Clergy Breakfasts Kick Off with Sermons, Stories and Questions

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For the past two weeks, the NC Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been on the road for its annual clergy breakfast series on immigration. These breakfasts are designed to encourage conversations about immigration and how churches can play a role in welcoming immigrants within their communities. The format of the breakfasts are relatively simple: clergy share a meal together and have time to network; speakers present topics related to what the Bible says about immigration and also what challenges immigrants in that particular community are facing; then there…

PHW Faith and Health Summit: Appreciation, Connection, and Moving Forward

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Months of planning and networking for the Partners in Health and Wholeness Faith and Health Summit culminated in a day that birthed a community choir and an anthem that was specially written for PHW. Jill Crainshaw, Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity; Brad Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; and Gary Gunderson, Professor of Faith and Health of the Public at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and Vice President of Faith and…

Voter Suppression Highlighted From on High

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When thorny constitutional issues are being hashed out in the courts, it’s a fact of life that the show isn’t necessarily over until SCOTUS sings, or declines to sing. The acronym refers of course to the Supreme Court of the United States, which on Oct. 8 had the last word as to the rules for North Carolina’s upcoming election. The high court, in its wisdom, allowed a state law enacted in 2013 to continue in full force and effect. That was despite a strong challenge mounted by civil rights and…

Council Staff Hit the Road to Visit Charlotte, Asheville

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Members of the NCCC staff are looking forward to visiting Charlotte and Asheville in November and hope our friends there and in neighboring communities will join us for fellowship and conversation. Please come and feel free to bring someone new to the Council! Monday, November 17, Noon-2 p.m. Park Road Baptist Church 3900 Park Road, Charlotte Bring a bag lunch and join us at 11:30 a.m. for fellowship. We will supply drinks and dessert. Tuesday, November 18, 9-11 a.m. First Baptist Church 5 Oak Street, Asheville Join us for light…

Why Hispanic Heritage Month Matters

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Gov. McCroy recently declared that from September 15 to October 15, North Carolina would join with the rest of the country in celebrating the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our state and our nation; this is to be accomplished by recognizing the month as Hispanic Heritage month. Even so, this month remains widely under-recognized, other than on college campuses, and many would say that such cultural celebrations are unnecessary in our multicultural world. However, I believe that in our current America these cultural celebrations matter…

The Ruling on Same-Gender Marriage

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The immediate impact of the most recent court decisions regarding marriage is that same-gender couples who want to get married in North Carolina now can, clergy who want to perform such ceremonies may, and same-gender couples who were married in other states now have those marriages recognized here. It is important to note that nothing in any way compels clergy to perform such ceremonies if doing so violates their own beliefs or the teachings of their denomination. That last point is important because the case out of which this decision…

Wishing Willona Stallings Well

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It is my unhappy task to announce that Willona Stallings is leaving her position as program director for Partners in Health and Wholeness. She is going to work for the Care Share Health Alliance in Cary as an Affordable Care Act Project Specialist. She will be working with a team of public health professionals to ensure that every person who is eligible for health insurance coverage in NC is able to access it. As she said in her letter of resignation, “This job, like my work here at the Council,…

Early Voting Map Helps Locate Sites

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Our friends at the NC Conservation Network have created a useful (and nifty) interactive map of North Carolina that will point you quickly to your closest early voting site. Click here to view it and use it. Just type in your address in the Search box at the top right, then click Return, NOT the little icon in the Search box. (Check to be sure it has given you a site in your county.)  It will tell you where the site is, show it to you on a map, give…

Petition to Expand Medicaid in NC — Signers Welcome

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Health Care for All NC is continuing the important work for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. The group is hoping concerned residents will add their names to a petition calling on the Governor and members of the General Assembly to immediately accept federal funds for the expansion. As the petition reads in part: By refusing to accept Federal money to expand Medicaid, up to 500,000 poor North Carolinians who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid are blocked from enrolling. Christian and Jewish scripture both address God’s requirement for social justice toward…

Judges Give ‘The Full Bill’ Thumbs-Down

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October 9, 2014 Update: On October 8, the US Supreme Court handed down the final word about voting for this fall’s elections in North Carolina. It upheld the District Court’s decision not to put any of our new voting laws on hold and overturned the Circuit Court’s decision which would have allowed same-day registration during early voting and out-of-precinct provisional voting on Election Day. So we are back to where we started with the voter suppression provisions of H 589 adopted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor…

Olive Oil: What’s New to Know?

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In the short duration of my food system studies (since 2000-ish), I have come across several controversial topics, one of which deals with  olive oil. I was once told that if you refrigerate olive oil and it solidifies, then it is authentic. Great. Simple. Done. However, as I have progressed in my health journey, I have learned that olive oil is also not a great oil to cook with;  it can burn easily, turning rancid, and therefore nullifying all health benefits. Instead, it should be reserved to eat raw, such as…

Voting Rights — Questions Remain

Photo by Flickr user: dbking

October 9, 2014 Update: On October 8, the US Supreme Court handed down the final word about voting for this fall’s elections in North Carolina. It upheld the District Court’s decision not to put any of our new voting laws on hold and overturned the Circuit Court’s decision which would have allowed same-day registration during early voting and out-of-precinct provisional voting on Election Day. So we are back to where we started with the voter suppression provisions of H 589 adopted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor…

Where to Go for Voting Info

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Perhaps the N.C. chapter of Americans for Prosperity was just trying to be helpful when it mailed out a bunch of “official application forms” to prospective voters. Thanks a lot, guys. The State Board of Elections tells news organizations it has been hammered with queries and complaints about the forms, which include confusing misstatements about the voter registration process. If being helpful was its real intent, Americans for Prosperity would have done better simply to direct folks to the state board’s website. The board offers accurate, clear instructions for registering…

2014 Faith & Health Summit: Registration Deadline Extended

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The deadline to register for the 2014 Faith and Health Summit has been extended until this Friday, October 3. More than 200 people have already reserved their space at this important event, but there’s still room for you! Click here to take advantage of this special opportunity. The Summit will take place on Friday, October 10 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (501 Miller Street) from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with registration starting at 8:30. Special parking instructions will be provided early next week. Please stay tuned!

Breastfeeding Collaborative Awards First Mini-Grant

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Congratulations to Doorkeeper International Ministries, of Raleigh for being recognized as a breastfeeding-friendly congregation by the Partners in Health and Wholeness Breastfeeding Collaborative. They were also presented with a $5000 mini-grant, the first to be awarded by the Collaborative. Congregations in the Breastfeeding Collaborative are recognized for signing on to the breastfeeding-friendly congregations statement, distributing written materials to their congregation about the health benefits, and choosing a breastfeeding champion, who then starts a support group at the congregation’s place of worship. These congregations are qualified to apply for a mini-grant of up…