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National Council of Churches member communions
say the death of Bin Laden must be a turning point

New York, May 3, 2011 – The death Sunday of Osama Bin Laden does not “eradicate the scourge of terrorism," but it should stimulate the churches to commit themselves “to moving forward together as witnesses for God’s love and peace.” 

The statement, released Tuesday on behalf of the National Council’s member communions, says: 

The death of Osama Bin Laden is a significant moment in the turbulent history of the past decade. It does not eradicate the scourge of terrorism nor does it bring closure to the grieving and pain the world has endured since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, for which he was the primary architect. The National Council of Churches deplores and condemns the extremism he personified, the twisted illusions that wrought years of violence and evil in the world.  

Now the member communions of the National Council of Churches pray for God's help as we commit ourselves to moving forward together as witnesses for God's love and peace. In November 2001, as the world reeled from the terror attacks, the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service challenged their communions to take the lead:

It is time [we said then] for us as an ecumenical community to make a renewed commitment to a ministry of peace with justice, and to make real in these days the call of Jesus, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) In his Beatitudes, Jesus calls us, his followers, to be merciful if we are to receive mercy; he reminds us that the peacemakers are blessed and will be called children of God. And, he proclaims us "the light of the world"; our good works should be a beacon to others so they may give glory to God. (Matthew 5:14-16)

We lift up "Pillars of Peace for the 21st Century," a 1999 Policy Statement of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. We reaffirm and highlight the Statement’s call to build a culture of peace with justice characterized by these convictions:

1. "the transcending sovereignty and love of God for all creation and the expression of that love in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, whose mission was to reveal understanding about that divine presence, to proclaim a message of salvation and to bring justice and peace;

2. the unity of creation and the equality of all races and peoples;

3. the dignity and worth of each person as a child of God; and

4. the church, the body of believers, whose global mission of witness, peacemaking and reconciliation testifies to God’s action in history."

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Just as Christians must condemn the violence of terrorism, let us be clear that we do not celebrate loss of life under any circumstances. The NCC's 37 member communions believe the ultimate justice for this man's soul -- or any soul -- is in the hands of God. In this historic moment, let us turn to a future that embraces God's call to be peacemakers, pursuers of justice and loving neighbors to all people.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon
General Secretary, National Council of Churches

The Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin
President, National Council of Churches

Bishop John F. White, Sr.
Ecumenical & Urban Affairs Officer
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Bishop Charles Leigh
Apostolic Catholic Church

The Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey
Minister for Partnership Relations
Alliance of Baptists

The Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Rev. Dr. Robert K. Welsh
Ecumenical Officer
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Stephen M. Veazey
Community of Christ

The Rev. Dale E. Luffman
Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer
Community of Christ

Stanley J. Noffsinger
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

The Rev. Dr. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. Dr. Donald J. McCoid
Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Ms. Sylvia Graves
General Secretary
Friends United Meeting

Herman Harmelink III
Ecumenical officer
International Council of Community Churches

Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky
Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations
Orthodox Church in America

The Rev. Robert M. Nemkovich, Jr.
Ecumenical Officer
The Polish National Catholic Church in America

The Rev. Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. Dr. Walter Parrish III
General Secretary
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

The Rev. Geoffrey Black
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson
Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
United Church of Christ

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
President, The Council of Bishops
United Methodist Church

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader
Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops
United Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Sidorak, Jr.
General Secretary
United Methodist General Commission on Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns

(Refresh page to see additional signatures)

Statements from other groups:

The Roman Catholic Church
The New Evangelical Partnership
Islamic Society of North America


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),

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