The News and Information Resource of


JUNE 2024


As Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches, I write to express our profound sadness over the mass shooting that claimed the life of one person while injuring 24 others during a birthday celebration in Akron, Ohio, on the evening of June 1, 2024. With hearts full of sorrow, we offer our prayers for the family of Mr. Lateris Cook, who was killed, and for all who were injured in this reckless and grotesque act of violence.


In addition, we are outraged over the absolute lack of respect for human life displayed by the shooter, and the absence of regard for human dignity that is obvious through the relative ease in which people with violent and murderous intent are able to acquire guns.


As Christians, we believe all people are made in the image of God, and Jesus Christ came to give abundant and flourishing life to people of every ZIP code and town, every city and state, and every nation and continent. Gun violence violates human dignity and contradicts God’s intent for humanity as made known through Jesus Christ.


Let us continue to raise our voices in support of legislation, such as universal criminal background checks, that have the potential to prevent gun violence.

Let us implore our legislators and government officials to craft or strengthen with deliberate speed policies that provide care and support for survivors of gun violence.


Let us work to help create communities known for human flourishing through nonviolence and peacemaking.

May the peace of God be with the people of Akron and with us all.


With Hope, 


Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr.

Executive Director, Ohio Council of Churches

Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr. preached at the commencement ceremony of Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He preached at the Baccalaureate service at Heidleberg University of Tiffin, Ohio, where he received an honorary doctorate.

Dr. Sullivan will be preaching at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Akron on July 21, 2024 at 10:30 a.m.




Celebrating Juneteenth

June 19, also called Juneteenth, has been a federal holiday since 2021 when President Joseph Biden signed it into law. Juneteenth, according to historical records, is the day Union armies announced to slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were freed. African American communities, particularly in Southern states, observed June 19 in recognition of the end of slavery rather than the Jan. 1 Emancipation Day.

One of the persons who was instrumental in making the day a federal holiday is Opal Lee, a Fort Worth, Texas, resident. She spearheaded the petition to make the day a holiday, garnering over 1 million signatures. Her efforts got her nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 and this year President Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Ms. Lee promoted the idea of making Juneteenth a federal holiday by leading 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walks each year, representing the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. She did this for several decades. Because of her labors, the nation now gets to observe the day. Several cities in Ohio have big community observances. Check in your community for a Juneteenth celebration and join in the festivities.

Maternal Health Roundtable

Rev. Dr. Amariah McIntosh participated May 16 in a Maternal Health Roundtable sponsored by Faith in Public Life. The conversation centered on reproductive justice as a matter of faith.

Associate Director to Speak at Church Women United Quadrennial Assembly

Rev. McIntosh will be the speaker for the Opening Worship at the Church Women United Quadrennial Assembly. The event will be held June 19 in Oak Brook, Illinois.


The Ohio Council of Churches staff is available to visit Ohio judicatory district and annual meetings. If you would like to have our presence at your conference, please contact our office at (614) 372-8010 and leave a message or email us.


National Gun Violence Awareness Day is Friday, June 7, 2024. It is the start of Wear Orange Weekend [June 7-9]. In 2023, more than 450 events took place across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. throughout Wear Orange weekend. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden illuminated the White House in orange.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend are observed every June to honor Hadiya Pendelton and the more than 43,000 Americans killed with guns and approximately 76,000 more shot and wounded every year. The color orange has become the symbol of the gun violence prevention movement. Learn how you can participate in Wear Orange Weekend 2024 by clicking here.

Congregations can participate in several ways by:

· Urging their members to wear orange to worship services. Clergy can wear orange, too, including robes or stoles.

· Lighting up their building in orange. Everytown for Gun Safety is able to provide orange filters to go over exterior floodlights to show your community your congregation demands an end to gun violence. Everytown Against Gun Violence can also provide orange placards to go in windows or doors.

· Participating in or hosting community events for Wear Orange Weekend.

· Sharing your work and your concern on social media.

· Praying for an end to gun violence. Bishops United Against Gun Violence has created liturgical resources for this purpose. While these prayers are written from a Christian perspective, they can be adapted for other faith traditions. Check them out here.

Show your support for WEAR ORANGE WEEKEND and the Ohio Council of Churches. See our gear here.

