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National Council of Churches Christian Unity Gathering

October 11, 2021 @ 8:00 am - October 12, 2021 @ 5:00 pm

Christian Unity Gathering flyer
NCC’s annual Christian Unity Gathering (CUG) will be held virtually on October 11 – 12, 2021 with the theme, “In New Wineskins: From Pandemics to Possibilities to Promises,” based on the scripture in Luke 5:37-39. The event is free to attend.

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”


This year’s CUG will explore how church life has changed and what our hope is for the church as the global community struggles to emerge from its pandemics and economic crises while at the same time continuing to grapple with the racial reckoning that is happening in our nation and the world. Can we discard the old wineskins? What will it take to go beyond conversations on racism to fully incorporating equity and racial justice in our churches? Where are new models of racial reckoning/reconciliation?
Together, we will examine how to move forward as we negotiate those who are lamenting the old and those embracing the new as well as the spaces where both are happening at the same time. Will you join us to go beyond how we “always do it” and get to a place of possibilities? We invite you to join us virtually to explore what churches must do to honor old wineskins while embracing new ones and God’s promises for a new path forward.


All times in Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

Monday, October 11
10:00 am – Noon Issue Meetups
10 am Student Loan Forgiveness for Clergy — Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Minister for Economic Justice, United Church of Christ, National Ministries
10:30 am Voting Rights — Sister Quincy Howard, NETWORK Lobby and Faithful Democracy
11 am Reparation — Rev. Mark Thompson, Host of the SiriusXM show “Make it Plain”
11:30 am Child Tax Credit — Amelia Kegan, Legislative Director for Domestic Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Opening Session
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Rigby (Speaker) W. C. Brown Professor of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman (Speaker) Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

3:00 pm – 4:15 pm – Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm with Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Affiliate Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington
Dr. DiAngelo’s presentation will not be recorded. This is a live event.

4:15 pm – 5:15 pm – Small Group Discussions

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Faith Summit – Racial Reckoning in America: A Christian Response

A panel with questions from the audience. Have denominational and other faith leaders discuss what they have been doing to negotiate the racial reckoning in the country. Where are new models of racial reckoning/reconciliation?
Dr. Richard Hughes, Scholar in Residence, Lipscomb University
Dr. Jonathan Tran, Associate Professor of Theology and George W. Baines Chair of Religion, Baylor University
Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderator, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman, Conference of National Black Churches
Minister Candace Simpson, Associate Minister, Concord Baptist Church of Christ
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Presiding Bishop, 5th Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Tuesday, October 12
11:00 am – 11:30 am – Morning Devotion/Opening Prayer
Rev. Dr. Souci Grimsley, Founder and President, Tuburan Integrative Wellness Ministries

11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Keynote Address by Dr. Christine Hong and Q&A
Dr. Christine Hong, Associate Professor of Educational Ministry, Columbia Theological Seminary

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Panel on Christian Nationalism

Amanda Tyler, Esq., Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith, Founder and Director, Crazy Faith Ministries
Rev. Dr. Obery Hendricks, Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University and author of “Christians Against Christianity”
Dr. Philip Gorski, Chair, Sociology, Yale University
Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, Program Director for Racial Justice, Minnesota Council of Churches
Dr. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University
Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor, Iliff School of Theology and author of “Decolonizing Christianity”

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm – International Briefing on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith (Moderator) Senior Associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church Engagement, Bread for the World
Dr. Frances S. Collins, M.D., Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Dr. Pauline Muchina, Chair, Advocacy Network for Africa, COVID-19 Working Group and Public, Education, Advocacy Coordinator for American Friends Service Committee
Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico, President and Executive Secretary, Cuban Council of Churches
Rev. James Bhagwan, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Closing Worship




For 2021, we will be using an online event service called Whova. After you register, you can sign in on the website using your laptop or computer, or you can download the app for your phone or tablet.



National Council of Churches
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