Subject: UPDATED NCC Newsletter – February 23, 2024

NCC Newsletter

February 23, 2024

Black History Month: Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, 1957

Prayer in Remembrance of Devastating War in Ukraine, Year 2

Pilgrimage for Peace Completes Eight-day Journey to White House

NCC staffers walked with other Pilgrimage for Peace participants to Lafayette Square Park by the White House on the last day of the eight-day journey from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Below: Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, NCC Senior Associate General Secretary, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, NCC President and General Secretary, Rev. Stephen A. Green, NCC Civic Engagement and Outreach Consultant. Photos: DAGFOTO/FCNL

Pilgrimage for Peace completed its eight-day journey from Philadelphia, PA, to Washington, DC, with a rally at Lafayette Square Park near the White House to urge President Biden and Congress to call for an end to the Israel-Hamas war . This rally gathered on the heels of the Baltimore Rally and Prayer Vigil held at Payne AME Church on Feb. 19.

NCC journeyed alongside partners in this multi-faith coalition to push for the immediate release of all hostages, an increase in humanitarian aid, and a peaceful resolution to the horrific conflict in the region.

In addition to popular in-person support, the events surrounding Pilgrimage for Peace generated a great deal of interest across social media platforms (#ceasefirenow).

The program included land acknowledgment, songs sung throughout the 150-mile pilgrimage, and prayer. Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, NCC President and General Secretary, was among the guest speakers, which included Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, NCC Senior Associate General Secretary, Rev. Stephen A. Green, NCC Civic Engagement and Outreach Consultant, Rabbi Alissa Wise, Rabbis for Ceasefire Lead Organizer, Kyle Cristofalo, Churches for Middle East Peace Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations and Special Advisor to the Executive Director, and other notable leaders and participants.

This event served as the culmination of the pilgrimage that yielded almost 400 registrants from across the United States, ascribing to faith traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism. Throughout the journey, the participants were welcomed by nearly 20 houses of worship, including Islamic centers, mosques, and AME and Episcopal churches. Food, water, transportation, and supplies were donated by NCC and several generous churches and organizations, often at a moment's notice.

Pilgrimage for Peace lead organizers and participants at Payne AME Church in Baltimore, MD. Photo: Sue Dorfman

Watch the Pilgrimage for Peace Baltimore rally and Washington, DC rally here on NCC's YouTube channel. If you

Pilgrimage for Peace Partnering Organizations:

Faith for Black Lives, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Rabbis for Ceasefire, Hindus for Human Rights, The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia)

Pilgrimage for Peace Co-sponsors:

Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, Until Freedom, First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Make It Plain, Kol Tzedek Synagogue, Germantown Mennonite Church, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), FOSNA, IfNotNow, Cultural Survival Quarterly, Tikkun Olam Chavurah, Jewish Voice for Peace - Philadelphia, CRS, National African American Clergy Network, If Not Now Philly, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Hinenu: the Baltimore Justice Shtiebl, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice + Freedom Church of the Poor, Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Global Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage, and American Friends Service Committee, Delawareans for Palestinian Human Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace, Batrice and Associates, Arab American Institute Foundation, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Pax Christi USA, WILPF, Greater Philadelphia Branch (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), Synagogues Rising, Freedom Road Community Peacemaker Teams, Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Christian-Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace Baltimore, CAIR Maryland, Association des Dynamiques des Jeunes Marocains, Nonviolence International, New Synagogue Project, Middle Church, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Dream Defenders, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Faith Strategies, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Judson Memorial Church, Mishkan Shalom, Put People First! PA, Freedom Road, LLC, UCC Palestine Israel Network, Tree of Life Educational Fund, Philly United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Sacred Inclusion Network,, IfNotNow Baltimore, DC Families for Ceasefire, Forefront Church, and others.

