2015 Christian Unity Gathering Brings Inspiration, Focus, Spectacle

WASHINGTON: The National Council of Churches held its second annual Christian Unity Gathering, May 7-9, in Washington, DC with over 200 Christian leaders, scholars, activists, and ecumenists present from across the United States to focus on the NCC’s priority of interfaith peacemaking.

The NCC pursues two main areas in its ecumenical work: to build interfaith relations with an emphasis on peacemaking, and to end mass incarceration.

Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian Nobel Peace Prize winner, keynoted the Gathering and shared the powerful story of a mass movement of Christian and Muslims known as Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that helped end the Liberian civil war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

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A Call to Police Reform and Healing of Communities

WASHINGTON: The root of justice and peace is a moral belief in the intrinsic worth of all human life. The advancement of technology and use of social media have brought to light evidence of a disturbing truth – the lives of African Americans, particularly those in impoverished communities, are not valued as much as those of the wealthy and affluent. The misdirected “War on Drugs” and “get tough on crime” policies of the past decades have given birth to militarized police forces that do not best serve the people and communities they are mandated to keep safe.

The high-profile deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hand of police in Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, and most recently Baltimore are not isolated incidents. The incidents of police brutality resulting in major injuries and death are taking place so often we can barely keep up with the reports. This is a national problem that calls for a federal, state and local response.

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Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

This evening’s commemoration is a solemn occasion. We are gathered with our sisters and brothers in the Armenian Orthodox Church and the wider Armenian community to give witness to the Armenian Genocide. We are also gathered with them to acknowledge their faith and resilience in the face of such adversity. And so, we gather together to remember, to mourn, to find inspiration, and yes, even to celebrate.

We remember that the Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century, and that it marked the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the bloodiest, most violent century in all of human history. During the horrific period beginning in 1915 and continuing until 1923, more than 1 million Armenians (and others) were killed, and hundreds of thousands more were displaced. The dead were buried in the land where they had lived for generations. The refugees were dispersed throughout the world, and some to the United States, where their future generations have now become the friends and neighbors with whom we stand today.

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NCC Calls for Justice, End to Violence in Baltimore

WASHINGTON: The National Council of Churches joins with the churches of Baltimore in grieving the loss of Freddie Gray. In the wake of his death and the violence that has followed, we call for sweeping changes to policing methods and procedures that will finally address the causes for the rage being expressed not only in Baltimore, but in cities across the nation. Too many young African-American men and women are dying at the hands of the police, and the nation must correct this injustice immediately. We call upon both rioters and police alike to end their violent acts toward one another.

We dispute the narrative that the riots are being carried out by “criminals and thugs,” as both President Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have characterized rioters and protesters alike. To engage in dismissive name-calling by political leaders who are unable to offer any reasonable justification for Gray’s death is to simply fuel the fire they seek to calm. In the spirit of Jesus’s recollection of the Great Commandment to “love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself,” we cannot abide by speech that diminishes the lives and sacred worth of the young people of communities broken by violence.

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Mission Statement of the NCC

The NCC is a community of communions called by Christ to visible unity and sent forth in the Spirit to promote God’s justice, peace, and the healing of the world.

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May 26, 2015 12:11
For our DC friends: we are hosting a small screening of Abby Disney's new film, "Armor of Light," at the United Methodist building on June 3rd. If you wish to come, you must register at the link below. Thanks, and we hope to see you.

May 11, 2015 15:01
Missed last week's Christian Unity Gathering? Here's a photo montage to show you what you missed. Don't make the same mistake next year- we'd love to see you.

May 8, 2015 10:33
Here is a selection of photographs from the NCC Governing Board meeting and the following Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.