Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | April 8, 2013

End Hunger While Protecting God’s Earth: Reauthorize the Farm Bill.

ImageCan’t Make it to Ecumenical Advocacy Days?

Join with thousands of faith voices in our 2013 Legislative ASK:


Our nation’s food and farm policies, as embodied in the farm bill, affect people from rural America to inner cities, from our local communities to less industrialized regions around the world. The farm bill is the single largest piece of federal policy impacting our food system. A good farm bill can strengthen nutrition programs, help our struggling rural communities, support new and socially disadvantaged farmers, enhance global food aid to the world’s most impoverished, and encourage farming and ranching practices that protect God’s creation. Congress failed to pass a farm bill in 2012, and a number of important programs that promote a just and healthy food system are currently without funding. Other programs are continuing, but need the certainty provided by a multi-year farm bill.
Congress should enact a farm bill this year that alleviates hunger and malnutrition, supports vibrant farms and healthy communities, and protects God’s creation. Send an email to Congress, urging them to support a full, multi-yearreauthorization of the farm bill that:
hunger food stampsAlleviates hunger and malnutrition:
Protects and strengthens programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States. We ask that funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) be protected from cuts and harmful structural changes that would increase hunger in our nation.
Sustains robust international food aid and improves the nutritional quality of food aid. In view of the ongoing threat of high food prices, natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world, we ask for robust funding for programs that provide emergency and non-emergency food aid for the hungry. As the world’s largest provider of international food aid, the United States must also lead the way in improving its quality to maximize the nutritional benefit.
Supports vibrant farms and strong communities:
Helps beginning farmers and farmers from socially disadvantaged groups start in the business of agriculture.
We ask Congress to support new farmers by funding programs that are critical in growing the next generation of farmers, an imperative goal in light of the aging of American farmers and in bolstering women and minority farmers.
Builds local and regional food systems and the rural communities at their center.
For communities in the United States, we ask Congress to support programs such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program, which provides new markets for small and mid-sized farmers in suburbs and cities, offering consumers the opportunity to support local producers and giving people in vulnerable communities greater access to fresh food.
For communities around the world, we ask Congress to reform international food aid by purchasing more of the food in the areas where it is consumed. The Local and Regional Procurement Program can help more hungry people for the same cost, support rural development in low-income countries and increase global food security.
Protects God’s Creation:

Strengthens policies and programs that promote conservation of soil and water and protect creation from environmental degradation. We ask Congress to protect funding for conservation programs, particularly those for working lands such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, which have substantial waiting lists and serve a diverse base of farmers and ranchers. Funds for these programs should not be used to pay for other priorities. Farms and ranches account for a majority of the land base in many states, and play a key role in ensuring soil and water quality and in maintaining open space and wildlife habitat.

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | September 7, 2012

Meet the Advocates: Praying and Speaking Out for a Healthier Future

On Thursday, September 13, four pastors and a missionary are spending spend the day together at the NCC Washington DC Office on Capitol Hill in prayer, learning, and action for the health of God’s people and Creation. Learn their stories.

Then, CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION —- Cheer them on and boost their efforts by contacting your members of Congress and letting them know chemical policy reform needs to be a priority this year.

Rev. Dr. Marvin Morgan, Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA.

A Certified Intentional Interim Minister, Marvin Morgan has served UCC congregations for 42 years.  He also served, for extended periods, as a corrections chaplain, theological school administrator/adjunct faculty, community organizer and minister of pastoral care, while simultaneously advocating for racial, social and economic justice for all people.  He has volunteered extensively on UCC committees and boards, including a term as Moderator of the UCC’s 27th General Synod.
Marvin currently serves as Minister of Pastoral Care and Counseling, First Congregational UCC, Atlanta, GA and as Intentional Interim Minister, Brookmeade Congregational, UCC, Nashville, TN.  Nearly two years ago, he was appointed Director and CEO of the Interfaith Commission for Racial Justice in Atlanta, GA.
When asked why he is an advocate for Eco–Justice, he said, “I promised my children and grandchildren that I would seek to shield them from the rampant racism that my generation fought against in the 1960s.  When that commitment was made, my own understanding of racism was far too limited.  Actually, it was not until the late 1980s, while helping to provide grassroots support for the groundbreaking work being done by the UCC’s Commission for Racial Justice, that I was helped to understand the connection between toxic chemicals/toxic waste and racism. My hope is to assure that new efforts to address Eco–Justice also include attention to, Eco-Racism.”
Support Marvin’s efforts and CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.
Rhegan Hyypio, Washington, DC
ImageA native of Saint Petersburg, FL and graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Rhegan presently lives in Washington, DC. She spent a year as a Catholic lay missioner in the Dominican Republic, working with Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans, 2.2 years in Brazil, working on land reform and 8 months in Bolivia, working in education. In her stints abroad she came to know those negatively affected by banned chemicals in the U.S., which had been sold in other countries. In conversations with other lay missioners, it also became apparent that they, too, were meeting many people terribly affected by these same toxic chemicals. Rhegan is here to share her disapproval of and disappointment in the practice of selling toxic chemicals banned in the U.S. to impoverished nations where many suffer its devastating consequences. Rhegan shares why she cares: “In whatever way I can, I want to help protect people from toxic substances. As a returned international lay missioner, I know the devastating affects banned chemicals in the U.S. have on those in other societies where the same chemicals are sold. I wanted to make sure this moral and ethical issue in regards to international communities was voiced during Congressional visits. I hope that decisions made about chemicals will always be in the best interest of ALL people, as well as the overall health of creation.”
Help Rhegan out and TAKE ACTION.

