Holy Week Reflections

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is an assembly of distinct traditions, customs, and practices; yet, together we join together in the belief that “Jesus is Lord!” We are a community of Christian communions who strive for unity amid our diversity. The Christian liturgical calendar helps us in our strivings. At different moments in the calendar year our communions recognize the final days of the life of Jesus. These days begin with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his discourse of the end times, the preparation for the Passover, The Last Supper with his closest followers, Jesus’ trial and crucifixion on a cross. Together, our community of communions also celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Our Lord lives!

"Emmanuel, God with us," and "Jesus is Lord" are pillar affirmations of Christians. These two declarations are like bookends of our faith; two sides of one coin. From a miraculous conception to his resurrection from the dead, "God is with us" and "Jesus is Lord" are claims that signify God’s presence, power, and promises for humanity.

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NCC Responds to Department of Justice Investigation of Ferguson Policing

“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” ~ The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

WASHINGTON: The National Council of Churches thanks Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department for its report after a thorough investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. The report revealed that the police department and the City of Ferguson perpetuated the practice of discriminatory and racial bias against African-Americans. This shocking report states that the city had “a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violated the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law.”

In a city where 67 percent of the population are African-Americans, 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of all citations issued, and 93 percent of arrests were made from among the city's Black citizens from 2012 to 2014. Racist emails from Ferguson officials and police officers provided further evidence of the undercurrent of racism endemic to policing in the city. The report further revealed the compounding effect of discriminatory acts by the municipal court. The damaging impact on the community of the court's practice of charging extreme fines and penalties that, in essence, created a debtors prison system, a primary source of city revenue at the expense and detriment of the African-American residents, is a reality.

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A Reflection: On Lent, the Pope…and Us

In the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, like other popes before him, has the title “Vicar of Christ.” He does not have this title in my own church, the Orthodox, or in the Protestant and Anglican churches. A vicar is a representative of someone, and in this case the representative of Christ in the world. While all Christians, and in some churches especially the clergy, are to be representatives of Christ, when we hear the word “vicar,” our minds turn toward the pope. In one way, however, this particular Vicar of Christ carries a unique burden, and I don’t mean the burden of his singular ministry. And for this, I actually feel sorry for him.

You see, so many impossible expectations are put upon Francis by so many people, just like so many misplaced expectations were put on Christ when he walked the earth. When Jesus began his ministry, he proclaimed that his role was “to bring good news to the poor…proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind…let the oppressed go free…[and] proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, NRSV). As his ministry gained a following, other expectations were put on him: to lead armies against the Roman Empire, to liberate the Israelites, and to establish a new kingdom on earth. These were the people’s expectations of what a messiah would do. Jesus had other ideas.

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NCC Stands With Assyrian Christians, Condemns ISIS Attack

WASHINGTON: The National Council of Churches condemns the ISIS attack against Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria. This time, in addition to killing many and forcing others to flee, the terrorist group kidnapped some 150 people, women, children and the elderly. Some reports indicate as many as 400 were kidnapped. Among the captives are reported to be Christian priests. The fate of the captives is currently unknown.

Assyrian Christians trace their ethnic roots in the region back 6,000 years, and their religious roots to the early centuries of the Christian era. The language of their communal worship is Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. Despite experiencing difficulties within the wider society throughout the centuries, the Assyrian community has maintained a vital presence in the region for all this time; like other Christians in the region, they have emigrated in large numbers in recent years due to the ongoing violence there. With the rise of ISIS, their very existence, as demonstrated by this latest attack, is now threatened.

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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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Christian Unity Gathering 2015

Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2015

Come to Washington, DC, April 17-20, 2015, for the 13th Annual National Gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice titled, “Breaking the Chains:  Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation. Click here to learn more and register for EAD 2015.

March 31, 2015 15:48
A small step to rectify the injustice of mandatory minimums. #SmarterSentencing

March 31, 2015 11:40
NCC was at the forefront of this campaign, working with SumofUs to build support for further chipping away at the death penalty.

March 30, 2015 14:04
May you have a deep and meaningful Holy Week. These reflections are to be an aid to your personal worship for both Western and Eastern Christian traditions, celebrated on different dates.