Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska
A community of communions called by Christ to visible unity, sent forth in the Spirit of Peace to promote the healing of the world in service and advocacy.
Jim Winkler’s (NCC)remarks at the September 6 “Call to Conscience” rally convened by the AME Church in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC
I give thanks and praise to the AME Church for your leadership in the movement to unify the body of Christ. I give thanks and praise for your long history of social justice leadership. And I am grateful you have gathered us together once again.Our ‘Call to Conscience’ includes a call to end gun violence in our nation. 

We’ve come together many times in the last year and a half as madness has come to power in our nation. We have a long history of public protest, don’t we? The people of God once again today come to the court of Pharaoh demanding peace and freedom. 

And we cannot have peace or freedom as long as gun violence pervades and saturates our society. You see, there are those who profit from murder and hatred and violence. They make cash money from killings and misery and death. When the people are divided and fearful, their bank accounts fill up.

Well, we’re here to say enough. We are here united in the call for an end to gun violence. I have been part of many protests over the years right here in Lafayette Park. I was arrested on this spot 15 years ago when I took a stand against the useless and murderous invasion of Iraq.

But, we have to work long and hard to address some issues. For example, we’ve been speaking out against gun violence for a long time. 

More than 50 years ago, the National Council of Churches made an official statement on “Firearms Control.” Back then, the AME Church and all the other churches that make up the NCC said, 

“Every year an appalling number of citizens of the United States are victims of gun murders, suicides, and accidents. In comparison with other Western, it appears that too many of these casualties reflect overly permissive firearms policies. The nation has seen an alarming tendency for extremists of all kinds to depend upon the ownership and use of firearms to determine the success of their respective causes.

“The National Council of Churches reaffirms its belief in the God-given "right to life" as fundamental and sacred. In an increasingly complex and urbanized society, it is not possible to protect life and maintain public order when individuals have unregulated access to firearms.
“Therefore, the General Board of the National Council of Churches records its support for strong and adequate legislation regulating the sale, transportation, ownership of firearms.”
We’ve been fighting racism for a long time, too. You see, gun violence and racism are intertwined. Since the founding of this nation on land stolen from its native peoples and built on the backs of black slaves, it has been necessary to enforce this cruelty with the use of violence and guns.

To defeat racism, we not only have to get everyone to the polls. To defeat racism, we not only have to end mass incarceration. To defeat racism, we not only have to end racial profiling. To defeat racism, we need to rid this country of the plague of gun violence.

There have been nearly 250 mass shootings in our nation this year. They continue even though hundreds of thousands of young people marched in the streets of Washington, DC earlier this year. Mass shootings continue to take place because of a deep sense of paranoia and fear nurtured by a litany of lies perpetrated by the merchants of death and racism.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. And it won’t be like this forever. We demand change. We demand peace. We demand an end to gun violence. 

We are in a moment of national crisis, but we have hope because we stand in a long and strong and proud tradition of speaking prophetic truth to power. We are now and always have been fearless about naming the problems that confront our society.

Frederick Douglass said, "Power never concedes anything without a demand; it never has and it never will." All right, then. We’re here today with a demand. We demand that the plague of gun violence be addressed and brought under control.
There are 393 million guns in the United States. This is a crazy situation. There are more deaths as a result of gun violence right here than in any other nation in the world. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Change will require steadfastness. An end to gun violence will require focus and resolve. Peace will require unity. Jesus Christ is our Prince of Peace. And because we follow Jesus, we are together in the cause to end racism and gun violence.
We look forward to that bright shining day when all of God’s children will live in this land in peace and harmony. Right now, it seems like it’s a long way off, but it is for that vision and for our children and grandchildren that we will march on till victory is won.
Grace and peace,
Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary
basicImage
Jim Winkler’s (NCC)remarks at the September 6 “Call to Conscience” rally convened by the AME Church in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC
I give thanks and praise to the AME Church for your leadership in the movement to unify the body of Christ. I give thanks and praise for your long history of social justice leadership. And I am grateful you have gathered us together once again.Our ‘Call to Conscience’ includes a call to end gun violence in our nation. 

We’ve come together many times in the last year and a half as madness has come to power in our nation. We have a long history of public protest, don’t we? The people of God once again today come to the court of Pharaoh demanding peace and freedom. 

And we cannot have peace or freedom as long as gun violence pervades and saturates our society. You see, there are those who profit from murder and hatred and violence. They make cash money from killings and misery and death. When the people are divided and fearful, their bank accounts fill up.