Sharon, her kids, and peacocks!

Rev. Sharon Stolz, Oak Park, IL

Rev. Stolz is UCC minister who became involved in environmental projects as she witnessed how pediatric cancers, learning disabilities, asthma and autism have increasingly become concerns since her own urban childhood. A mother of two young daughters, she is active in environmental issues through multiple community-based initiatives including the Environmental Stewardship committee of her home church, a UCC/PCUSA congregation.

Sharon explains why she’s coming to DC: I believe we must actively address the risks, especially the long-term health risks, involved with toxic emissions. We can’t counterbalance these effects with even the healthiest of individual lifestyles. If our children are to have a healthy future, we must pursue policies that guarantee a high quality environment for all. This is especially important because poor children, the children God calls us to protect, experience a higher exposure to what is hazardous.

Give Sharon a boost and CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.

ImageRev. Malik Saafir, Little Rock, AR

Rev. I. Malik Saafir is Senior Pastor of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.  In 2010, he founded Janus Institute For Justice to provide customized training for nonprofit and for profit organizations for the advancement of social and environmental justice.  

In 2009, he founded the Dr. William H. Robinson Jr. School of Practical Theology to train advocates and activists how to interpret, translate and apply theories of justice through social and environmental justice projects.

He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Village Commons and on the Board of Directors for Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light.  He builds strategic partnerships between both organizations to remove the cultural, political and economic barriers to social and environmental justice in Central Arkansas.

He is the recipient of the 2010 Interfaith Award sponsored by the Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns Committee of the Arkansas United Methodists Annual Conference.  His most recent accomplishment is becoming a GreenFaith Fellow and inception into the GreenFaith Fellowship Program Class of 2012.

Rev. Saffir says he came to DC because “I have a moral imperative as a citizen to advocate for the advancement of policies that protect the environment.  The Cree Indian proverb calls us to realize the adverse impact of environmental toxins on the Earth.  According to the Cree, “only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” (Cree Indian Proverb)  I believe we should actively participate in eliminating poisons from our air, water, food, soil and manufactured goods.”

Lift up Malik’s work at CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.

Rev. Bob Hall, Wilmington, DE 

Reverend Robert P Hall.  A native of Salisbury, Maryland, he earned a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in Catonsville and a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.  He was ordained a Deacon in 1975 and an Elder in 1978.  He served parishes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as Delaware and is presently the Pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Newark.   Since 1997, he has been Executive Director of the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families.  Mr. Hall recently served as President of the Delaware Public Health Association, Vice-President of the Health Education Network of Delaware, and Vice-Chair of the Delaware Consumer Health Care Coalition.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Delaware Association for Children of Alcoholics and Family Promise of Northern New Castle County.  Governor Minner appointed him a Commissioner on the Delaware Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.  In 1991, he was presented with the (federal) Commissioner’s Award by the US Department of Health and Human Services for Outstanding Leadership in the Prevention of Child Abuse.  He has also been honored by the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education, and The International Cat Association.  In 2004, he was a guest preacher at the Washington National Cathedral.  In 2008, Delaware Covering Kids and Families honored him for his efforts to obtain health coverage for the uninsured.  He also serves on the Advocacy Resource Team of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church and presently serves his Bishop as her Ecumenical Officer.  Mr. Hall lives in North Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Conee, a medical social worker and family life educator with the State public health agency.

