The Great Tomato Festival


On Saturday I had the chance to attend the 5th Annual Great Tomato Festival, which is a collaboration between the Cooperative Extension of Guilford County and NC A&T University. Extension master gardener volunteers plant, tend, harvest and prepare the tomatoes for the event. NC A&T provides land for growing the tomatoes and the venue for the event: the University’s farm. The NC 10% campaign, Got to Be NC Agriulture, the 4-H Club and the Cooperative Extension all set up tables to offer resources and information. There were cooking demonstrations, garden tours,…

Warning Signs in Budget ‘Deal’


The approach of an agreement to keep North Carolina state government operating with a balanced budget, as required under the state constitution, usually brings at least a sigh of relief. Budgets seldom are approved without plenty of give and take — honest disagreements over spending priorities and how to raise the money. Settling such conflicts in line with the public interest is what representative democracy is all about. This summer, however, with an overdue budget deal said to be just about wrapped up, the outcome might not offer much to…

2014 PHW Youth Conference

2104 PHW Youth

The Lord raised up Laquanda Bowden of Empowering Word Ministries and her church crew to organize an incredible 2014 Youth Conference. Yes, Partners in Health and Wholeness co-hosted this event, and I don’t want to downplay the role that Willona Stallings played or our summer intern, Johnny Rogers, without whom the PHW side could not have been fulfilled. But I have to say that Laquanda Bowden and the church crew had a turn-out that was phenomenal. They transported children from all over the community, and we worked together to provide…

Raising the Faith Voice Regarding Climate Change Now


People of faith are coming together in more and more impactful ways to help create the future that we want with clean air, clean water, clean energy, and with greater equity for all our children and the children of all species. An opportunity is rising now that will culminate in September. Faith traditions are issuing declarations and launching campaigns. To mention only a few examples, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life created a “Jewish Environment and Energy Imperative” declaration. Rabbis from the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform and Renewal movements…

Food, Fairness and Faith

Courtney Ward

“How is this equal?!” I often articulate this simple phrase whenever I take a look at the world these days. Sometimes I mutter the sentence under my breath in disbelief, and sometimes I exclaim it with disgust or utter shock. The question of equality always surfaces whenever I acknowledge the issues we humans face, particularly with simple necessities like food. Although I personally have had some hard times, I never once worried about where my next meal would come from during my childhood. I grew up under a household where…

World Breastfeeding Week, August 1–7

Sleeping Baby2

Local North Carolina organizations are joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7. According to the WHO website, “World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need….

What Would Radical Hospitality at the Border Look Like?

Welcome to NC

This past week I have been focusing on the crisis of the thousands of refugee children at the border who are being held in detention centers. I have blogged about praying for these children and sending them letters, and distributed an e-bulletin about ways your congregation can support them. All of these suggestions are centered around showing hospitality to children who have crossed into the United States without their families. My suggestions have included donating money, clothes, writing letters and holding them up in prayer. But what if we were called to do…

Another Spirit-filled Weekend with Partners in Health and Wholeness

Johnny -- PHW

Partners in Health and Wholeness co-hosted a youth conference on Saturday, July 12, with Empowering Word Ministries in Wadesboro.  I was honored to be able to participate as a PHW intern. Empowering Word Ministries Church held a spirit filled-praise and worship service with groups from the community and surrounding counties on Friday night, which I attended. In addition to the worship service, Empowering Word Ministries Church and Partners in Health and Wholeness were able to partner in a healthy lifestyle ministry the next day.  Participants were able to share in the…

The Earth and Its Fullness: NC Public Citizens’ Hearing

Fresh Air

We wanted to share Rev. Richard Eden’s words of welcome from the hearing hosted by United Church of Chapel Hill: “First, welcome to United Church of Chapel Hill and the NC’s Public Citizen’s Hearing on EPA’s Clean Power Plants Rules. We are glad we could assist your hosts this evening: NC Interfaith Power & Light, Clean Air Carolina, Environment NC, National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club NC Chapter. Two of the world’s faith traditions have used the words of Psalm 24 over three millennium: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness…

PHW Welcomes Courtney Ward

Courtney Ward_headshot

Courtney Ward is a summer intern with the Alliance of Baptists, working with Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and lending her aid to the Partners in Health and Wholeness Initiative. Born and bred in Frederick, Maryland, Courtney received a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Bachelor’s degree in Religion (both concentrating in American Studies) from Hood College. She has five years of experience working with non-profit organizations and is progressing to make a career out of her past experience. Her passion for cultural studies and social diversity has helped her to…

Lord, Please Keep Making Me

Joy and Dad

With the Sidewalk Prophets singing “Keep Making Me” in the background, I sit here contemplating how to start the many blog posts running through my head. I am overcome with a wave of love that begins in my belly, funnels to my heart and out through my head.  I get lost in the words of the song, “I’m completed when you are with me…Lord please keep making me. “ I knew I would confront trials, I just didn’t think it would involve four cherished family members dying within weeks of…

Prayers and Letters for Children at the Border

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The issue of unaccompanied children at the border has caused great concern about the thousands of refugee children who have fled violence and poverty to seek a safe haven here in the U.S. The presence of these same children has also prompted feelings of resentment, hatred and xenophobia, as communities are divided over who their neighbors are. I believe that as people of faith, we are called to respond to these children with love and support. We must move away from a national conversation of hostility to one of compassion and…

National Priorities — What Would Jesus Say?


“Inequality for All,” a documentary with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, considers the priorities of the US over the last century and offers some interesting observations. When has our country prospered and created the most comfort for the most people? How have government regulations affected different people? Who has been helped by the rules and who has been hurt?  Although the film is not presented from a faith perspective, after viewing it three times, I find myself thinking about the sheep and goat story in Matthew 25 with my eyes…

Here’s Johnny!


It is my pleasure to introduce you to PHW Intern Johnny Rogers. He is a UNC-Pembroke student, and you can read more about him in the staff section of the Council’s home page. Johnny has completed three weeks of this internship, and he hit the ground running hard. He will be serving mostly Robeson County, however, he will be accompanying me on selected trips in other parts of the eight counties I serve, as well. If you live in Robeson County and would like to meet Johnny, please contact me at….

Internship with PHW More than Expected

PHW Intern Johnny Rogers Blog

From this internship with Partners in Health and Wholeness, my main expectations were to strengthen my employment applications after graduation by adding additional experiences. However, after my first day in the field with Joy Williams, my expectations have changed. Seeing her passion and commitment to her calling has made me realize how important this internship truly is and how blessed I am to be a part of Partners in Health and Wholeness. My expectations for this brief internship have changed from just gaining work experience to embracing the needs of…