Well, we’re here to say enough. We are here united in the call for an end to gun violence. I have been part of many protests over the years right here in Lafayette Park. I was arrested on this spot 15 years ago when I took a stand against the useless and murderous invasion of Iraq.

But, we have to work long and hard to address some issues. For example, we’ve been speaking out against gun violence for a long time. 

More than 50 years ago, the National Council of Churches made an official statement on “Firearms Control.” Back then, the AME Church and all the other churches that make up the NCC said, 

“Every year an appalling number of citizens of the United States are victims of gun murders, suicides, and accidents. In comparison with other Western, it appears that too many of these casualties reflect overly permissive firearms policies. The nation has seen an alarming tendency for extremists of all kinds to depend upon the ownership and use of firearms to determine the success of their respective causes.

“The National Council of Churches reaffirms its belief in the God-given "right to life" as fundamental and sacred. In an increasingly complex and urbanized society, it is not possible to protect life and maintain public order when individuals have unregulated access to firearms.
“Therefore, the General Board of the National Council of Churches records its support for strong and adequate legislation regulating the sale, transportation, ownership of firearms.”
We’ve been fighting racism for a long time, too. You see, gun violence and racism are intertwined. Since the founding of this nation on land stolen from its native peoples and built on the backs of black slaves, it has been necessary to enforce this cruelty with the use of violence and guns.

To defeat racism, we not only have to get everyone to the polls. To defeat racism, we not only have to end mass incarceration. To defeat racism, we not only have to end racial profiling. To defeat racism, we need to rid this country of the plague of gun violence.

There have been nearly 250 mass shootings in our nation this year. They continue even though hundreds of thousands of young people marched in the streets of Washington, DC earlier this year. Mass shootings continue to take place because of a deep sense of paranoia and fear nurtured by a litany of lies perpetrated by the merchants of death and racism.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. And it won’t be like this forever. We demand change. We demand peace. We demand an end to gun violence. 

We are in a moment of national crisis, but we have hope because we stand in a long and strong and proud tradition of speaking prophetic truth to power. We are now and always have been fearless about naming the problems that confront our society.

Frederick Douglass said, "Power never concedes anything without a demand; it never has and it never will." All right, then. We’re here today with a demand. We demand that the plague of gun violence be addressed and brought under control.
There are 393 million guns in the United States. This is a crazy situation. There are more deaths as a result of gun violence right here than in any other nation in the world. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Change will require steadfastness. An end to gun violence will require focus and resolve. Peace will require unity. Jesus Christ is our Prince of Peace. And because we follow Jesus, we are together in the cause to end racism and gun violence.
We look forward to that bright shining day when all of God’s children will live in this land in peace and harmony. Right now, it seems like it’s a long way off, but it is for that vision and for our children and grandchildren that we will march on till victory is won.
Grace and peace,
Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary
Nebraskans for Peace's Annual Peace Conference
 
Join us Nebraskans for Peace at their annual peace conference for workshops and presentations in addition to topics such as the effect climate change is having on immigration to Nebraska, we will also present workshops on the Medicaid Expansion Ballot Initiative, Climate Change and Genocide, ICE in Rural Nebraska, Integration of Refugees Into Life In Nebraska, Regeneration of Nebraska Communities, Human Trafficking in Nebraska, Envisioning a World That Embraces the Feminine, and the Possible Nuclear Catastrophe with the Trump Administration, North Korea & Iran.
 
The 2018 Annual Peace Conference is Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Carpool information is at the end of this email.
 
This year's Nebraskans for Peace's 2018 Annual Peace Conference is being co-sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Kearney Department of Political Science, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Grace Abbott School of Social Work.
 
Dr. Christian Parenti, Associate Professor of Economics at John Jay College in New York City and author of the acclaimed 2011 book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, will address this looming international emergency in a keynote speech entitled "The Current and Future Crisis of Global Climate Refugees."
 
Following the keynote presentation, a panel discussion moderated by UNK Political Science Chair Will Avilés and featuring Parenti; Christa Yoakum, Nebraska Is Home Coordinator for Nebraska Appleseed's Immigrants & Communities Program; and Gladys Godinez, Executive Director of the Trinidad Center in Lexington will focus on the current highly charged immigration situation in Nebraska.
 
