From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 10 May 1996 18:44:18

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Contact: Carol J. Fouke, NCC, 212-870-2252

48NCC5/10/96                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 NEW YORK ---- A National Council of the Churches of
Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC) delegation will visit the sites of firebombed
Black churches in the Southern states of Tennessee, Louisiana and
Missisippi from May 13 through May 16 as part of an on-going campaign to
investigate some 50 Black church burnings since 1990.

 The NCC delegation will be led by Rev. Dr. Mac Charles Jones, NCC
associate for racial justice.  "These site visits are part of the NCC's
aggressive efforts to get to the bottom of these acts of domestic
terrorism, raise the public's awareness of these crimes and at the same
time demonstrate our solidarity with the pastors and their congregations
who have been victimized by these un-Godly acts, " said Rev. Jones.

 Working closely on this campaign with the Atlanta-based Center for
Democratic Renewal (CDR) and the New York-based Center for Constitutional
Rights (CCR), the NCC and its collaborators are seeking to pressure the
federal government to bring the bombers to justice.  This coalition also
plans to convene pastors from many of the firebombed churches in
Washington, D.C., June 9-10 for meetings with high-level officials in the
Clinton administration.

 On May 16, the NCC delegation will visit the site of the St.Paul's
Primitive Baptist Church in Lauderdale, Miss., which was burned to the
ground on April 7, 1996.  The church had no insurance policy.

 At a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. on the 16th at the First Union
Baptist Church, 610 38th Ave., Meridian, Miss., Rev. Jones will be joined
by Mr. Obie Clark, president of the local NAACP chapter, and by Rev.
Charles Jackson of the Inter- Denominational Ministers Alliance.  Also in
attendance will be Rev.William C. Brown, president of the East Missisippi
Baptist Convention.

 "We will not only condemn the church bombings on that day," says Mr.
Clark, "but we will begin to take concrete actions to rebuild those that
have been firebombed in this state. Indeed, we will launch an area-wide
financial appeal to raise funds in all ethnic and racial communities."

 He added that  the state fire marshal's report on the church burning will
be released at the press conference.

 The NCC has established the Burned Churches Fund (Attn: Joan Campbell, NCC
General Secretary, Room 880, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115) to
help rebuild the firebombed churches and support the larger campaign to end
all acts of racist violence.


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