National Council of Churches Podcast

This is the weekly podcast of the National Council of Churches. Enjoy the best features and interviews from insightful guests from across the ecumenical and interfaith movement.
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Apr 19, 2016

Dr. Agnes Abuom, from the Anglican Church of Kenya, was elected unanimously by the WCC 10th Assembly on 8 November 2013 to serve as moderator of the WCC Central Committee. She is the first woman and the first African in the position in the history of the World Council of Churches.

Apr 15, 2016

Last fall Rev. John Dorhauer became the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, one of the National Council of Churches’ 38 member communions.

A leader many call a “visionary,” Dorhauer begins his term of office challenging his denomination to be serious about dealing with white privilege, church vitality, and the church’s traditional focus on justice, in a world where people are becoming less interested in the church in its institutional form.  We will talk about his denomination, the challenges he’s encountered in his first months in office, his recent trip to the Middle East, and his hopes for the 2016 baseball season.

Apr 8, 2016

At a time in American history when technology has provided more possibilities for connection, unfortunately, society seems to be more fragmented and fearful than ever.  

In the coming years, will religion be something that brings us together or drives us apart?  What misconceptions do each of us hold about another person’s faith that make us afraid?  A new campaign called, “Know Your Neighbor,” seeks to help us realize that our differences make us more interesting, not less. Getting to know our neighbors, whether they are people of a different faith, or of no faith, is a critical but joyful challenge for all Americans.

Apr 1, 2016

What is an appropriate relationship between a Christian and guns?  As gun ownership is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment and is increasing in popularity, Christians are free to seek the answer to this question for themselves, and emotions are strong in both directions.

In this episode of the National Council of Churches Podcast, we will talk to Rob Schenck, once a leader in an aggressive wing of the anti-abortion movement, who has come to see ending gun violence as a pro-life issue.  We will discuss this controversial topic, along with his involvement in a new film by Abigail Disney entitled, “Armor of Light,” in light of the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Church in Corinth that, ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”

Mar 24, 2016

Many churches today are involved in ministry to people who are serving time in prison.  But a growing number of churches are becoming involved in ministry to prisoners AFTER they are released.

In this episode of the National Council of Churches Podcast, we will talk to Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, who teaches at Howard University, and leads a network focused on cutting recidivism by helping the incarcerated effectively reenter society.  We will talk about the problems of adjusting to life outside prison walls and how churches can be involved in this life-saving ministry.

Mar 17, 2016

Has mass incarceration become part of what is seen today as a good business model?  What effect has privatization had on the rehabilitation of prisoners?

Today we will discuss the profit motive as one of the forces behind the mass incarceration crisis, and, specifically, how companies that provide mental health services in the prison system are incentivized to make the problem works, not better.

Mar 10, 2016

Issues surrounding war and peace are as controversial today as they have been in the past.  Among the member communions of the National Council of Churches, approaches to war and peace are as varied as are the communions themselves.  

In this episode we’ll talk with Nathan Hosler with the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness about his denomination, its understanding of Pacifism as a way of following Jesus, and how this is lived out among hundreds of thousands of Church of the Brethren members living in northern Nigeria, where the militant group Boko Haram has caused untold suffering.

Mar 3, 2016

When the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was published in 1989, it was accepted as the scholarly standard, a brilliant word-for-word translation of the very earliest manuscripts available.  Breaking new ground by using the gender-neutral terms used in the original languages, in some places the New Revised Standard Version, or NRSV, inspired controversy and greater reflection.  

In today’s episode, we’ll talk to Rev. Dr. Joseph Crockett, Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, and Rev. Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary Emeritus of the American Baptist Church, about this English Bible translation that has become the de facto standard in the years it has been in print.

Feb 25, 2016

The Mass Incarceration crisis is in the news.  One of the first bi-partisan initiatives to come to Capitol Hill is a sweeping sentencing reform bill that attempts to deal with this crisis.  But there’s another crisis taking place in our prisons, the practice of solitary confinement, which many regard as torture.

In this week’s episode, we’ll talk to Rev. Laura Markle Downton of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.  She will explain exactly what solitary confinement is, and why the UN’s special rapporteur on torture believes the United States’ practice qualifies as torture.

Feb 18, 2016

In January, while the east coast was being slammed with a major winter storm, scholars and leaders from around the world gathered in Morocco to put the finishing touches on “The Marrakech Declaration,” a groundbreaking statement on the imperative for Muslim-majority societies to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities.

In this episode we will hear from three leaders about this document and its importance to interfaith relations across the globe. We will talk to National Council of Churches President and General Secretary Jim Winkler, who took part in the January conference; Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, our resident scholar and expert on interfaith relations, and Catherine Orsborn, Director of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder initiative, a program that works to end anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.  We’ll take a look at the Marrakech Declaration and discuss its importance to the current religious and political climate both domestically and internationally.

Feb 12, 2016

Recently the United States Postal service unveiled a new stamp featuring an important African American leader.  This was the culmination of years of effort to have Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal, or AME Church, recognized in this manner.

In this episode we will hear the story of how this effort came to fruition, what it means for the AME church, and its importance to the ecumenical movement.  We will be joined by Jackie Dupont-Walker with the Social Action Commission of the AME Church, and Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.

Feb 5, 2016

When you turn on your tap water, do you take for granted the clean, fresh water that comes from the faucet?  Have you ever imagined it being so dirty, so toxic, that you couldn’t drink it at all?  Can you imagine not being able to bathe or shower in clean water?

For many persons living in the United States today, what comes out of the tap is a nightmare.  For them, the government has failed in delivering one of its most basic services.  Most recently the town of Flint, Michigan, has experienced a crisis of stunning proportions, as extremely high lead levels make tap water undrinkable.  This has exposed a serious crisis in American life, as many communities are served with tap water that is unsafe.

Jan 20, 2016

Is the God of Christianity and the God of Islam the same God, or do believers in these religions ultimately believe in different gods?  This question is at the heart of many of today’s discussions that begin in religion and boil over into politics.  On this inaugural episode of the podcast of the National Council of Churches, we will discuss this question with Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, and will look into the ways this ancient question may be one of the most important questions of our day.

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