Parenti's Tropic of Chaos was the ground-breaking work linking the implications of climate change with the social and political unrest in mid-latitude regions of the world. In countries like Syria we are now seeing the climate-change refugees spilling over national borders, overwhelming neighboring countries and provoking political crises as far away as the European Union. It caused the U.S. to join in the civil war in that country.
 
The political tumult Americans are currently witnessing over immigration will be nothing compared to the influx of climate refugees the U.S. will face in the next two decades. Climate change will spark the largest diaspora in human history. As sea levels relentlessly rise, extreme weather, disease and pests foster food shortages, and people are forced to abandon their homes, there will be social and economic mayhem. People will head wherever they think there's potable water and food. Seated atop the Ogallala Aquifer and renowned as America's 'bread basket', Nebraska is poised to be a destination location for climate refugees-not only from Latin America, but from our own coasts, where half of our US population now resides. Nebraskans need to start preparing now for the dramatic demographic shift that is set to be an inevitable part of our state's future.
 
To register for the day's events, for only $20, including the catered lunch and the afternoon Peace & Justice Workshops email nfpstate@nebraskansforpeace.org or call the NFP State Office at 402-475-4620. The brochure you can print and mail your registration is here:
http://nebraskansforpeace.org/uploaded/pdfs/APC/APC2018Brochure.pdf
 
To carpool from Omaha contact Mark Welsch, NFP's Omaha Coordinator at 402-453-0776 or NFPOmaha1970@gmail.com
 
To carpool from Lincoln contact Brittany Cooper in our Lincoln office at nfpstate@nebraskansforpeace.org or 402-475-4620.
Nebraska Violent Death Statistics Report (NeVDSR)

One of the organizations IMN works closely with is the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition. Through this partnership we have access to statistics regarding violent deaths in Nebraska, in particular death by completed suicide. The suicide rate is climbing among farm and ranch families which is of particular concern for another one of our partners, The Rural Response Council and the Rural Response Hotline.

Recent data indicates that in 2017 there were 178 completed suicides in Nebraska. As you can see from the graphic below Nebraska has far exceeded that number so far in 2018.

The faith community must be aware of this tragic trend and be prepared to respond to families who have been touched by a suicide death. Moreover, pastors need to be personally prepared to care for themselves and their own family members when they minister to these families. Providing pastoral care is always stressful and demanding, but even more so in the face of death by suicide.
NEBRASKA INTERFAITH POWER AND LIGHT ACTIVITIES


Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light is an interfaith, nonpartisan organization that provides faith messages about climate change and care for God’s creation.

We engage in education, outreach and policy advocacy.

Members of the Nebraska IPL board and staff are glad to speak to congregations about our work. So far this year Board President Rev. Penny Greer and Policy and Outreach Director Ken Winston have spoken to churches and church groups in Lincoln, Omaha, Syracuse and Columbus. Board members Anica Brown and Jon Leo have joined some of these presentations. Board member Rev. Kim Morrow made a presentation about reasons for hope in response to climate change at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln.

Nebraska IPL is also involved in policy advocacy. Ken Winston spoke to the Nebraska Public Power District board at their meeting in Kearney in July, encouraging them to make greater investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in support of the Husker Power Plan. Rev. Penny Greer, Ken Winston and Board member Edison McDonald spoke to the Lincoln Electric System board meeting in July, encouraging them to set goals for greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy.

Nebraska IPL is providing leadership in planning two events for the fall related to climate change, care of creation and advocacy. Ken Winston is the coordinator for the third annual Nebraska Youth Climate Summit, to be held on October 1 st at the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The summit will bring together young people between the ages of 15 and 25 to learn about climate science, adaptation and mitigation efforts and advocacy tools. Board Member Carol Windrum is one of the people responsible for planning Elders for the Earth, to be held October 7-9 at Mahoney State Park. This event is focused on folks over the age of 50 and provides opportunities to learn about caring for the earth, network, relax and rejuvenate. These two events show Nebraska IPL’s commitment to connecting with people across the age spectrum in our efforts to help people understand the importance of caring for the earth.
Are Faith Communities allowed to advocate? 
The answer is YES!

Often, faith leaders and church members confuse advocacy with lobbying—then quickly shy away from any activities that might jeopardize their nonprofit status.

But the truth is there are lots of ways faith communities can advocate to improve policies, programs, and services in their communities and across the nation—without running afoul of any federal laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Advocacy vs. lobbying: What’s the difference?