Why Bob is advocating: I am excited to be a part of the work of the National Council of Churches partly because I am excited about the power and the impact of the Christian community working together to secure both health and justice.  But I also see the churches as the protector of the least, the last and the lost, who are almost always the victims of the toxicity and the wastes of careless human endeavor.  We are becoming increasingly aware of the negative outcomes for human health and wellness related to environmental misconduct.  Who better than the people of God to address this?

Support Bob and the Delaware Ecumenical Council by CLICKING HERE TO TAKE ACTION.


Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | July 12, 2012

Energy Subsidies vs. Food for All – Sept 6th,2012 Ethics of Energy Webinar

For our next Ethics of Energy webinar, we will be focusing on the true cost of energy subsidies for fossil fuels. We’ll explore how much it costs us every year to give financial support to oil and gas companies and provide an analysis of the number of families and children we could help and the benefits to Creation if we were to end these subsidies today. Click here to register for this webinar on September 6th.

This webinar will feature a recent report released by the Eco-Justice Program  “Faithful Budget, Faithful Stewardship: An Analysis of Energy Subsidies and Poverty Assistance Programs.”

The webinar will be on September 6th at 3pm EDT. Sign up for the webinar here.

We hope you can join us . . . feel free to pass this along to those who might be interested. We will send out the login and call-in information for the webinar on September 5th.

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | June 21, 2012

Kids from Communities of Faith Take Action on Climate Change! Will you?

These are cards written to the EPA by young children in a community of faith in North Carolina.

It is part of our campaign to ask the EPA to keep a strong carbon rule, which would limit the amount of C02 emitted from all new power plants. By doing so, the rule would limit the number of fossil fuel power plants, which emit lots of other harmful chemicals into the air as well. For more information, here’s a link to a fact sheet on the rule:

Please join your voice to the call! We’re almost to our goal of 9,000 signatures from people of faith, but we need about 1,500 more by Monday (when the comment period closes)!

Take action here:














Add your witness here:

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | June 11, 2012

20-somethings spending a week of their summer advocating for and connecting with God’s Earth. Thanks Presbyterians for Earth Care, Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center Association, and Rev. Rob Mark for your hard work to make this happen!

The Eco-Stewards Program

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Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | June 11, 2012

A letter to God

A letter to GodGod is calling us to work for climate justice. Take Action:

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | May 9, 2012

Best Mothers Day Card Ever.

ImageDear Mom,

I worked with my friends in Congress and fixed the broken, outdated Toxic Substances Control Act. You know, that law that allowed tens of thousands of untested chemicals into products in our homes, workplaces and houses of worship?

Now you don’t have to spend hours doing online research, straining your eyes reading tiny labels, and feeling pressure to pay more money for toxic-free products.

I did it because you gave me understanding of stewardship of God’s Creation and of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. But most of all I did it because I love you – and I want our family, and families across the United States, to be safe and healthy.

Your Child in Congress

(Make this dream reality and take action here:

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | April 26, 2012

What NCC is Doing to Stop Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining 2011-2012

In the past year, we’ve done a lot of work to help save God’s mountains and protect Appalachian communities from the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. We put together a little report on our work and thought we’d share it around so you know what we’ve been up to.


  • We partnered with a faith-based organization called LEAF (Lindquist environmental action fellowship) in advocating for the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act by:
    • Publishing an op-ed by Tennessee native Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk (head of communion) of the PC(USA): “Mountaintop Removal Violates Christian Faith.”
    • Sharing the LEAF action alert with people on the NCC list from Tennessee
  • All together, thanks especially to help from the PC(USA), the Mennonite church, the Episcopal church, we generated more than 3,000 advocacy actions in the past year of the campaign.
  • Arranged meetings with the Center for Environmental Quality as well as staff from both West Virginia Senators Mansion and Rockefeller, as well as Rep. Rahall. Requested acknowledgement of and response to disturbing new evidence of negative health impacts of mountaintop removal.
  • Delivered to the EPA, the Administration, and Congress:
    • A faith statement to the EPA with ten sign-ons calling for an end to mountaintop removal.
    • A letter to the EPA thanking them for objecting to 19 mountaintop removal coal mining permits in Kentucky. It had sign ons from seven regional bodies and 11 national bodies.
    • A letter to the Administration in protest of a step backwards on mountaintop removal mining with the release of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 21. This letter was accompanied by 1,003 emails to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging them to reconsider their decision to stop the suspension of the requirement for coal companies to go through an individual permitting process for proposed mountaintop removal mines. Accompanying this letter was the “When you drink of clear water, must you muddy the rest with your feet?” Mountaintop Removal Statement signons, which numbered more than 2,000.

