Subject: NCC Weekly News: Richard Allen, Nobel Prize Nomination

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From Jim: Richard Allen, a Remarkable Life
Last week, I drove to Philadelphia for the unveiling of the new Richard Allen commemorative stamp at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was packed with at least 1500 people present in the sanctuary and the fellowship hall for a wonderful dedication ceremony carried out in conjunction with the US Postal Service.

Vernon Jordan, a lifelong member of the AME Church and former head of the Urban League and the United Negro College Fund, served as master of ceremonies and various dignitaries, including the mayor of Philadelphia, attended and spoke at the ceremony. 

Bishop Richard Allen was the founder of the AME Church and Bethel is the Mother Church of the denomination. Allen was born a slave in 1760, accepted Christ after attending a Methodist revival. He purchased his freedom from slaveowner Stokeley Sturgis, and gradually made his from Maryland to Philadelphia where he became a successful businessman and leader in the city. 
In Philadelphia, he attended St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church and built up the membership there of black members. However, racist white Methodist leaders placed increasing restrictions on Allen. Eventually, he led blacks out of St. George’s and established Bethel AME. 

For 20 years, white Methodists attempted to control Richard Allen and members of his church. At one point, they placed Bethel up for auction. Needless to say, they were not happy when Bethel members raised the funds necessary to buy back their own church at the auction.

In 1816, Allen was elected the first bishop of the new African Methodist Episcopal Church. Over 200 years, the denomination has spread to five continents and 39 nations and is comprised of some 2.5 million members. It is one of the founders of the Federal and National Councils of Churches.

Bishop Reginald Jackson, chair of the AME Social Action Commission, Ms. Jackie Dupont Walker, director of the AME Social Action Commission, and Rev. William Miller, pastor of St. John AME, near Charleston, SC, represent the denomination on the NCC Governing Board. Bishop Jackson and Jackie Dupont Walker played leading roles in the effort to convince the Postal Service to issue the Richard Allen stamp.

I hope everyone will purchase the new stamp, as a way of expressing solidarity with the AME Church and to celebrate Black History Month.

Throughout his remarkable life, Richard Allen not only spread the good news of Jesus Christ; he fought against slavery and racism and lifted up his community in the midst of slavery and racism. I encourage everyone to read “Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers,” by Dr. Richard Newman, director of the Library Company of Philadelphia.

I’m grateful to God for the life of Richard Allen and look forward to the bicentennial General Conference of the AME Church this summer in Philadelphia.

Jim Winkler,
President and General Secretary

Join us for the Christian Unity Gathering 2016!
May 4-7 at the Doubletree Hotel Baltimore Washington Airport

Fear Not: God's Love in an Anxious Age

At this year's Gathering, we will explore what it means to be a people who show God's love in a time where fear defines the lives of our communities, our political discourse, and our nation. Particular focus will be how we can work against the fear we find in the mass incarceration of and violence against communities of color and hateful actions and speech against our brothers and sisters of other faiths.

Central to our time together will be face to face meetings of our Convening Tables and Governing Board. Register now to get the discounted rate!

Coalition Blasts Pentagon’s 2017 Budget Proposal, Calls on Congress to Reject Budget Packed with Money for Pet Projects and Contractors

The Win Without War Coalition blasted the Obama administration’s proposed $583 billion Department of Defense budget for failing to rein in wasteful programs while continuing to line the pockets of Defense contractors with a return on their lobbying investment.

“The budget released today represents a bonanza for Defense contractor CEOs and another shakedown of American families who are struggling to make ends meet” said Drew Proctor, Advocacy Director for Win Without War. “From the Pentagon’s OCO slush fund to the F-35 boondoggle, this budget is about more waste and less security for the American people.”

“This budget explains why defense contractors spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying. Politics as usual is paying big dividends for contractors whose lavish and wasteful defense projects have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with their corporate bottom line. The amount of money spent on just three unmanned surveillance planes – $1.6 billion – could repair Flint, Michigan’s water infrastructure.”

“We urge Members of Congress – including those who claim to care about fiscal responsibility – to re-write this budget. It is time to put the interests of hardworking Americans ahead of politics as usual.”

Win Without War is a coalition of national organizations with diverse constituencies totaling over 11 million members. Our members oppose the continued U.S. war in Afghanistan, wasteful spending at the Pentagon, and the over-militarization of America’s foreign policy. We seek national security policies that both meet challenges of the 21st century and are consistent with our nation’s highest values.

Community of Christ: 2016 International Peace Award Recipient

We are pleased to announce Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee (pronounced beau we) as the 2016 Community of Christ International Peace Award recipient. Ms.Gbowee will receive the award during World Conference at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, June 4, 2016, in the Auditorium Conference Chamber in Independence, Missouri.

This service of “Celebrating Peace” also will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Peace Pavilion. Please join the award presentation and keynote address in person or by live webcast.

Ms. Gbowee is the founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. Among her many accomplishments, she is the 2011 Nobel Peace laureate for her leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. This nonviolent movement joined Christian and Muslim women, empowering them to speak against the war and join in prayer and public protest. Their actions played a pivotal role in ending the civil war in Liberia in 2003.

Richard Allen's Church Celebrates His Postage Stamp

An overflow crowd packed the sanctuary and the balconies of Mother Bethel AME Church and the first floor of its Fellowship Hall Tuesday for a ceremony celebrating the new stamp in honor of Richard Allen, founder of the historic house of worship.

The stamp's release coincides with the 200th anniversary of the 1816 conference of African American Methodist ministers called by Allen to form a new independent African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Allen was born into slavery on Feb. 14, 1760 on an estate owned by Philadelphian Benjamin Chew.

As a young man, Allen and one of his brothers worked to buy their freedom after their family had been sold to a plantation owner in Delaware.
Emanuel AME Church has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nine members of the congregation were slain by a self-avowed white supremacist in June 2015. In a response that stunned many, church members told accused killer Dylann Roof that they forgave them. Thornton Township, Ill., supervisor Frank Zuccarelli and other politicians, including U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Robyn Kelly both of Illinos, submitted the Emanuel nomination this past Saturday, meeting tomorrow’s deadline. Others nominated include a woman who champions the rights of Islamic State rape victims, Pope Francis and the Afghan women’s cycling team. The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives more than 200 nominations for the prestigious prize, and keeps candidates secret for 50 years.
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