Advocacy is the process of faith leaders and church members making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state, and national level. It also means helping policymakers find specific solutions to persistent problems. Most nonprofits can and do engage in as much advocacy as possible to achieve their goals.

Lobbying , on the other hand, involves activities that are in direct support of or opposition to a specific piece of introduced legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules about what portion of their budget can go toward these activities. There are also prohibitions on any use of federal funds for lobbying.

Examples of advocacy vs. lobbying

Advocacy

  • Telling your member of Congress how a federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents.
  • Educating a member of Congress about the effects of a policy on your constituency.
  • Inviting a member of Congress to visit your organization so that he/she may see firsthand how federal funding or a policy affects day-to-day operations and the difference it makes.

Lobbying
  • Asking your member of Congress to vote for or against, or amend, introduced legislation.
  • Emailing a “call to action” to your members urging them to contact their member of Congress in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations.
  • Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities.

How can you be an advocate?
You can be an advocate by educating policymakers about the needs of your organization and the people you serve, and developing a relationship where you act as trusted voice on policy issues and a helpful resource with Congressional casework. You also can organize supporters on issues of importance and educate a wider audience on your accomplishments. Some examples include:
  • Emailing or calling your elected officials.

  • Organizing meetings or site visits with your legislators and their staff.

  • Making your views known to policymakers and your community through traditional and social media.

Keep in mind that these activities cross the line into lobbying if they call for action on introduced legislation or a pending regulation.

Mental Health Resources for Congregations and Faith Communities
The Interfaith Network for Mental Health is an important resources churches should be aware of: Interfaith Network for Mental Health

Our mission is to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness among clergy, staff, lay leaders and members of faith communities and help them more effectively develop and nurture supportive environments for persons dealing with mental illnesses and their families and friends.

INMI envisions a future in which people freely seek the mental health services they need without fear of embarrassment or stigma. Faith communities are leading a cultural shift that permeates our society with compassion for people with mental illnesses and their families.

There are resources for clergy (Clergy Resources) , congregations, videos and other resources faith communities can access for a rich mental health awareness and ministry in your congregation.
Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP)

Medicare fraud is on the increase across the nation, even in Nebraska. But there is something the faith community can do to arm our seniors against loss from Medicare fraud. The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) provides freed information to seniors and those who are entering retirement. SHIP is NOT an insurance provider, and they have NO connection to the insurance industry. So, their information is unbiased and reliable.

One of the more popular activities of SHIP in congregations is Medicare Bingo. It is a fun way for a congregation to learn about Medicare options and potential fraudulent contacts. Local congregations have been using this program and our communions have been invited to join with SHIP in presenting this informational activity.

We have attached a link the SHIP Face Book Page below:





For more information about SHIP contact:

Jonathan Burlison
TRAINING SPECIALIST
 
Nebraska Department of Insurance
Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
1135 M Street, Suite 300
PO Box 82089
Lincoln, NE 68501-2089
 
DIRECT : 402-471-2599 / HOTLINE: 1-800-234-7119

The 2018 Inspire Awards are approaching!

Save the date: Pinnacle Bank Arena September 12, 2018 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm
What is it?
The Inspire Awards celebrate women who have truly excelled, not only in their professional lives, but as leaders and role models. While many of these women come from different industries and walks of life, they share several traits — a strong sense of self, a success-driven work ethic and the extraordinary accomplishments to show for it. Their commitment, vision and talents make them true leaders in their chosen fields.

This year's speaker
Preeta Bansal
Preeta Bansal is a Lincoln native who spent the last 35 years at the highest levels of government and business – as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the White House, Solicitor General of the State of New York, a US diplomat and Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, global general counsel of the world’s largest bank, partner at a major NYC law firm, and law clerk to the US Supreme Court. A graduate of Lincoln East High as well as Harvard College and Harvard Law, she is now a lecturer at MIT – focusing on the intersection of modern technology and ancient wisdom – and recently returned home to Lincoln.
Member Communions:
Christian Church (DOC); Church of the Brethren, Western Plains District; Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Nebraska Synod; Evangelical Covenant Church, Midwest Conference; Nebraska Exarchate Ukarianian Orthodox; Mennonite Conference, Central Plains; Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbytery of Central Nebraska, Homestead Presbytery, Presbytery of the Missouri River Valley; United Church of Christ, Nebraska Conference; United Methodist Church, Great Plains Conference.
[Jerry D. Albright, Executive Director]
[Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska]
[215 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68508]