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,…

Connect and Share with Others in Planning for the People’s Climate March in September!

People's Climate March

The People’s Climate March is bringing together people with the urgency and power needed to address the climate crisis. Read more here. It is happening in New York and simultaneously in locales around the world. Major organizations such as 350.org are arranging a climate tour of four East Coast Cities. The National Religious Partnership is calling for local prayer vigils. Other coordinating gatherings and events are listed here. Are you going to NY for the People’s Climate March? Let us know! With this link, you will also have the option to…

PHW Honors Helen Livingston

PHW -- Helen Livingston

Meet one of our community leaders, Helen Livingston, of Scotland County. I first met Helen through the phone when I started with PHW, and almost instantly we were kindred spirits. She was the reason PHW had our first webinar, and she continues to be a strong asset for the Central South-East Region where I work. She was recently honored by the Scotland County NAACP Youth Council. Because of  the NC Council of Churches’ work with the NCNAACP, and because Helen Livingston is such a strong community leader in Scotland County, I wanted to…

Cary Congregation with Liberian ties Collects Medical Supplies

Rock Hands

We have all been touched by news of the growing Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria, a crisis that so far has resisted efforts at containment. Those of us with even brief personal ties to West Africa (I spent a couple of weeks in Togo and Burkina Faso in 1974) will never forget the people there and are especially moved by this unfolding crisis. The August 7 e-newsletter from the Southern Conference (SOC) of the United Church of Christ contains information about a connection between the SOC…

2014 Faith & Health Summit – Register Now!

2014 Faith & Health Summit

Please join the North Carolina Council of Churches at the 2014 Faith and Health Summit, which will be held on Friday, October 10, 2014 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (501 Miller Street). Special thanks to Wake Forest University’s Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative for co-sponsoring the event! The program will run from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with registration starting at 8:30. Arrival snacks and coffee will be provided. The conference theme is “We’re Better Together” and the focus text is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a. Click here to register by Monday September 29. After…

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PHW Faith & Health Summit -- October 10 Learn more