Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness

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It’s not every day that the organization that you work with finds itself in the Acknowledgements of a newly published book. But that is the case in “WorldChanging 101″ by David LaMotte, a co-worker at the North Carolina Council of Churches. David continues to work with the Council as our Peace Consultant and has recently published this book, subtitled “Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness.” David is a man of music and of stories…great stories. In this book he weaves all of the stories of his journey together to illustrate that all…

Happy Thanksgiving

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For each new morning with its Light, For rest, & shelter of the night, For health & food, for love & friends For Everything Thy goodness sends. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Blessings of the Thanksgiving Season from the NC Council of Churches Staff and Interns George, Rose, Aleta, Susannah, Joy, Shannon, Jennie, Ashley, Collins, David, Sandy, Steve, Marcus, Kyle, Reuben, and Nicole

When a Child is Loved

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I had a chance to talk with Mahan Siler at last week’s Road Show in Asheville. Mahan, who has retired to the Asheville area, was my family’s pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, one of the Council’s member congregations, in the 1990s. Mahan is one of a very small group of faith leaders who have led North Carolina’s faith communities to be welcoming of gay and lesbian Christians. As my pastor, he had a crucial influence in my journey from conservative Christian homophobe to understanding that gay and…

“It is a Challenge to be Hopeful”

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Driving home today, dreading what I’d read, hear, see next on the news out of the tragedy in Ferguson, wondering if there was anything that could be said that might bring comfort, I tuned in to a conversation on NPR. The Rev. Willis Johnson, a pastor in Ferguson, was speaking about what that community is facing and what he will be preaching about next Sunday. His words reminded me, again, that our faith may not offer us all the answers, but it can offer us hope. Pray for Ferguson.

2014 Advent Guide

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The Council’s 2014 Advent Devotional Guide is now available as a free download. Each year, Council staff take a social justice theme as a focus for these guides to be used during the season of Advent or Lent. For this Advent season, that focus is the care and well-being of children. As we say in the introduction: As we enter Advent, that time of excited, exquisite anticipation, may we never lose sight of that season’s reality. Jesus, the one we await, was the poor, paperless child of immigrant parents, specifically an unwed, teenage…

Religious Leaders Meet with EPA Administrator McCarthy

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This week, representatives from 17 religious organizations met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to deliver more than 10,000 public comments and highlight the support of the faith community on rules to address carbon pollution from power plants. There are currently no limits on carbon pollution from these plants. But now, the EPA has proposed first-ever standards for carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants.This proposal will limit emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The comment period for this rule ends on December 1….

Obama Unveils Immigration Plan: “We Were Strangers Once, Too”

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Yesterday, President Obama took a courageous and controversial step toward reforming our country’s immigration system. He announced his plan to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to apply to stay in this country without the fear of deportation. One significant change allows for an expansion of the Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include the parents of children who are US citizens or legal residents and have been in the country for more than five years without a criminal record. This will provide much-needed, temporary relief for approximately five million…

Council’s Fall Appeal is Underway

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In his final fall appeal letter, Executive Director George Reed offers his thanks for those who have supported the Council over the years and helped it grown into the organization it has become. He writes in part: The Council is an amazing organization, one I am honored to have been associated with for these years. Your gifts – from the $5 sent in regularly by a retiree to multiple thousands of dollars sent by a few friends of justice with the wherewithal to give that generously – have kept us going…

Expand Medicaid? Now’s the time

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The decision last year by the conservatives who control North Carolina’s state government not to expand the state’s Medicaid program has left an estimated half-million residents out in the cold when it comes to health insurance – that’s the number cited by the N.C. Institute of Medicine. These folks typically are among the state’s working poor, with incomes that might rise above the poverty line but not by much. As a practical matter, the lack of health insurance means they simply do without the kind of routine medical care that…

ACA Open Enrollment Kicks Off November 15 — Events Planned Statewide

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Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act kicks off November 15 and continues through February 15, 2015. The Council has a long history of supporting universal health care as a justice issue  As people of faith, we believe that all our brothers and sisters deserve access to the medical care they need. Re-enrollment, while not required for those already in the ACA, is highly encouraged to update consumer information and because new plans have entered the market in North Carolina with the potential for improved coverage and lower rates. The deadline for…

Environmental Responsibility Knows No Boundaries

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This week, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping – leaders of the world’s two biggest polluters – announced a “historic agreement.” Each country committed to reducing its nation’s carbon emissions: The US will reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, while China agreed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, with 20% of its energy coming from renewable sources. These actions alone are not nearly enough, friends – but they signal a hopeful chapter in global climate negotiations and represent the progress we can make over…

Lifting Up the Mexican Children and Students

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As I have been traveling across the state educating clergy about immigrants in their communities and facilitating discussion through the Clergy Breakfast tour, I have heard from some amazing people: health workers, school outreach workers, community organizers, pastors and attorneys. This past week at the Clergy Breakfast in Black Mountain I was blessed to hear from Natalie Teague, an immigration attorney in Asheville. Natalie had just returned from Artesia, New Mexico, where she had been working with a group of attorneys to serve women and children who are being detained…

Celebrating the Lives, Deaths, and Contributions of NC Farmworkers

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Last week, advocates joined with farmworkers from across the state to remember fallen farmworkers who have died in the fields of North Carolina. The event took place on November 1, which is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and All Saints’ Day for Christians around the world. While these two celebrations differ, they also have a lot in common. It is important to note that they fall at the end of the harvest season, when the days shorten and the trees shed their leaves — the natural world…

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…

Conservatives, Riding High, Can Heed Cooler Heads

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There’s no getting around the fact that when North Carolinians went to the polls on Nov. 5, they gave a thumbs-up to the conservatives who’ve been in charge at the General Assembly for the last four years – doing damage that calls to mind the proverbial elephant in a china shop. Republican victories might not all have been overwhelming (putting aside those districts rendered virtually immune from competition by GOP gerrymandering), and in a handful of cases Democratic challengers emerged on top. But when the dust settled, the rightward tilt…

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2014 Affordable Care Act Bulletin Insert Available Here