The 2024 Gladden Lecture Series

Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk

“Truth Telling:

A Mission for the Church and Country 

in an Era of Afrophobia, Critical Race Theory, and Christian Nationalism”

Sunday, June 23, 4 p.m.

 Join us at First Congregational UCC, 444 East Broad St. Columbus, Ohio, for the 2024 Gladden Lecture series featuring

Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk.


For more than 60 years, Rev. Delk has been a strong ally in the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children, and the poor. In 1974, Rev. Delk became the first African American woman to be ordained as clergy in the UCC. She is the editor of the book Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ. This is the story of faith, survival, and empowerment in the hostile environment of racism. The holy stream of African spirituality that flowed across the Atlantic Ocean up to the tidewaters of Virginia in 1619, the same stream that overflowed in 1957 into the worship and work of the United Church of Christ is given its long-overdue place in the canon of UCC. Rev. Delk will also preach at both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services on Sunday, June 23.

The 2024 Gladden Lecture is being co-sponsored by the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park. A  reception will be held in Social Justice Park following the lecture.

The Festival of Nonviolence and Peacemaking will take place July 19-21, 2024, across Northeast Ohio. It will be a celebration of nonviolence and peace through music and festivities. It will also provide nonviolence and peacemaking trainings, amplify the work of nonviolence being done in our cities, and conclude with a beautiful ceremony where we turn guns into garden tools.


We can flip the script on violence. But it takes all of us. For more information, click here. The Ohio Council of Churches is a co-sponsor of the Festival, and Dr. Sullivan will be participating in the event.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court secured a major victory for consumer protection when it decided the secure, independent funding structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutionally sound.

Stephen K. Reeves, Fellowship Southwest Executive Director and co-chair of the Faith and Credit Roundtable, released the following statement:

I celebrate that with this Supreme Court decision, payday lenders have failed to bring down the Consumer Bureau. While the ruling affirms the constitutionality of the Consumer Bureau’s funding, we cannot forget the challenge came from predatory lenders who charge desperate folks over 400% annual interest rates. The CFPB remains the best hope for nationwide reform of this immoral and usurious practice that exploits the vulnerable. The funding structure was held to be constitutional, which helps the Bureau look out for American consumers by maintaining its independence from the special interests that influence Congress. I am proud of the diverse coalition of faith leaders across the political and theological spectrum who have been working for reform of payday lending. Now it is time for the CFPB to finish the job and rein in this abusive and deceptive industry.

Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Senior Strategist at Faith in Action and founding member of Faith for Just Lending, released the following statement: This Supreme Court decision, which aligns with the moral compass of Proverbs 22:22, has sided with the least of these by protecting the CFPB. This decision is a testament to our shared commitment to not rob the poor because they are poor and to not crush those in need in court. It is with great pride that we acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Center for Responsible Lending and faith leaders in bringing us to this momentous day. Your dedication and hard work have been instrumental in this achievement.

“This ruling enables the immensely popular Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to keep doing its job as a watchdog agency that protects Americans’ wallets from predatory financial firms,” said Nadine Chabrier, senior policy and litigation counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). “Even with this decision, we must keep fighting to defend our consumer watchdog agency in the courts and in Congress as some industry actors sue and lobby to preserve illegal financial discrimination, billions in unlawful junk fees, and other exploitative behavior. The nonstop, inside-the-beltway crusade to undermine the CFPB goes against the wishes of the American people, who overwhelmingly support the CFPB’s work. The anti-CFPB campaign is an attempt to throw sand in the gears of financial justice and it must be rejected. The Supreme Court’s ruling provided a welcome dose of common sense as it rejected an unprecedented, reckless argument that could have destabilized a housing market that undergirds our economy and invited challenges to funding for most of the federal government, including Medicare and the Federal Reserve.”

Throughout U.S. history and across our government, Congress has authorized funding streams for government agencies separate from an annual congressional appropriations process. The Constitution requires that funding for government activities be authorized by a law passed by Congress, but the Constitution does not require an annual appropriations process to determine funding, which the 5th Circuit inaccurately suggested is mandatory. The CFPB’s funding was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Learn more about the Center for Responsible Lending here.