VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/12/14)—The National Council of Churches first “Christian Unity Gathering” of leaders from member communions and other partners will be held May 18-20, 2014, in the Hilton Washington, Dulles, Herndon, Va.
“We are getting together to celebrate ecumenism and energize our journey toward the visible unity of all the Christian churches,” said Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the NCC.
Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, NCC interim associate general secretary for Joint Action and Advocacy, said the program “will include ample opportunity for all attendees to engage with one another through group discussion, input from expert resource people to help inform our discussion, and celebratory service with words from interfaith guests and an address from Jim Winkler.”
Addressing the Gathering on the NCC priority of working against mass incarceration will be Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, social justice and policy advocate, educator and activist, and the general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program, Howard University; and Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners, and editor of Sojourners magazine.
ABCUSA General Secretary A. Roy Medley, chair of the National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board, said, “The NCC has long been the voice of conscience of the church in America. In taking up this theme, we want to bring our faith perspective and moral voice to bear on this important issue. Our unity in action for peace and justice is a critical aspect of our unity in Christ.”
This is the NCC’s first national gathering since it reorganized last year, reduced the size of the Governing Board, and created four ‘convening tables’ responsible for key mission and programs.
The Christian Unity Gathering will be the first national event to convene the tables. The main focus of their work will be interreligious relations with a focus on peace and mass incarceration.
The Council’s response to mass incarceration will be fleshed out by the May Gathering, and by the Council’s Governing Board.
Likely to be included in the discussions are the realities that the U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, that there is an enormous racial and ethnic imbalance both in the prison population and on death row, that there are many persons imprisoned whose crimes are victimless, non-violent, or related to personal drug possession and use, and that the billions of dollars spent keeping people locked up could be spent more constructively.
Public sessions of the Gathering will commence at 10:15 a.m. Monday, May 19, in the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport, 13869 Park Center Road, Herndon, VA 20171.
Additional information, and links for registering for the entire event or for individual sessions, can be found here.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.