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February 5, 2016

Ash Wednesday Service
Ash Wednesday Service Wednesday, February 10, 2016 
6:30 PM  
First Sermon: Monet Brown 
Lenten Theme: Surrender, Sacrifice, Service 
Spoken Word Cafe


TOTAL Women's Conference


Blood Drive


My Sister's Keeper Event
Jefferson Street Invites Us 

Monday, March 14, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Speaker: Pastor Cummings 

Choir, Ushers, and Deacons will all be participating.

The Howard Thurman Study Series


Nashville citizens win the right to file expungement petitions offsite.  

More than 128,000 Nashville residents stand to benefit from an agreement reached late Wednesday afternoon in a lawsuit that sought to help citizens who were arrested but never convicted of a crime clear their names.  The lawsuit aimed to ease filing requirements for criminal record expungement, which is a legal process that results in a person’s public criminal records being removed and destroyed.   

Among other things, the expungement process allows people who have been wrongfully arrested to avoid being subjected to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, and educational opportunities.  “Consequences for criminal activity should be reserved for those who are guilty,” Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk has explained.  Once an expungement petition has been processed, expunged records no longer appear on a public background check.  

Currently, Tennessee law provides that anyone who has been arrested for a crime but never found guilty of it is eligible to have his or her arrest records expunged free of charge.  However, a persistent problem for many poor people who are eligible for expungement is that they are physically required to come down to the clerk’s office and file the necessary paperwork in person.  Unfortunately, for those who lack access to transportation, who can’t afford to take a day off of work, or who live out of town, this requirement has effectively become an insurmountable burden.  For example, in just a single court in Nashville in a single decade alone, more than 128,000 people with a combined 350,000 separate case records that were either dismissed or never prosecuted in the first place have not had their statutory right to expungement vindicated.  

In September 2015, attorneys Daniel Horwitz and James Danly filed a lawsuit on behalf of three petitioners seeking to ease requirements for filing expungement petitions.  Among their primary demands was that eligible individuals be permitted to file expungement petitions offsite, rather than having to do so in person.  

On Wednesday, attorneys representing state and local government agencies agreed to allow this reform to be implemented.  “This common sense reform will finally allow thousands of innocent people to access a legal right that has remained frustratingly out of reach for those without means,” said Horwitz.  Once Wednesday’s reform takes effect, eligible individuals will be permitted to file for expungement by mailing a notarized expungement petition to the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk.  

The reform also comes shortly after two bills modeled after the petitioners’ lawsuit that would expand access to the expungement process statewide were introduced in the state legislature.  The first bill, sponsored by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Representative Harold Love (D-Nashville), would require courts to order that all dismissed case records be expunged “without further action by the person charged” within two years of the date of dismissal.  The second bill, sponsored by Senator Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) and Representative Jason Powell (D-Nashville), would further ease filing requirements by permitting eligible individuals to file expungement petitions online.    

“Our efforts to ensure that poor Tennesseans enjoy meaningful access to the expungement process took a very important step forward today,” said Horwitz.   “We’re extremely encouraged by the overwhelming, bipartisan support for reform that this lawsuit has generated, and we’ll continue fighting to ensure that the expungement process becomes accessible to the hundreds of thousands of people who have previously been allowed to fall through its cracks.”  

Additional information about the expungement process can be found at: www.ExpungementNashville.com

This Week's Disciples News
 February 3 , 2016
General Assembly task forces working through the biennium
Most folks recognize that the staff of the general Church continues working beyond each general assembly, but there are also dozens of volunteers who are working behind the scenes. Moderators, board members and task force members are meeting now to bring proposals forward that will affect the life and work of the Church for years to come. Three task forces directly addressing meetings of the General Assembly have begun their work.

