What Frightens Civitas?

Marc Mullinax from HKonJ

Apparently I scare Civitas. Maybe it’s my upbringing. I was raised by a single mom (my parents divorced when I was a toddler) who was fortunate to have a solid job with the federal government and a supportive family who were the safety net between us and poverty. We were lucky. Maybe it was my education. I came up through the Virginia public schools, Kindergarten through college (Wahoowa, y’all!). I attended U.Va. on a partial scholarship from a corporation that thought supporting young people of color through higher education was…

Healthy Eating for You and the Planet


Many of us kick off the new year committed to healthier eating. In his words below, NCIPL Steering Committee Chair Carl Sigel suggests ways we can be better not just to ourselves but also to our planet: At present, about one-third of the planet’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from agriculture, largely due to tropical deforestation, methane emissions from livestock and rice cultivation, and nitrous oxide emissions from fertilized soils. To meet the world’s future food needs, food production will likely need to double by the middle of this century. If we continue…

So Long, 2014: It Wasn’t all Pretty!

Party popper

Of the many decisions and activities that unfold in the arena of public affairs, the ones that tend to show up on the NC Council of Churches’ radar are those affecting the quality of social justice in our state. The Council stands for policies and their associated programs that offer support, relief and prospects for a brighter future to our vulnerable neighbors and fellow residents. That doesn’t mean reckless handouts. It means reasonable public efforts to keep the working poor, children, the income-strapped elderly, immigrants, people with disabilities and those…

Climate Change and the New NC DENR Chief

raleigh friends and community ucc pre-w work crew

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…

Giving Thanks for Christmas Trees


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…

2014 Advent Guide


The Council’s 2014 Advent Devotional Guide is now available as a free download. Each year, Council staff take a social justice theme as a focus for these guides to be used during the season of Advent or Lent. For this Advent season, that focus is the care and well-being of children. As we say in the introduction: As we enter Advent, that time of excited, exquisite anticipation, may we never lose sight of that season’s reality. Jesus, the one we await, was the poor, paperless child of immigrant parents, specifically an unwed, teenage…

Religious Leaders Meet with EPA Administrator McCarthy

Religious leaders and EPA meeting

This week, representatives from 17 religious organizations met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to deliver more than 10,000 public comments and highlight the support of the faith community on rules to address carbon pollution from power plants. There are currently no limits on carbon pollution from these plants. But now, the EPA has proposed first-ever standards for carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants.This proposal will limit emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The comment period for this rule ends on December 1….

Environmental Responsibility Knows No Boundaries


This week, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping – leaders of the world’s two biggest polluters – announced a “historic agreement.” Each country committed to reducing its nation’s carbon emissions: The US will reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, while China agreed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, with 20% of its energy coming from renewable sources. These actions alone are not nearly enough, friends – but they signal a hopeful chapter in global climate negotiations and represent the progress we can make over…

Conservatives, Riding High, Can Heed Cooler Heads


There’s no getting around the fact that when North Carolinians went to the polls on Nov. 5, they gave a thumbs-up to the conservatives who’ve been in charge at the General Assembly for the last four years – doing damage that calls to mind the proverbial elephant in a china shop. Republican victories might not all have been overwhelming (putting aside those districts rendered virtually immune from competition by GOP gerrymandering), and in a handful of cases Democratic challengers emerged on top. But when the dust settled, the rightward tilt…

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…

Hope for Our Future: The EPA Clean Power Plan


More than 40% of carbon pollution comes from power plants. Yet incredibly, there are currently no limits on greenhouse gas emissions from these plants. But now, the EPA has proposed first-ever standards for carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants. This proposal will limit emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. Make your voice heard before the comment period ends on December 1, and tell the EPA to move forward with strong carbon standards for power plants. There is a limited time that the EPA will be accepting…

Worship Resources on Sustainable Living


Date: Christ the King – Nov. 23, 2014
Topic: Sustainable Living
Focus Text: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

In North Carolina, we have begun to pay more attention to the quality of our air and water and how our daily practices, both individually and corporately, can contribute either to environmental degradation or restoration. But my time in India impressed upon me the reality that my concern for clean air and water cannot stop at the state line.

Reflections from the People’s Climate March

Susannah at the Climate March

Many Interfaith Power & Light folks, from NC and all over the country, took to the streets of New York City this past weekend for the People’s Climate March. It was an exhilarating time, and we left feeling more inspired and connected. Estimates are that more than 400,000 people were at the march, making it what we had all hoped for: the largest action on climate, ever. Many well-known individuals attended, including Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ban Ki Moon of the UN, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and African musician Angelique Kidjo. But, as the…

NCCC Eating Well Curriculum is a National Resource


If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at the Council’s curriculum, “Eating Well: For Ourselves, For Our Neighbors, For Our Planet,”  I urge you to do so. You will find food justice interwoven with all of the Council’s areas of work. You will see how eating well affects your body, environment, farmworkers, and even peaceful relations. And you will join the many folks across our nation who are on this journey. If you have participated in “Eating Well” and are looking for other such resources, the organizers of National Food Day have put…

The Right Step At Home—A New Fitness Guide


Forget the yoga mats and fitness tapes, and step your way to health in your home, while using less toxic products. I enjoy the work of Partners in Health and Wholeness and I get excited about how we are connected to all the other programs at the Council. I appreciate even more when we can combine our programs in unique ways. Here is an idea that combines PHW and NCIPL–walking and reducing the toxic materials used in the home. I have always loved walking but love it even more when I walk and multi-task,…