Peace In Music

Sojourner's Jim Wallis and NCCC's David LaMotte

As a teenage girl, pop culture, especially music, is seemingly everything. As a teenage girl growing up in the Presbyterian Church, David LaMotte was the epitome of cool. I was introduced to his music while attending Montreat Youth Conference in the mountains of North Carolina and I was lucky enough to see him perform three times before he left his music career to study peace and conflict resolution. I remember him taking the time to talk with the audience at his concerts about the ups and downs in life and the treatment…

Natural Oral Health Tips That Can Even Help Your Heart

Toothbrush

By taking care of your teeth, you can gain a beautiful smile, fewer cavities, fresh breath, and possibly, according to increasing scientific evidence, better heart functioning…did I surprise you with that one? Yes, it is true. Although the medical community isn’t quite firm on the link, there is agreement that there is evidence tying the two together. When we read in Jeremiah 30:17, “For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord,” our assurance is that the Lord cares about our…

Blessed in the Small Things

JR-Melons

The Bible states in Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise the day of small things.” I have been constantly reminded of that verse lately. I saw it on Facebook, then I heard it in a sermon, and lastly, it was a daily verse on my phone. When I witness a recurring theme such as this, I wonder, Lord are you trying to tell me something? So I began to examine my life, thinking of my current situation and how I had to take an early retirement from a successful career to return to…

PHW Success Story – Savannah Missionary Baptist, Fayetteville

Tobacco Free Campus

Savannah Missionary Baptist Church is committed to developing a holistic ministry. For the past six years our congregation has made a concerted effort to improve the health of our members and reach out to the community. We have declared our campus Tobacco Free and have posted signs on church grounds. We also have a bulletin board with flyers, brochures and health announcements. Savannah Missionary Baptist is currently seeking participants to join our Biggest Weight Loser Challenge, a program for participants to lose weight collectively. We have even added lockers and…

The 5K Challenge

track

When most people think of 5K, they think of running. Well, this time, not so much. This 5K challenge has to do with raising awareness of health and faith through driving. And, there is another hiccup. A 5K stands for 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. However, I really mean 5,000 miles. Not correct in any sense, but c’mon, does it really sound cool to say, 5,000 miles? Or 8,046.72 kilometers? So, my challenge is to log in 5,000 miles training, speaking, teaching, and sharing on matters of health and faith. This…

Observing the Labor Sabbath This Weekend

Immigrant farmworkers picking sweet potato

As Labor Day weekend quickly approaches, many people are thinking about beaches and barbeques. Amy Laura Hall, however, wants people to be thinking about something different: labor unions. Hall, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is calling for congregations to observe a Labor Sabbath this Friday, Saturday or Sunday prior to Labor Day, during which time the words “labor union” are to be mentioned in a sermon, song or prayer. The effort stems from a similar endeavor by Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, which invited clergy to speak about unions from the pulpit….

Healing Ceilings at West Raleigh Presbyterian

Healing Ceiling -- WRPC

I was not granted the gift of creativity, so I am always in awe when I come across ideas like that of Healing Ceilings. This month at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church the walls and ceilings of an otherwise standard meeting space are covered in painted ceiling tiles. These tiles will eventually be placed in cancer centers across North Carolina to give patients undergoing treatment and tests a cheerful place to focus. The Arts Ministry at West Raleigh invited church members and the community to participate in the project known as…

Pressing On

Smoothie

As you may remember, I pledged to make some healthy lifestyle changes of my own. I stated that these changes would be incremental so as not to be overwhelming and make me contemplate giving up on them. In addition, I shared that these changes and the results were a journey and not a destination; they are a new lifestyle. So far so good. I have lost about 10 pounds in a couple of weeks just by adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I hate to use loss of weight as a measuring stick because…

From Broken Communities to Beloved Communities

candle

The recent trial of Alamance County Sheriff Andrew Johnson has focused on alleged profiling abuses against Latinos. He is accused of detaining and arresting Latino drivers without probable cause. During the Winston-Salem-based trial, two retired supervising deputies testified that Johnson told officers not to give Latino drivers traffic citations but instead to take them to jail. The charges stem from the 287(g) program, implemented in 2007, which extends limited federal immigration powers to local officials, including performing background checks and beginning deportation procedures. The government revoked that agreement in 2012, and the…

NC’s Plan to Improve Health in Rural Communities

potato field

I had the pleasure of serving on the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s (NCIOM) Task Force on Rural Health, which was charged with creating a roadmap for better health in rural parts of our state. This plan includes strategies that do not require additional funding to support, but rather stronger partnerships across different sectors, such as health care, education and economic development. People of faith who live in rural areas are encouraged to review the North Carolina Rural Health Action Plan, which is now available for free download from the…

Power Surge Hits Streams, Constitution

Photo by Flickr member yashmori

The N.C. General Assembly during its 2014 session – a session so rife with disputes among the majority Republicans that it smoldered on and on – has left many sour tastes in many mouths. There was, of course, the updated and unpalatable state budget, short of revenue because of rash tax-cutting. In order to give public school teachers a long-overdue raise, education programs across the board had to be cannibalized. For that matter, veteran teachers whose “raises” amount to chicken feed might well suspect legislators were trying to tell them…

Watershed Discipleship — Radical and Urgent Change

Butternut on the vine

The Watershed Discipleship Course was held June 16-20 at in Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa.  This conference was sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Divinity with support from Kalleiopeia Foundation. Four of PHW’s influential liaisons came together along with other powerful minds to confront the “interlocking crises of deepening climate change, resource exhaustion, and social disparity” that are embedded. One of the most profound statements that circled this conference was, “to truly face these crises is to commit ourselves, as Christians and citizens, to radical and urgent…

Cold Weather Harvest — The Time is Now

cabbage

I am already mourning the loss of the abundance of fresh produce that has been available this summer. It is a sort of anticipatory grief, particularly for those warm summer tomatoes.  However, the fresh local food doesn’t all go away when the weather turns colder. There are some great year round crops in North Carolina.  If you want to have your own fall and winter harvest of healthy greens and root vegetables, the time to prepare is now. Here is a great guide for what to plant in your garden now,…

Take Action For Health

Large Hispanic family in kitchen preparing food

I am roughly halfway through my internship with Partners in Health and Wholeness, and the pressure is on. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes activities that make PHW successful. For instance, it can be difficult to engage the community to embrace the idea of a healthy lifestyle, coordinating the events, and research different topics as a small non-profit. I have been to events before of various sorts but did not put much thought into the preparation for them until it became time for me to plan one. From now on, I will appreciate the process and…

Workers and Justice — A Call to All People of Faith

Extravagant Generosity

“There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American whether he [or she] is a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor Day Sunday this year is August 31 — a day to remember all who labor with special thoughts for those who labor for less than living wages. These include fast food workers, farmworkers, hotel industry workers, caregiving workers in homes, hospitals, and nursing homes, associates  and clerks in our stores,…

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