Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace
At the core of Christian faith is a commitment to work on behalf of and with those marginalized by our society; the hungry, sick, poor, prisoners, strangers and powerless people (Matt. 25:44). Jesus’ life provides the model by which we are to work for justice and peace in our world. Like the Old Testament prophets, we raise our voices with the voiceless and help victims defend themselves from injustice.
The National Council of Churches has been a prophetic voice for justice and peace for its entire existence. The NCC played a vital role in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, supported conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, was a voice for peace throughout the Cold War, and spoke up for religious liberty for all after 9/11, standing with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Today, the NCC continues to advocate with those who seek justice through the Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace Convening Table. Current efforts focus on the mass incarceration crisis within communities of color and building bridges of peace across faiths. In addition, the NCC remains engaged in emergent situations, such as immigration reform and supporting a living wage for workers, where the voice of the churches is needed.
Changes to our Justice and Advocacy Work
In recent years, the NCC has been involved in a diverse range of issues such as poverty alleviation, protecting the environment, racial justice, and responding to the particular concerns of women. The NCC continues to remain engaged in these areas; however the primary program work in some cases has been spun off to new organizations that continue to bring the ecumenical community together to struggle for justice. Below you will find resources and links to work in these areas.
The NCC has worked on issues of eco-justice for more than 30 years. Recently, the NCC Eco-Justice Program was spun off into a separate organization, Creation Justice Ministries. Carrying on the work of the Eco-Justice Program, Creation Justice Ministries works to protect and restore God’s creation by providing opportunities for communions to work together, equipping congregations and religious leaders, and empowering the faith community to raise the Christian voice in the public arena on eco-justice concerns.
Creation Justice Ministries draws upon Christian ethics regarding lifestyle and just relationships in administering eco-justice program areas and highlights the need to ensure justice for all of creation and the humans who live in it. The organization works to provide educational resources, training opportunities, and a forum for the faith voice on eco-justice issues.
Churches have been powerful voices for generations on a range of defining social justice issues, most importantly the need to address poverty. Central to any Christian message is the call to care for the “least of these”–to love and care for our neighbors. With more people both in the United States and globally living on the economic margins, people of faith are drawing more deeply upon that rich tradition of social justice engagement to speakout on the need to address the range of poverty issues, and create community practices and national policies that lift people from a life of poverty.
The NCC’s work, through the NCC Poverty Initiative, has recently spun off to become the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative and is housed at the Disciples Center for Public Witness. The goal of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative is to empower and mobilize the faith community to lend its powerful moral and public voice to the ongoing and urgent debate around poverty.
Historically, the National Council of Churches has played a leading role in marshaling the faith community in support of racial justice. In particular, the NCC played a key role in the Civil Rights movement, organizing religious support for movement activists. This work continues today on all levels, from churches coming together around racial justice issues in their communities to advocacy on national legislation.
The NCC convenes the Council’s member communions for leadership and discernment on issues of race and justice. In recent years, the Council has worked on ending gun violence, racial profiling, and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
The NCC has also recently included work on environmental justice, addressing racial disparities maternal health, and engaging the faith community to put an end to the disproportionate levels of poverty in communities of color.
Women’s Ministries at the National Council of Churches is a hub for member communion and other organizations’ networks of women.
Networking provides a powerful platform to address both church and society regarding the unique gifts women offer as we share God’s love and justice for all the world.
Working with gender justice staff and volunteers from the NCC Member Communions, the Justice for Women Working Group provides a space for sharing of resources, ideas and projects, such as a how-to brochure on Gender Analysis the group recently developed. Projects like Words Matter create opportunities for women and men to share their stories and think about how to engage in the healing work of the Gospel in their everyday lives. Exciting programs in ecumenical formation for young women, like an experience at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, prepare us for the future by building new leaders with keen insight into ecumenical work.
For more information about specific women’s ministry initiatives and news visit:
- Circle of Names
- Due Season: A Faith-Filled Roadmap Toward Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal Health
- Fistula Stories
- NCC hosts Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee
- Radical Act of Love: Gender Analysis
- Words Matter
- Young Women’s Participation at the UN Commission on the Status of Women
Staff: Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., Associate General Secretary, Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace, 202-481-6928