Just and Ethical Meeting Locations GA 1537
This task force was called for during the 2015 General Assembly in Columbus. Its  charge is to outline justice-related parameters for locating Church-sponsored meetings of more than 25 individuals. While there has always been a preference for "green" facilities, etc., the issue came in stark relief when, in 2015, the General Board voted to move the 2017 General Assembly in response to a discriminatory bill passed by the Indiana legislature. When the legislature "fixed" the legislation, the General Board decided to re-choose Indianapolis for the 2017 meeting.
The task force has met by conference call and will continue to work. Some of the ideas they discussed include stronger language in the requests for proposals to indicate our preference for "green" facilities and local laws that align with stated priorities of the General Assembly. The group also is discussing ways to use the Justice Table to respond to issues that occur after contracts are signed. (The Justice Table meets six times a year or more often when needed and includes members from ministries particularly concerned with justice issues.)
Committee membership includes: Irie Session, chair, Ron Degges, Norma Ellington-Twitty, Scott Hardin-Nieri, Linda McCrae and Sharon Coleman (staff).
Future of the General Assembly GA 1532
Changing cultural patterns and technology, cost considerations and the need for face-to-face connections - these issues and more have bubbled to the surface during the last several years, particularly related to the General Assembly. How can Disciples effectively maintain relationship and steward our resources well while doing God's work in the world?
A group tasked with taking a macro look at the General Assembly began their work together by looking at data - surveys of churches and attendees, numbers and demographics, comments and costs. They will continue to meet to discuss the broad questions of how and why we meet with an eye to paragraphs 37- 46 of The Design for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Committee membership includes: Glen Miles, chair, Rachel Bell, Julia Brown-Karimu, Gary Kidwell, Stacy Shelton, Bill Spangler-Dunning and Sharon Coleman (staff).
Social Witness (resolutions) GA 1524
How can we impact the culture around us on matters of  faith with statements and action without causing pain and division within our congregations? Since the inception of The Design about 50 years ago (and before) the Church has used "resolutions" from the General Assembly to speak to the issues of the day. Efforts to move issues into study and reflection have had mixed results. Current parameters are included in the Special Rules of Procedure for the General Assembly.
The task force is formed of representatives from general ministries and representatives from congregations. The group, tasked with re-examining the way we talk about current affairs both within and outside our Church, will be meeting over the next biennium with a goal of bringing a proposal to the General Board's February 2017 meeting. Their first meeting was the first weekend in February.
Committee membership includes: from ministries - Paul Tche, Vangie Perez, Ken Brooker-Langston, Ron Degges, Sekinah Hamlin Sullivan, Julia Brown Karimu, Rebecca Littlejohn, Mark Johnston and Shannon Dycus; from congregations - Stephanie Crowder, Robert Cayton, Scott Kinnaird, Katherine Raley, Jeff Goodier, Twanda Wilson, Fiyori Kadane, Charisse Gillett, William Bauzo, Richelle Himaya; from the regions - Pamela Holt, Dean Phelps; Sharon Watkins (staff).

West Des Moines church hosts two caucuses
crowd in gymAll eyes were on Iowa Monday night as the U.S. presidential race got into full swing and at least one Disciple congregation was in the spotlight.

Senior Pastor Randy Ehrhardt says "The Iowa Republican Party contacted us about the possibility of using space on our campus since we have a fellowship hall, sanctuary and gym.Wanting to be a place that welcomes all, we said it would be best if the Democratic Party would also caucus at our campus. Within 48 hours, both parties wanted to use our facility."
The church board was  presented with the requests in November. The board specified the meetings would not be held in the sanctuary.

Ehrhardt continues, "Our church has always had as a part of its ongoing mission to be involved within the community. While this was the first time to be asked to hold a caucus, the church board unanimously voted to make our space available. We always want to be here for the community in which we live, work, play and worship. We also wanted to share the subtle, but we feel important message, that we can have diverse opinions and political leanings, but there are still places where we can come all together. We always want to be a witness to the dignity and humanity of all people." 
News in the Church                                   Other News                          
The weed of racism still grows
Sharon Watkins' Blog - February 1, 2016

Last spring I walked across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma with other Disciples - a racially mixed group crossing together.

A lot has changed since 1965.

Through the brave struggle of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others, the segregated lunch counters and drinking fountains and restrooms went away. Voting rights legislation was put into place.

A lot has been accomplished - but... have you ever had a weed grow in your yard, and you cut it off and everything looked great? For a while. But you didn't get the roots... and - It. Grew. Back.

Racism is more than just individual race prejudice. Statistics show us that racism is system-wide - in our institutions as well as people. We see it in the mass incarceration of people of color; the justice department report on Ferguson's police targeting African Americans in a fund-raising scheme. We see it in the lagging social indicators for people of color in income, net worth, education, jobs, in the strategies that make it harder for people of color to vote or in gerrymandering that leads to under-representation in government.

Racism is real in 2016. Read the full text

Annual African American History Month Resource
Disciples Home Missions' annual African American History Month resource, designed for use in worship or small group study, gives special attention to the lives of African American Disciples who have committed their life and ministry to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as well as listing further suggestions for more exploration of African American History.

