Theological Conference on Public Policy — April 12

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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

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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

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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

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p1010651 ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 79 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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…

Faith Leaders Voice Support for Moral Mondays

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Faith leaders from across the state and from different traditions continue to speak out in support of Moral Mondays, the weekly NC NAACP-led demonstrations in Raleigh. Within days of each other, the heads of Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Methodist judicatories in North Carolina and seven Jewish leaders in the Triangle issued statements of support based on their religious convictions. The first letter read in part: The Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Seminary (Charlotte) recently summarized the effect of pending and enacted legislation especially on the poor,…

Tax Cuts’ Painful Costs

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“Moral Monday” demonstrators at the General Assembly bring a wide range of grievances. They charge the legislature’s Republican majorities with failing to uphold the interests of North Carolinians who count on robust public education programs as paths out of poverty and doorways to success. They say poor people’s health care needs are being neglected. They decry what they see as methodical efforts to suppress the votes of African-Americans and others who tend to side with Democrats. They criticize a perceived legislative indifference to racial discrimination in the justice system. It’s…

NC NAACP Launches Statewide Tour

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The North Carolina NAACP, building on four weeks of Moral Monday demonstrations, has launched a 25-city statewide tour reaching from Elizabeth City to Hendersonville. The Forward Together Movement Local Organizing Tour began May 28 in Raleigh and ends June 7 in Durham. It is intended to mobilize local communities against the direction the General Assembly is taking the state on issues important to people committed to social justice, including public education, access to voting, tax justice, adequate funding for state programs, support of vulnerable people, and the death penalty, among…

Jailhouse Justice

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For all the Christian emphasis on forgiveness and redemption, many if not most churchgoers likely are comfortable with the old maxim, “Do the crime, do the time.” Law-breaking has its consequences in a just society, as it must. Still, the maxim can be dreadfully simplistic. How much time, under what conditions? What about mitigating factors? What about claims of innocence – which sometimes are well-founded, even after juries have returned verdicts of guilty? Criminal justice becomes justice in name only when sentences are excessive, when conditions of confinement are unnecessarily…