Resources and Education:

  • We distributed the documentary film “Dirty Business” to faith advocates in 23 states. (AZ, CA, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MD, ME, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, SC, TN, VA, FL, KY)
  • Developed liturgical resource on mountaintop removal
  • Developed a “Dirty Business” screening study guide, which can be adapted for general study on mountaintop removal issues.


The following presentations have been conducted by staff of the NCC Eco-Justice Program on ethics of energy and mountaintop removal coal mining:

  • 60-person workshop on Mountaintop removal and fracking at Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC.
  • Four small workshops (6-12 people) as part of an Ethics of Energy Story Tour in March 2012: Union Church in Berea, KY, Marshall University in Huntington, WV, Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, WV, and University of Pittsburgh in PA.
  • January workshop at Luther Place ELCA church young adults’ group in Washington, DC.
  • In the past 8 months, we hosted a total of 12 screenings of the film “Dirty Business” about the coal industry and mountaintop removal. One screening was in Kentucky coal country, and the rest were in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, and South Carolina.
  • Hosted a webinar in October with 47 participants and 80 registrants. Registrants were from 31 different states.


  • As a result of the NCC’s work on mountaintop removal, two letters to the editor and three op-eds have been submitted (TN, VA, ME) to local and regional papers
    • An op-ed signed by Rev. Greg Griffey has been published in VA’s Roanoke times
    • An op-ed signed by Rev. Gradye Parsons was published in TN’s The Tennessean.
  • The most viral Facebook post on the NCC Eco-Justice page in 2011 was our advocacy alert: “Only God Should Move Mountains.”
Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | April 12, 2012

Insufficient Evidence that Government Cares about Health. (What?!)


Grandma, Grandpa, Great and Uncles! Toxic chemicals are bullying kids' health. Use your wisdom and moral authority: Protect future generations from life-endangering chemicals.

This month, the Food and Drug Administration concluded that there is “insufficient evidence” to ban a nasty toxic chemical called bisphenol-a (BPA). BPA is found in aluminum cans (including infant formula), and until recently, baby bottles.

We’re asking older adults to speak out with unique moral authority and wisdom, standing up for God’s children.

If you’re not an older adult, you can ask older adults in your life to sign the letter.

Numerous studies have linked BPA to early puberty in girls, ADHD, type II diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and prostate and breast cancer. Advocates pushed government to collect the necessary evidence to take BPA off the market. The burden of proof was so high, hundreds of pages of studies weren’t enough to ban BPA. 

Well, we have “insufficient evidence” that our government cares for the health of God’s children and future generations. Our current national chemical policies allow legions of chemicals to end up on our store shelves without any guarantee of their safety. But we can change that.

Over the past few months, NCC has been collecting signatures from older adults to speak with unique moral authority to Congress. We need grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and older adults to speak even louder — with holy outrage to fix our toxics problems now. Click here to speak out as an older adult calling for a healthier future.

Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | April 2, 2012

Christian Citizenship Seminar 2012 – Global Warming

By Evan Leiter-Mason, Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar 2012 Participant

Hanging out at the United Nations, free time in the Big Apple, learning about a topic of strong conviction within the Brethren faith, trekking to Washington, D.C., for a lobby visit with congressional representatives–sounds exciting, right?

The first Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) that I attended included all that and so much more. Our topic of conversation that week was food, and I learned how overconsumption of meat in the United States has an impact on food available to the rest of the world. That year I returned home a vegetarian (much to the surprise of my parents) because for me, abstaining from meat arose from an acknowledgement that my lifestyle choices can make a change in the world.

The following year I attended CCS again, and this time we focused on carbon. I learned how agriculture contributes to our national carbon footprint, along with personal waste in energy consumption, and the lack of effort to transition to alternative energy solutions. Both this issue and that of food are inextricably linked to each other, national policy, and our personal lifestyles. CCS opened my eyes to our role as stewards of the food supply and the earth.

Christian Citizenship Seminar also provided me with the rare opportunity to interact directly with the cogs of federal government. I believe that lobbying is an experience that every US citizen should have, which is another reason CCS is so important for Brethren youth.

As a person of faith, I believe that I cannot be neutral in politics. My experiences at CCS even inspired me to take further action by interning with the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office last summer. And now in college, I plan to study political science and economics so that I can be empowered to be a part of solutions to challenges facing today’s world.

Christian Citizenship Seminar is an annual week-long event sponsored by Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministries. This year it will take place March 23-28. For more info or to register online visit

To support Youth and Young Adult Ministries and all other core ministries of the Church of the Brethren, visit .

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