Celebrate Unity in Diversity
this Lenten Season

Health and Wellness Is a Human Right

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, 2to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. (Isaiah 10:1–2, NIV)

In fiscal year 2023 the United States federal government was estimated to spend $6.3 trillion. 1 One may think that with that much money, a country should be able to address a whole host of social issues but it may be surprising to know that a recent study by scholars at U.C. Irvine revealed that poverty is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.2 

How is it possible that a country with so much abundance has a population that is dying from lack? Lack of healthcare, lack of living wages, lack of access to affordable and secure housing, lack of access to clean water and air, lack of safety from gun violence, lack of equal access to the democratic process, and much more. Too many people in our communities are dying from systemic injustices and it doesn’t have to be this way.

This year much of the national news cycle will be enthralled with the 2024 elections. In November, U.S. voters will be asked to cast their votes for candidates they believe will establish justice and promote the general welfare. Leading up to the election, candidates will be asked how they plan on addressing an array of societal concerns and what resources they plan on using to do so. Unfortunately, in most cases, poverty will not be addressed as a centering systemic issue.

Systemic poverty in this country is not caused by the lack of willpower of those experiencing poverty but due to the lack of moral conviction of those with political power to address the root causes of such injustice. Too often are we witnessing unjust laws being passed left and right that rob the poor of their rights. People of faith are familiar with Matthew 25:40, which reminds us that whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me.

Many of us take these words seriously and have participated in, supported, and created ministries that directly address the daily needs of those cast out onto the margins. While these ministries are meeting the immediate needs of our communities it falls short of addressing the root causes that have enabled such injustices to fester. The oppressive decrees and unjust laws that are being passed and the life saving measures that are being blocked are literally costing people their lives.

Instead of debating whether we have the budget to address these concerns, or whether certain people should or should not have access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we should instead look to shift the social narrative to one that is rooted in the principle that health and wellness is a human right.

Truly caring for the health and wellness of one another means being able to exercise our collective social and political power. Whether that is joining a social movement3, mobilizing and organizing your communities4, or casting your vote, we all have a part to play in creating a world where all are cared for and injustice is no more.

By Rev. A. Kazimir Brown

Executive Director/Vice-President, Repairers of the Breach

Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Itinerant Elder A.M.E. Church

Additional Resources:





Mass Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers' State House Assembly in Annapolis

Save the Date!

Saturday, March 2, Annapolis, Maryland

March at 11 a.m., Assembly at 12 p.m.

Sign up to be part of a powerful presence with the Maryland Poor People's Campaign as Mass Poor People's & Low-Wage Workers' State House Assemblies are held in 38 state capitals in a Day of Nationally-Coordinated, Simultaneous direct action all across the country!

Join thousands of people across the nation to bring the demands of 140 million poor and low-wealth people directly to lawmakers! Everybody in, nobody out!

We call on all who believe in and demand: living wages, healthcare, voting rights & stopping voter suppression, equal rights for all, worker/labor rights, environmental justice, access to housing, fully-funded public education, abolishing poverty…

… and all who believe IN THE UNITY OF LOVE, not the division of hate!

Explore Nurturing Justice February Events

On February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET, Nurturing Justice is hosting an online panel discussion about the Spirituality of Reproductive Justice with Dr. Lucinda Canty, founder of Lucinda’s house, Rev. Kyndra Frazier of Kynd Consulting  (, Kaylan Frazier, leader of Nurturing Justice’s Southern Reproductive Justice initiative, and thought leaders Erin Livenspager of the Wild Gifting Project, and Tasha Blanco of the Black Girls Health Collective.

This online panel will delve into the critical issue about women’s agency of their own bodies. They will explore the historical narrative and the current restrictions on personal agency for women. Further, they will explore how spirituality influences personal choices and their ability to advocate effectively for personal bodily rights.  Keep an eye on NJ's social media platforms for more information.

More information on NJ events can be accessed here.

Friendship Press Announces New Releases from The People's Bible, Plus Promo Video

Employment Opportunities

Interfaith Alliance Position Openings

Interfaith Alliance is seeking to expand their team with passionate and talented candidates! Click on the links below for more information:

• • • • • •

Faith in Public Life Position Openings

Faith in Public Life is hiring for a few positions and is looking for candidates who would be a good fit. Click on the links below for more information:


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