foundation for powerful new programs of the NCC that will be also announced at CUG. This is the best way for you to see this new, important museum.

Ecumenical Opportunities:

The WSCF seeks a regional staff person with a vision for nurturing dynamic ecumenical student movements in the US and Canada; committed to social justice; and desiring to work as part of an international team on global student concerns. This role will be under a 2-year contract with the opportunity to renew for a maximum of 8 years. Salary and Benefits are negotiable.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) seeks a part-time Campaign Organizer to conduct recruitment for events for its Closing Guantanamo campaign. January 11, 2018 marks the 16th anniversary of the opening of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Campaign Organizer will conduct outreach to NRCAT members and other faith communities across the United States to recruit leadership and provide resources for rallies, vigils or other events to mark the anniversary and call for an end to indefinite detention and the closure of the detention center. 

The anticipated contract period is October 1, 2017 to January 19, 2018, with the possibility of an earlier start date. NRCAT seeks an individual for 20-25 hours per week. Preference for an individual located in the Washington, DC region.

Refugee Council USA Seeks a new Director: the Coalition is looking for a passionate and visionary leader who will work with 25 member organizations to develop and implement strategies that best protect and serve refugees and that help restore a positive national discourse about refugees and refugee resettlement. The ideal candidate will have ample experience in government advocacy at the federal and/or state levels, is a gifted communicator and has proven interpersonal and management skills, notably in leading a member-driven coalition.

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, 
the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions 
and more than 40 million Christians in a common expression of God’s love and promise of unity. 
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