What Does it Mean to Wear Ashes in Protest?

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent. In liturgical churches, it begins with a vivid reminder of death. As the words “for dust you are and to dust you shall return” are spoken, Christians are marked on their foreheads with ashes in the shape of the cross. This year in Mexico, many Christians used this remembrance of death to remember and protest the loss of 43 students who were kidnapped, murdered, and then had their bodies burned in a garbage dump and their ashes dumped in…

Council Post-Election Road Shows to Charlotte and Asheville


What do Tuesday’s elections mean for North Carolina? How can people of faith in the state continue to affect positive change? Join the staff of the North Carolina Council of Churches as we visit Charlotte and Asheville to discuss ways our programs are providing a progressive, faithful voice for issues facing NC residents and how you can be involved. We hope you’ll join us: Monday, November 17, Noon-2 p.m. Park Road Baptist Church 3900 Park Road, Charlotte Bring a bag lunch and join us at 11:30 a.m. for fellowship. We…

Judgeships Crowd Ballot with Bubbles

Voting Slide

For people who enjoy voting, North Carolina’s upcoming election promises to be a real treat. Federal, state and local offices are on the ballot. There’s no more straight-ticket voting for party candidates, so voters will have to (or get to) pick their favorite in each and every race. What’s more, the ballot is loaded with races that are at least technically non-partisan. So party allegiances aren’t supposed to be a big factor. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory. The truth is, the ballot in this state’s 2014…

From Broken Communities to Beloved Communities


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…

Theological Conference on Public Policy — April 12


The call to people of faith through Moral Mondays continues to be felt. On April 12, a daylong conference takes place at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. “Forward Together — God’s Work, Our Hands, Faith in Action” is a theological conference exploring the public policy issues raised by Moral Mondays. The keynote speaker is the Right Rev. Michael Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Break-out sessions will feature experts on voting rights, education, poverty, and class and racial justice. The Rev. Dr. James Thomas is…

Worship Resources on the Death Penalty


Date: Good Friday – Apr. 18, 2014
Topic: The Death Penalty
Focus Text: John 18:1-19:42
Because Christians have come to understand the cross as a rich symbol of all that God has accomplished in Jesus it is sometimes easy to forget that the symbol of our faith is (or was) also an instrument of torture and execution (it is certainly more than that, but not less). The details of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion are a reminder that Jesus did in fact receive a form of capital punishment. As ethicist Glen Stassen writes, “Christians who remember that their Lord was unjustly and cruelly given the death penalty have a hard time being enthusiastic about imposing the death penalty on others.”

Worship Resources on Restorative Justice


Date: 5th Sunday in Lent – Apr. 6, 2014
Topic: Restorative Justice
Focus Text: Psalm 130
If there were such a thing as a six o’clock news cast in the first century, Jesus the felon would appear walking down the street escorted by the police of his day—handcuffed—if you will. The announcer would tell us that the vandal who destroyed Temple property and repeatedly broke Jewish laws; the welfare king who relied on the generosity of unsuspecting middle class women to promote his suspicious doctrine; the man known to frequent the establishments of tax collectors and prostitutes—and claimed to be God, had finally been apprehended and was awaiting sentencing. Yes, in the minds of this first century felon’s accusers, he was little more than a common criminal.

Photos from HKonJ 2014


The Council helped organize a Service of Repentance and Consecration in front of the General Assembly Building prior to the Moral March and HKonJ People’s Assembly held earlier this month in Raleigh. The photos above were taken throughout the day as Council friends, volunteers and staff came together with people from throughout North Carolina and the nation.

HKonJ 2014 — Moral March and People’s Assembly


A cross-section of North Carolinians and progressives from other states flooded downtown Raleigh on Saturday as part of HKonJ 2014. Longtime activists from across the state walked with college students, parents pushed young children in strollers, old friends renewed acquaintances, and new relationships were forged. The day began with an interfaith Service of Repentance and Consecration, organized by the Council for lay leaders and clergy. About 50 people gathered in front of the General Assembly Building before heading to Shaw University to take part in Shabbat services conducted by area Jewish leaders and…

Pray with Us on Friday, March with Us on Saturday


Join the NC NAACP, the North Carolina Council of Churches, and coalition partners for this weekend’s Moral March on Raleigh and HKonJ People’s Assembly. Events include: A Mass Meeting and Worship Service Friday, February 7, 7 p.m. Abundant Life Christian Center 4400 Old Poole Road, Raleigh Keynote speaker is Bishop W. Darin Moore, Presiding Prelate of the Western Episcopal District and the NC Conference of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District, with NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber presiding. The service is open to people of all faiths…

HKonJ 2014 — Saturday, February 8


It’s now just four weeks until this year’s HKonJ People’s Assembly. There is nothing more important for people of faith to do this winter as we work for prophetic social justice than to attend HKonJ and encourage  others to join us. Participants will assemble at Shaw University at 9:30 a.m. with the march set to begin at 10:30 a.m. I hope to see you there.  

The Death Penalty – Good Friday


Sign up below to receive free worship resources in your inbox (1-2 per month): Focus Text: John 18:1-19:42 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus,…

The Liberal Protest that Would Shock the Right: Moral Monday

Photo by Michael Burns


Every week prayers and gospel songs infuse the air and participants offer blessings to the latest batch of 100 or so activists entering the Raleigh General Assembly building to commit civil disobedience. If you’re not from here, it may all seem a little counter-intuitive: A movement for inclusive and just secular governance that is deeply inflected with Christian ethics and arguments.

Judges and Campaign Cash


The law setting up the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund is clear about its goals. Chapter 163, Article 22D of the General Statutes aims “to ensure the fairness of democratic elections in North Carolina and to protect the constitutional rights of voters and candidates from the detrimental effects of increasingly large amounts of money being raised and spent to influence the outcome of elections, those effects being especially problematic in elections of the judiciary, since impartiality is uniquely important to the integrity and credibility of the courts.” Well, can’t have…

Moral Mondays Are Home-Grown


“Outside agitators.” The very term reminds those of us of a certain age of the Civil Rights Movement, when anybody coming from outside the South to suggest that the South’s segregation and treatment of African-American citizens was somehow un-American, un-constitutional, un-Christian. And they could be dismissed (or worse) because they were an “outsider.” So it is especially disconcerting to hear Gov. Pat McCrory describe those of us coming to Moral Monday rallies as “outsiders.” And then his ignorance is exposed for the untruth that it is when WRAL-TV examines the…