Welcome

 

Welcome to the New York State Council of Churches.


We are a council, a collaboration, and a conscience shared by Christian denominations of many types.  We welcome your involvement.

We covenant to care for one another, safeguard the presence of a vital Christian faith community in each place, provide hospitality to all, proclaim the Gospel boldly in each place, and declare God’s just will among the powers and principalities. 

Our mission goals focus on social justice, institutional pastoral care, and ecumenical cooperation in education, worship, and action. 


April 21, 2015

This weekend was big! One thousand Christian advocates from across the country descended upon Washington, D.C., to learn about "Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration & Systems of Exploitation," which was the theme of the conference they attended. And after the conference, they went to Capitol Hill to talk to Congress about these topics. For Bread, breaking the chains of hunger means breaking the chains of mass incarceration and exploitation.
Call (800-826-3688) or email Rep. Paul Tonko and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Charles Schumer. Tell Congress to give people leaving prison a fair shot at a second chance.

Some laws ban individuals with felony convictions from getting assistance. Many can't receive SNAP (formerly food stamps), TANF (welfare), or housing assistance. These programs are vital in keeping people from falling into — or back into — hunger and poverty. We can't take these lifelines away from people who need them so much.

Momentum is building for criminal justice reform. Will you keep it going with an email or phone call to your members of Congress? Urge Rep. Paul Tonko and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Charles Schumer to remove the ban on SNAP and TANF for individuals with felony drug convictions.

People leaving prison or those with felony convictions are at a high risk of hunger and poverty. Employers often don't want to hire someone with a criminal record. Licensing prohibitions mean many can't work in certain fields — and even when they do get jobs, they earn much less than individuals who have never been to prison. Laws banning people with criminal records from getting assistance make the situation even worse.

These conditions stack the deck against people returning from prison or those with criminal records. Our laws should promote successful reentry and economic stability. Instead, these bans do the opposite.

It's time for a change.

Call (800-826-3688) or email Rep. Paul Tonko and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Charles Schumer. Urge Congress to remove the ban on SNAP and TANF for people with felony drug convictions. The time is ripe for criminal justice reform, and this should be a part of it.

Please call or email Congress today.

Sincerely,
Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and Bread for the World board member

New York State Council of Churches's photo.



MORAL MONDAYS INITIATIVE


As a person of faith you have the opportunity to share in advocacy efforts every Monday through the end of March as we encourage our elected officials to pass a moral budget which addresses the needs of all New Yorkers.  Every Monday people of all faith backgrounds gather together in the War Room at the State Capitol Building (Albany) and spend 20 minutes to half an hour in quiet prayer and contemplation.  This is not a protest.  It is a gathering in which we let our elected officials know that we are praying for them, for God's guidance in their work as they make difficult decisions, and for open hearts and minds as they look at things from a moral rather than a political point of view. We also pray for those doing advocacy work that they might find strength, promise, and hope as they work for justice in New York State.

 No reservations are needed.  We meet at 12:00 noon on Mondays at the State Capitol.  If you would like more information about Moral Monday events, please contact the Rev. Dr. Paula J. Gravelle, Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches (pgravelle@nyscoc.org or at 518-436-9319)

 If you've never been involved in advocacy work before this is a great way to get a feel for putting your faith in action in the political arena. Please join us.


New Video Series for Congregational Study and Discernment on Gun Violence in the US

The New York State Council of Churches is pleased to offer a new series of 4 videos to facilitate congregational discussion and discernment on the issue of gun violence. In each of the 4 videos, Our Director of Social Witness, the Rev. Brooke Newell, leads reflections on various aspects of gun violence through the lenses of Scripture, Christian Tradition, statistics surrounding gun ownership and gun violence, and an Albany area "person in the pew" who tells her story.

The 4-video series and other resources are free for congregational and personal use.