Christmas: The Story of a Refugee Child Named Jesus

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Last week, the largest detention center in the United States opened. The 50-acre center, located in Dilley, TX, will hold up to 2,400 migrants who have crossed the border illegally and is especially designed to hold women and children. This week, Christians around the world are engaged in the retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth. What can the Prince of Peace’s birth teach us about the politics of immigration reform? How should we respond to these children at our nation’s border? Jesus tells us that a response to the…

Advent — Joy to the World

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“Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing….” It is the final week of Advent, and Christmas is almost here. Today, we celebrate joy. I know I often let the weight of the world press down on my shoulders. I struggle to celebrate amidst all the pain, sorrow, and injustice of the world. I let my schedule get saturated, I stress about work, family, friends…I even stress about being healthy. Did I get enough vegetables today?…

Climate Change and the New NC DENR Chief

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More than 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists believe we humans are changing our climate for the worse. (That scientific consensus is as strong as the one that finds smoking causes cancer.) By burning fossil fuel in power plants, trucks and cars, by releasing methane gas during gas and oil drilling, by cutting down precious forests, we’re not only inviting more extreme weather events—severe droughts, and dangerous hurricanes, wildfires and floods—we’re also despoiling and endangering the majesty of God’s creation. That’s why, as Governor McCrory reviews candidates for the…

Ten Things I Learned from the 2014 Clergy Breakfasts

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The past two months the NC Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been busy with its annual clergy breakfast series. This year we hosted five events across the state, as far west as Black Mountain and to the east toward Greenville. In total, 87 clergy and congregational leaders participated. I had the pleasure of attending all of the events and wanted to share a few lessons that I learned (or was reminded of) along the way: 1) North Carolina is a big state and each community is different. As I…

Advent — As Yourself

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During the holiday season, we celebrate the love of friends and family, and this week of Advent we anticipate the love of the coming Christ. As we seek to live out Jesus’ call to “love your neighbor as yourself” throughout this season, we often forget an essential piece of the second greatest commandment. For many of us who are taught to give and serve sacrificially, we miss the poignancy of the last bit of this phrase — in order to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we have to love…

Advent – What Peace?

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This second week of Advent is often set aside to reflect on peace.  Reflection is a starting place; it does not take much reflection time to recognize that peace is very distant, and even seems impossible at times, in the current state of the world. We not only reflect on peace, but proclaim peace as a possibility, and work to usher it in. Through the work of Partners in Health and Wholeness, we are passionate about helping people steward their bodies as a part of God’s creation, tapping into the…

Keep the Light Shining on CIA Conduct

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Perhaps you can fight fire with fire, but you can’t – or shouldn’t – attempt to fight terrorism with terror. That’s an ultimate takeaway from the U.S. Senate report detailing abusive interrogations of terror suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA had a heavy responsibility in those dark days after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were desperate to know not only who had carried out the hideous attacks that claimed so many innocent lives but also whether more attacks were being plotted. What’s more, the agency and its overseers…

Giving Thanks for Christmas Trees

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This time of year we give thanks for many things — including our families, our health, and our churches. We often overlook our decorations, however. Putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, stringing the lights and hanging the ornaments can seem like a daunting task rather than a blessing. However, if you choose a real tree, remember that someone worked hard to grow and harvest it. Growing Christmas trees requires a considerable amount of work, and the people who are hired to do this work are often seasonal laborers from…

Election Explanations as the Dust Settles

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North Carolina’s new U.S. senator-in-waiting, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, had what appears to have been the closest scrape among winning Republican Senate candidates in last month’s election. Tillis defeated first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan by 45,608 votes out of a total of 2,800,910 votes that were cast, according to the State Board of Elections, with Libertarian Sean Haugh picking up some loose change. The victory, which helped Republicans augment their new Senate majority, was by a margin of 48.8 percent to 47.3 percent. That she came close — and…

Support Artisans and the Council

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The Council is excited to hold a shopping event at the Raleigh Ten Thousand Villages. Come visit with Council friends and finish some of your holiday shopping at a store committed to supporting artisans from 38 developing countries. These artisans depend on Ten Thousand Villages to sell their products and share their stories. A portion of the sales from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 14 will be donated to the Council. Help two great causes at once! The Cameron Village store is located at 435 Woodburn Road.

Children’s Resources Added to Lectionary Year B

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Children’s sermons are being added to the Council’s Year B lectionary resource, Acts of Faith. This was a challenging task as the topics of many of our units do not readily lend themselves to an entertaining children’s sermon. The resulting resource offers a way to communicate with children about very important social justice issues facing our congregations today. The sermons are created for six- to nine-year-olds with a focus on one verse of the focus text for the unit. The translation uses the Common English Bible. In addition to explaining the biblical verse,…

Job Posting: Executive Director

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The NC Council of Churches has begun the search for its next Executive Director. The Council is a statewide organization, based in Raleigh, and working on issues of justice, peace, and Christian unity. A Search Committee made up of Governing Board members and active Council volunteers has begun accepting application packets with a deadline for submission of January 15, 2015. A complete description of the position and the application process is below. Please direct any questions to the committee via e-mail at EDSearch@outlook.com. North Carolina Council of Churches Executive Director…

Advent: The Season of Perpetual Hope

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Advent is here. If you look around, it may seem like Christmas showed up weeks ago, at least in stores and on the radio. But it isn’t Christmas yet. It is Advent. The season of waiting, of longing for something that is to come. When I was a kid, there was nothing like the excitement in anticipation of Christmas morning. For this very reason, Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year. When Christmas morning came, I opened my presents as slowly as possible to savor any remaining anticipation and make the…

Giving Tuesday is Here

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Today is Giving Tuesday worldwide. Along with encouraging donors to support nonprofits, it’s also a chance for organizations like the Council to show our appreciation. Please know that we are sincerely grateful to all those who have already given to the Council’s fall appeal or to other organizations. You are part of a powerful force sustaining work that often otherwise would not get done. For the Council, that means you help us help farmworkers and immigrants; advocate in the legislature for voting rights, strong public schools, an equitable budget, Medicaid expansion,…

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…

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