Subject: NCC Weekly News: The Work Ahead, Korean Peace

View this email online if it doesn't display correctly
From Jim: Moving Forward to End Racism
I have served as a general secretary for 18 years, first with the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society and now with the National Council of Churches. Over that period, I have been responsible for organizing quite a few board meetings. Most have gone well, and I can’t remember any of them turning out poorly. 

Certainly, tough decisions were made on many occasions. But in my experience, although our debates were often intense, these gatherings of church leaders have been marked by prayer and a desire to come to a common mind. 

I wish I could say otherwise, but too often first-timers have found themselves thrown into the deep end with scant orientation. 
This week, the NCC Governing Board met in Washington, DC, with the usual mix of veterans and newcomers. We spent a considerable period of time reflecting on what we learned from the great ACT to End Racism rally held on the National Mall on April 4. The challenge before us is to seize the momentum created by this massive launch and work diligently to end racism. It would be easy to succumb to the temptation to charge forward without a serious plan. To do so would be a mistake.

Histories of the civil rights movement reveal that Dr. King and his associates spent countless hours in debate and prayer regarding the next step forward. Almost nothing was easy: should children be involved in the Birmingham demonstrations? Should Dr. King go to Chicago? Should he go to Memphis? Should he speak against the Vietnam War? Should he launch a Poor People’s Campaign?

Similar challenges face the NCC. How can we make a solid contribution to the task of ending racism? It will have to take place at the individual, the congregational, the denominational, and the national levels.

There are those who feel ending racism is an unrealistic dream. This is not so. It is not God’s will that people will be prejudiced and discriminate against others based on the color of their skin. That is a choice made by humans. 

I have changed my opinions on any number of things over the course of my life including my attitudes toward other individuals. The United States has altered its views of entire nations, at times. A country can go from being part of the "axis of evil," for example, to being one seen as behaving "honorably." 

Racism can be defeated, but the victory will not come solely as a result of a change of heart. Instead, it will require we root it out of all of the systems that affect our daily lives. Let us dedicate ourselves to the task.

Grace and peace,
Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary
Statement on Peace on the Korean Peninsula

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA joins with the National Council of Churches of Korea and the World Council of Churches in giving thanks for the wonderful reports emanating from the meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas indicating the armistice that ended the war in 1953 may finally be replaced by a peace treaty. For decades, we have prayed and worked for peace alongside all of our sisters and brothers from Korea. We continue to be in prayer for the possibility of a successful meeting in the coming weeks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. May God continue to guide our leaders along the path to peace.

“Panmunjom Declaration”: the beginning of a new history of reconciliation and peace

Today we are deeply moved by the step made towards a new history of reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula. The summit which started with the two leaders of Korea crossing the military demarcation line (MDL) has deeply moved the heart of all Koreans and the people in the world.

Having recognized the absurdity and pain brought forth by separation, for more than 50 years the NCCK has worked for the reconciliation and peace of Korea while praying without ceasing. Therefore, the NCCK welcomes the historical Declaration pronounced by the two Korean leaders at the Panmunjom Peace House on April 27, and we show a great respect to the two leaders who eventually worked out the Declaration.

World Council of Churches Statement on Korean Peninsula

So many long-held ecumenical hopes and dreams, so suddenly being affirmed together by the leaders of both Koreas! The World Council of Churches and the worldwide ecumenical movement join with all people of good will in celebrating the historic contributions made by today’s Inter-Korean Summit to the growing movement for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. The reported commitment by both leaders to signing a peace treaty this year, formally ending the Korean War, if achieved, would be the realization of a call promoted by the National Council of Churches in South Korea, the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea, and the World Council of Churches for many years, but long dismissed as impossible by political ‘realists’. But peace IS possible. And the signing of a peace treaty to draw a line under that tragic chapter in the history of the Korean people will be the start, not yet the end, of the work for a sustainable and secure peace for current and future generations of people in the region.

Reverend Barber: Sermon on War and Militarism 

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC, May 6th at 7:00pm

Under the current proposed federal budget, 66 cents of every dollar of federal discretionary spending will go to the military by 2023, while only 12 cents will be used for anti-poverty programs. War and militarism are persistent and pervasive evils perpetuated by a distorted moral narrative that must be challenged.

The only war we should be fighting is a war on poverty. On May 6th at 7pm, join us at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church—the same church where Abraham Lincoln worshiped when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke out against the Vietnam War—to hear Reverend Barber’s sermon on how we can stand together against the persistent and pervasive evils of war and militarism.

U.S. Must Keep DACA and Accept New Applications, Federal Judge Rules

In the biggest setback yet for the Trump administration in its attempt to end a program that shields some undocumented young adults from deportation, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the protections must stay in place and that the government must resume accepting new applications.

Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said that the administration’s decision to terminate the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was based on the “virtually unexplained” grounds that the program was “unlawful.”

The judge stayed his decision for 90 days and gave the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the program, the opportunity to better explain its reasoning for canceling it. If the department fails to do so, it “must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications,” Judge Bates said in the decision.

James Cone, ‘founder of black liberation theology,’ dies at 79

The Rev. James H. Cone, the scholar known as the “founder of black liberation theology,” died Saturday (April 28), Union Theological Seminary announced.

He was 79.

The author of such books as “Black Theology & Black Power” and “God of the Oppressed” joined the faculty of the New York City seminary in 1969.

“In so many ways, James Cone has been Union Theological Seminary for the past 50 years,” said Union President Serene Jones. “To say his death leaves a void is a staggering understatement. His prophetic voice, deep kindness, and fierce commitment to black liberation embodied not just the very best of our seminary, but of the theological field as a whole and of American prophetic thought and action.”

His theology contrasted sharply with traditional theological approaches in that he articulated God’s identification with U.S. blacks. In portraying Christ’s blackness, he upended the assumptions of a field dominated by white theologians and helped spawn other theories of liberation.

Endangered Species and Christian Faith

When God called on Noah to protect all creatures, Noah had no choice which creatures to load on board. All of creation belongs to God, and Noah was merely caretaker. Like Noah, we have a moral responsibility to safeguard God's creatures from irreparable harm from the dangers they face today.

Too many parts of God's creation teeter on the verge of extinction, and one in five species are threatened.

Ecclesiastes 3:19 says that the fate of the animals and the fate of humans are intertwined and we both share the same breath.

We know not what we do when we allow species to disappear from the earth forever. Let us not undo God’s handiwork.

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. 
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.