Lessons Learned from the Millennial Leaders Program

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Last month, I had the opportunity to be one of 50 young leaders from across the country to take part in the 2015 Millennial Leaders Program at Union Theological Seminary in New York​ City. The purpose of the conference is to gather together these millennial leaders to foster engagement around the intersection of their experiences​ of spirituality, social justice, and activism. It provides​ a unique opportunity to form a critical mass of activism with groups that don’t usually have an opportunity to come together. I took part in a number of workshops and trainings,​…

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry Elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

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Photo credit: Episcopal News Service We join with our Episcopal brothers and sisters in celebrating the election of the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry as their 27th Presiding Bishop. Those of us in North Carolina have benefited from Michael’s deep faith, his leadership, and his extraordinary skills as a preacher and advocate in his role as Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.  We can only imagine all that he will accomplish for the larger church and will enjoy watching the rest of the world discover what we have come to know. Blessings…

Statement on the Supreme Court’s Same-Gender Marriage Decision

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We celebrate today’s Supreme Court ruling with our gay brothers and sisters who wish to marry and have their marriages recognized nationwide, with denominations and congregations that have authorized and now are affirmed in continuing to perform same-gender marriages, and with the clergy who have sought to officiate these weddings as a matter of faith. At the same time, we recognize that this continues to be a difficult and complex issue for many people of faith. So we would reiterate that this ruling does not force people to change their…

Racism and Islamophobia — Local and Global

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By Wayde Marsh, Duke Divinity School Intern “Islamophobia doesn’t just affect Muslims, it affects a broad range of people,” began Manzoor Cheema, a leader of Muslims for Social Justice and one of the coalition leaders for the newly formed Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI). “The only way to overcome this oppression is to unite in our struggles.” His message was very pertinent to those at Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church recently, where representatives from at least 21 organizations gathered. Those present are actively engaged in efforts to stop…

The Pope and Ecology: Shouts from the Highest Steeple

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The excitement is building: for the first time in history, the Pope is issuing an encyclical on the environment… but wait, why is this important? First, the Pope presides over the largest religious body with a single human leader: Catholicism. He is influential. Second, the encyclical is the second most important document the Pope can issue and is the first of its kind to address environmental issues. The letter is a significant event. Along with our Catholic partners and Twitter companions @CatholicEcology, @CatholicClimate, and @CathClimateMvmt we are counting down the…

This Millennial’s Response to the Pew Research Center Study

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I am a millennial. I was also born and raised in the church and have continued to participate in church my entire life. I am soon to be married in the church, and if my partner and I have children, I plan to raise them in the church. I also went to seminary and currently work with churches all across the state. The results of the Pew Research study released this week were not new to me — churches are shrinking and fewer and fewer people are calling themselves “Christian.”…

Register for 2015 Legislative Seminar — Updated with Workshops and Presenters

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Join us on April 14 at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary for the Council’s 2015 Legislative Seminar. Held every two years, the Seminar equips people of faith with the information they need to be advocates on issues before the NC General Assembly. Registration with workshop options is below. Please scroll through the registration section for a full list of topics and presenters. The cost is $15 for students, $25 for all others, and that includes a light breakfast underwritten by Partners in Health and Wholeness, and a boxed lunch prepared by the Interfaith…

In Mourning

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The deaths of Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Deah Shaddy Barakat are an unspeakable tragedy. Whether officials eventually decide that they were murdered because they were Muslim, because they were faithful, or because of a parking spot, their generous and gracious lives have been brutally cut short. We will never know all the good they would have done. We pray peace for all those impacted by this horrible act and pray that we as a society will deeply, fervently consider why we so often turn to violence.  

Join us for HKonJ 2015

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In these challenging days in North Carolina, there is nothing more important for people of faith who support progressive and prophetic public policies to do than to take part in the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) march and People’s Assembly. It happens this coming Saturday, Valentine’s Day, in Raleigh.  Please do everything you can do to attend and bring others with you. People will gather near Memorial Auditorium (2 East South Street, for you GPS people) and Shaw University in downtown Raleigh at 9:00, with the march to…

Remembering Sydnor Thompson

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We received word last week of the passing of Sydnor Thompson Jr. less than a month shy of his 91st birthday. There are few people who have a longer history or greater involvement with the NC Council of Churches. When Sydnor received the Council’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013, he noted that he had been around long enough to remember when Collins Kilburn came to work here and to have known Sam Wiley before him. Sydnor was an attorney of great influence, a local and appellate judge, and a leader…

2015 Ecumenical Prayer Calendar

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This Prayer for Unity and monthly ecumenical prayer calendar include by name the judicatories and congregations that are members of the North Carolina Council of Churches and the names of their current leaders. Your prayers for reconciliation are invited for all Christian bodies in and beyond the state. Click here to download a PDF of the Prayer Calendar. A Prayer for Unity Holy One, whose love has been poured into our hearts through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, and who by the power at work within us is able…

2015 Ecumenical Prayer Calendar

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This Prayer for Unity and monthly ecumenical prayer calendar include by name the judicatories and congregations that are members of the North Carolina Council of Churches and the names of their current leaders. Your prayers for reconciliation are invited for all Christian bodies in and beyond the state. A Prayer for Unity Holy One, whose love has been poured into our hearts through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, and who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine,…

Cary Congregation with Liberian ties Collects Medical Supplies

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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…

Lutherans Sponsor Conference to Ponder Justice and Faith

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When the line to check in at a church-sponsored conference on a beautiful Saturday morning in April stretches out the door, it’s a sign that the event has generated an impressive level of buzz. For the North Carolina Lutherans, their faith partners and other friends who turned out in strength on April 12, those more predictable Saturday pursuits of grass-mowing, grocery shopping and golf would just have to wait. The event at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh had an ambitious theme: “Navigating Public Policy Issues Guided by a Moral…