2016-17 Changemaker Fellowship Applications available
logoThe Fellowship includes partial- to full- scholarships for the Certificate of Spirituality and Social Change, and also covers expenses for exciting immersion opportunities, leadership training, spiritual formation, and faculty mentoring.  Applications received be Feb. 15 will receive priority consideration. Click here for more information or to apply.
Woman-to-Woman Worldwide ~ 2016
The 2016 journey will be to South Africa and Ghana in October. All applications are due by Feb. 15. Visit the W2WW web page to learn more.
Black Leadership Projects Grant
Accepting applications now
The Black Leadership Projects Committee is happy to announce the 2016 grant process is open. Applications are due no later than May 31. There is no minimum request.

All proposals for projects that develop, nurture, and strengthen lay or clergy church leadership in Disciples African American congregations will be considered. Funds will be awarded to the chosen projects in Summer 2016. Go to our webpage for more information and application guidelines.
Scholarship for ministerial students
Disciples Home Mission is currently accepting scholarship applications for full-time ministerial students preparing to serve the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Applications due March 15.  Multiple awards and funds are available.  Interested applicants need only submit one application and will be considered for all awards for which they qualify.  Details here.

Brite Divinity School Ministers Week 2016: The Power to Bless
February 15-18, 2016
logoJoin us as Barbara Lundblad, Timothy Sandoval, Sara Miles, and Peter Steinke explore the many ways we as pastors and communities have the power to create wholeness in our world. Other speakers and workshop leaders include Sandhya Jha, Mack McCarter, Katie Hays, Mike Hunter, Micah James, and Roger Weddell.  Check out the full schedule and list of offerings at www.brite.edu/mw

Black Ministers Retreat in March
ALL Disciples are welcome to attend the Black Ministers Retreat in Jackson, MS, March 8-10. The theme is Ministry for the Long Haul.

DYMN Retreat (Disciples Youth Ministry Network) set for March
Info provided by Rev. Randy Kuss

What: If you are looking for an intimate event with opportunity for interaction with leaders in youth ministry, this is the place to be. 

Dates: March 29-30-31
Site: Disciples Crossing, Athens, TX
Keynoter: Andrew Zirschky, Academic Director, Center for Youth Ministry Training, Memphis, TN
Registration: $250 through March 1 (includes lodging, meals and event costs)
Hispanic National Pastor search
The National Pastor for Hispanic and Bilingual Ministries is responsible for developing programs and offering pastoral care to Hispanic ministers, lay leaders and Hispanic congregations, as well as advocating for the Obra Hispana in the general and regional expressions of the Disciples of Christ.The office is located in Indianapolis. All applicants are required to provide updated search and call paperwork and to submit a "Letter of Interest" postmarked by March 1.  More information can be found on 
Special offering coming Feb. 21 & 28
Every year in February Week of Compassion gets special attention, but the offering serves year round in disaster relief and long-term development in the United States, Canada and around the globe. Funding efforts as diverse as water distribution in Flint, MI, and the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, or earthquakes and flooding, Week of Compassion is one of the most cost effective ways to donate with a tiny 6 to 8 cents per dollar going to administrative costs. Find out more

If you are interested in advertising in future issues of the Disciples News Service, please contact Fred Jones
Events, Resources and Ministry in Action                                                   
Brite Ministers Week, Fort Worth, Feb. 15-18

Feb. 26-27

Mar. 5-6

DYMN retreat, Athens, TX, March 29-31

Stepping into Stewardship, Orlando, March 30-April 1

Apr. 15-16

Disciple Men, Fort Worth, July 8-10

Hispanic Assembly, Coral Gables, FL, July 14-16

Association of Disciples Musician's Conference, Evansville IN, July 17-22

National Convocation Biennial Session, Overland Park, KS (KC area), July 21-24

National Youth Event with United Church of Christ, Buena Vista, FL, July 26-30

NAPAD Convocation, Oakland, CA, Aug. 3-6

Find more events on the calendar hosted by Chalice Press

Religions for Peace offers online lectures to learn about Muslims 
Interfaith toolkit on human trafficking

NEW Center for Faith and Giving stewardship campaign "Go and Do the Same"

Building an Inclusive Church toolkit

logo How you can prepare
Ministry in Action
NBA residents
NBA XPLOR: Latest Stories and News
We continue to receive applications for the 2016-17 cohort of NBA XPLOR Residents; our extended deadline is Feb. 19. Hear from this year's XPLOR Residents, who reflect on social justice issues, vocational discernment, "being the change," and more. 

You can find ways to plug into mission and more through these ministries.....

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The Disciples News Service, also known as The Disciple®, is distributed weekly or as needed by Communication Ministries. For changes to your subscription options or to subscribe to this newsletter, please visit:


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