NCIPL’s Spring into Action Kickoff Week has Wrapped Up

NCIPL Advocacy Day

By Reuben Gelblum, NCIPL Intern Thank you to everyone who helped make our Spring Into Action kickoff week a success! You all participated from all over the state, listening in to our webinar, sending messages to your representatives through our virtual advocacy campaign, and traveling in person to enjoy our Spring Into Action Celebration and participate in our inaugural Faith Voices for Clean Energy Advocacy Day. It’s been quite a week! Read more from Reuben on the week’s events here.

Medicaid Message Packs a Punch

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Call it an exercise in futility? Well, no. There may not be a chance in the world that the General Assembly’s Republican chiefs will let the latest proposal to expand Medicaid come to a vote this year, or even receive a fair hearing in the committees they control. But by pressing the case, advocates continue to hammer home the benefits of expansion – and perhaps nudge Gov. Pat McCrory to find a way to untangle an impasse that has left many thousands of low-income North Carolinians struggling to get by…

How Your Congregation Can Celebrate National Farmworker Awareness Week

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This week – March 24th through 31st – is National Farmworker Awareness Week. This is a time for us to recognize the two to three million men, women and children who perform often dangerous and backbreaking work to ensure our nation’s abundant, low-cost food supply. There are many ways that your congregation can take part, including:  Organize a long-sleeved shirt drive. The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is hosting a national long-sleeve drive to help farmworkers avoid exposure to pesticides. There are ten drop-off locations in North Carolina. Attend a…

Faith and Taxation

Christian Witness on the Tax-Sustained Road

Lots of us will have our attention focused on taxes over the next couple of weeks. This focus provides a unique opportunity for faith communities to help North Carolinians make the connection between paying taxes and living out our values.  Paying taxes allows us to invest in the Common Good and build a just economy that supports opportunity for everyone regardless of the circumstances into which they were born. Moreover, if people are taxed fairly so that each of us contributes according to our ability, it will help to ensure…

Diabetes Alert Day

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Today is Diabetes Alert Day. Seven million Americans don’t know they have diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics/Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. PHW is proud to support “Diabetes Alert Day.” The American Diabetes Association, NC Division of Public Health, NC State Alliance of YMCA, and a number of community and health organizations across the state will be offering free or low-cost screenings (A1C, BMI, cholesterol), diabetes risk test, cooking demonstrations, and exercise…

Affordable Care Act and Taxes

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Any of you who have already done your tax return for 2014 have discovered new questions about your health insurance status. For many of us, it’s just a matter of checking a box on our 1040 forms stating that we have an acceptable form of health insurance (through an employer, Medicare, etc.) If, however, you enrolled in health insurance through the federal marketplace or were uninsured, there will be new tax forms to fill out, and you may owe a penalty for being uninsured. The penalty has been there as…

Universities Take a Hit with Loss of Ross

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Photo by Dan Sears, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors, in telling system President Tom Ross in January that he could serve one more year but no more, offered no specific reason other than, well, it was time to start planning for a change. By next Jan. 3, when his tenure will end after five years, Ross will have turned 65 – the age at which previous system heads have retired. Ross, however, was hoping to stay on the job….

Support the NC Council of Churches through AmazonSmile

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The North Carolina Council of Churches is now partnering with AmazonSmile, a program launched by Amazon that automatically gives a portion of your online purchases back to the charity of your choice, with no extra charge to you. We invite you to join us in registering the Council as your AmazonSmile organization. To begin shopping with AmazonSmile click here.

We Believe

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By Nicole Johnson, PHW Intern March is already here, with the official start of spring only days away.  Is your New Year’s resolution a distant memory?  Resolutions are so inspiring; it is a New Year and the future looks so bright. We’re more optimistic and believe that whatever comes next will be better in some way. By the time March rolls around, our optimism sometimes dims and the inspiration that buoyed us through the first few weeks of working out more, saving more, and giving more begins to get crowded out…

Council Puts Hot Topics on the Table

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The mission of the NC Council of Churches extends into many areas that highlight the links between faith and public policies. And of the various events and activities sponsored by the Council, none is more closely focused on those links than the Legislative Seminar – giving it a special prominence on the Council calendar. No, it’s not a seminar of the sort familiar on college campuses – a small gathering around a cozy table. This is bigger and broader. It’s meant to be a multifaceted learning experience and strategy session,…

Advocate for Family-Sustaining Living Wages and the Right to Organize

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According to Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), “four million fast food workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Many workers are standing up for $15 per hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.” Other low-wage workers, such as home health care workers, are now joining this struggle. After enduring bad weather in recent weeks – snow, ice, treacherous driving conditions, schools out at a moment’s notice, and lengthy power outages for many – I have been thinking about low wage workers. They  get no paid…

Coming to the Seminar? Bring a Friend!

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The Council’s 2015 Legislative Seminar is about a month away, and we have an exciting program of preachers, workshops, and presenters planned. If you’ve already registered to be with us, thank you and we look forward to seeing you on April 14. If you haven’t registered, please do so by April 7 in order to guarantee lunch. Either way, we hope you’ll help us get the word out to other progressive people of faith. You can find a color flyer here or a program and registration form here to print…

Second Edition of “Come to the Table Guidebook” Released

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In 2008, the first “Come to the Table Guidebook” was released. Claire Hermann, Laura Beach, and Chris Liu-Beers of the North Carolina Council of Churches were the contributors. The original “Guidebook” created the framework for the Come to the Table conferences that have been held every two years since. The authors collected stories from across North Carolina about congregations finding innovative ways to relieve hunger and support local food production, highlighting the work of groups making a connection between two vulnerable populations in our state – farmers and food insecure…

Thoughts on Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL

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President Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL bill that he received from Congress, one of only three times he has used his presidential veto (for comparison, President Reagan used his a record 78 times). We are elated about this decision. Keystone XL involves building a pipeline from Canada to Mexico, where tar sands oil, the dirtiest in the world, would be shipped across the globe. While arguments for it have centered around its economic benefits, in fact only 50 permanent jobs would result from the project. Furthermore, the pipeline would cut across…

Register for 2015 Legislative Seminar — Updated with Workshops and Presenters

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Join us on April 14 at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary for the Council’s 2015 Legislative Seminar. Held every two years, the Seminar equips people of faith with the information they need to be advocates on issues before the NC General Assembly. Registration with workshop options is below. Please scroll through the registration section for a full list of topics and presenters. The cost is $15 for students, $25 for all others, and that includes a light breakfast underwritten by Partners in Health and Wholeness, and a boxed lunch prepared by the Interfaith…