Subject: NCC Weekly News: White Privilege, Focus on Marginalized in Election

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From Jim:
Throughout my working life, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work in multi-ethnic settings beginning with my first job at age 14 in a Chinese carryout restaurant. From there, I worked as a stocker of shelves in a drugstore, in a bubble gum factory, in a pizza restaurant, etc. The only job I ever had in an all-white environment was when I was the only employee of a recycling plant. 

These experiences have greatly enriched my life and, of course, they have often been challenging for me, a product of white privilege. I have participated in many anti-racism workshops, retreats, and training events—and led a few—and held countless conversations related to racism and racial justice with friends and co-workers. 

For many years, I led seminars on national and international affairs in the United Methodist Church, primarily for young people. After the uprising in Los Angeles in 1992, following the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King, many of our seminars focused on racism. I was struck by how very difficult it was for well-meaning, Bible-believing white Christians to accept the very idea of white privilege.

Perhaps the most effective experiential exercise I utilized was called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” developed by a professor named Peggy McIntosh. You can read more about her by following this link, 

A Washington Post last year found a majority of whites now say more needs to be done to ensure equal rights for black people, a significant increase from the percentage who felt that way before Michael Brown’s death in 2014. However, we need for 100% of white folks to understand the imperative for systemic change to take place in our nation. 

Race has complicated dynamics, some of which are perplexing.  As an example, it is mystifying to me to learn that a survey of Native Americans revealed an overwhelming majority are not offended by the “Washington Redskins” team name. We often like to seize on one fact or example or poll to ‘prove’ our views on race and racism. 

The growing racial tension in our nation, coupled with the flamboyant rhetoric used in the current presidential campaign, should be a wake-up call to white Americans of the need to address racism, to understand our nation’s history, to develop personal relationships with persons of color, to confront friends and family members who use derogatory racial stereotypes, and to move beyond simple formulas and bromides. 

The increasing racial and ethnic diversity in our nation, coupled with slow but steady gains in women in leadership positions, has and will provoke a backlash from white men. The death pangs or rearguard actions have been underway for decades and will continue for decades to come. Some will be almost comical in nature, others will be head-shaking, yet others will be violent in nature, but change is coming. The question is whether the body politic can hold together during this earthquake and whether the church of Jesus Christ will play a constructive role. 
Yours in Christ,

Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary

Clergy call to bring marginalized into political focus this election season

Just as they did a week earlier in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, a group of interfaith clergy took to Philadelphia's streets during the Democratic National Convention to call on political leaders to look past rhetoric and instead focus on relieving the burdens on society's most vulnerable.

And, as she did a week earlier, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, spoke for those who often have no voice.

"We are here because those who are on the margins must become the center of all our deliberation," said Blackmon, who marched alongside about three dozen clergy from the Friends Center — run by the Quakers — to the local DNC offices. The group represented more than 1,200 signatories to the "Higher Ground Moral Declaration," and presented that statement to a representative from the Democratic Party.

The declaration reflects the "highest moral traditions" of the faith community, explained the Rev. William J. Barber, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor, in seeking public policy support that cares for the sick and poor, addresses discrimination and highlights issues of workers rights and economic equality.


God calls His people to seek justice. But given the complexities of our criminal justice system, how can the followers of Jesus have a clear understanding of criminal justice issues and take action to promote peace and restoration?

To that end, Prison Fellowship is excited to release the Outrageous Justice small-group curriculum, designed to awaken Christians to the need for justice that restores.

Outrageous Justice includes:
  • An engaging, 6-lesson study guide for small groups and accompanying DVD with teaching segments and first-person stories of people impacted by crime and incarceration
  • A companion book, co-authored by the leaders of Prison Fellowship's criminal justice reform division, that gives in-depth insights into crime, incarceration, prison ministry, and justice reform
  • Small groups will learn about the challenges in the American criminal justice system and explore how Christians can respond in hands-on ways to pursue justice and bring about true hope, restoration, and healing.
Office of Public Witness staff connect with visiting Korean church delegation

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) hosted a delegation from the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) this week to advocate for a permanent peace treaty between North and South Korea. The Church of the Brethren is a member organization of the NCC, and staff of the Office of Public Witness participated in events with the Korean delegation. Delegation members visited with key members of Congress, White House officials, and members of the ecumenical community to discuss prospects for peace.

This visit coincided with the 63rd anniversary of the July 27 armistice agreement that ended a three-year war between North and South Korea in 1953. Continuing tensions between the North and South, compounded by the presence of US troops in South Korea, have lapsed into threats of violence and outright confrontation between the two nations periodically since the armistice was signed. These critical relations highlight the urgency of the delegation’s call for a diplomatic negotiation of a permanent peace treaty.

On July 28, this tense reality came to light when a top North Korean diplomat spoke out against new US sanctions imposed on North Korea on July 6, stating that the US had “crossed the red line” and that “we regard this extraordinary crime of the US as a declaration of war.”

Protest and Street Theatre Campaign in Nagpur against injustices to Dalits

In recent times, a series of atrocities on Dalit youths and women all over India have terrorized the entire nation. NCCI's Dalit Concerns Programme and Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns along with Bahujan Rangbhumi thought it best to to voice out the issue in the press and take it to the streets. A Press Conference was organised at the Tilak Patrakaar Bhavan on the 28th July 2016. This was followed on 30th July 2016 by a protest Dharna and a street Theatre depicting the atrocities on Dalits and challenging the people to rise up to the occasion.

In spite of the heavy rains, around 200 people participated in the protest at RBI [Samvidhaan] Square, Nagpur at 11-00. am; they came from different walks of life, religious institutions, dalit organisations, like-minded organisations and NGOs, including men, women, and youth, to show their solidarity and to fight together against injustices faced by Dalits and all marginalised sections of our society in the country.

This Week's Podcast: Nuclear Weapons and Non-Violence

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 guest: Dan Zak, author of "Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age," speaks to us about his book detailing a break-in at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in the summer of 2012.  Dan will discuss the intrusion by three peace protesters, its aftermath, and its importance to the security of the planet.

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:

Nominate a White House Champion of Change for Extracurricular Enrichment for Marginalized Girls: We're looking for people and organizations advancing equity for marginalized girls, including girls of color, through extracurricular and afterschool enrichment programs.

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

The Legal Action Center is seeking a Criminal Justice Policy Associate in our Washington, DC office. Information about LAC can be found at Please contact Sherie Boyd ( for a copy of the job description and with any questions.

The WCC is looking for an EAPPI Communication Officer at 100% based in Jerusalem to be responsible to be to identify internal and external communication priorities, transform communications strategies into concrete action, and align messages toward WCC’s common objectives and goals. Reporting to the Local Program Coordinator on a day-to-day basis, she/he will be fully integrated to the WCC communication department, and as such will be accountable to the director of communication. (Ends August 15)

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) seeks an Assembly Coordinator: The CEC is an ecumenical fellowship of 114 Member Churches, National Councils of Churches, and Organizations in Partnership. CEC’s membership covers Europe in its broad political sense, from Iceland to Armenia, Canary Islands to Siberia. CEC was founded in 1959 having active associates and networks in most European countries. The mission of CEC is to pursue together the path of growing conciliar understanding by helping the European Churches to renew their spiritual life, to strengthen their common witness and service and to promote the unity of the Church and peace in the world.

UCC Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries: On July 1, The Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ is beginning a search process for a new Executive Minister with the goal of presenting a candidate for election to the UCC Board of Directors at its March 2017 meeting.

Click here to learn more
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