Senate Budget, Fracking Roar Through


Say this much for the leaders of the North Carolina Senate and House: When they make up their minds on a course of action, they don’t mess around. The General Assembly was in only the second full week of its 2014 session. But already the Senate, marching quick-time to the cadence set by President Pro Tem Phil Berger, Republican of Eden, was passing its version of a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It’s a budget that significantly raises the stakes in the debate over teacher pay,…

We Drew a Line in the Sand


On Saturday, May 17, at noon, about 30 people gathered at the Atlantic Beach/Fort Macon Swimming Beach for the nation-wide “Hands Across the Sand Demonstration” to promote clean energy and protest offshore oil drilling. The following organizations were represented: NC Interfaith Power and Light, Croatan Group of the NC Sierra Club, the Surfriders Association and the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship Green Sanctuary Committee. The post We Drew a Line in the Sand appeared first on North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light.

Fracking and “Reform”: Senate’s Shaky Start


The North Carolina Senate could have gotten its 2014 session under way with a show of resolve to repair some of the damage from last year’s debacle. Just as one friendly suggestion: Senators could have reversed course and moved at the outset to expand the state’s Medicaid program, utilizing the available federal funds, so that an estimated 319,000 lower-income residents would have a better chance to obtain health care when they need it without going to a hospital emergency room. But guess again. The Senate’s first significant items of business had…

Tax Cuts’ Sour Notes


If a session of the NC General Assembly can be compared to an opera — comedy, farce or tragedy yet to be determined – then the governor’s recommended budget might amount to the overture. It introduces main themes and sets a mood. But there’s no guarantee that the governor and the legislators who are the opera’s singers will end up making music together. As the 2014 legislative session gets under way in Raleigh, the overture is finished and the curtain is rising to reveal a bevy of performers. As usual,…

Buckle Up – Here Comes the Legislature

Photo by Flickr member yashmori

The motto of North Carolina’s General Assembly during the past few years could well have been something like “Never a dull moment!” That’s especially been the case as the economy has muddled through various slumps, none so damaging as the Great Recession from which the state and nation still feel aftershocks in the job market. Setting state budget priorities, which for the legislature amounts to Job No. 1, is never more difficult than when the economy tanks. A scandal here and there – a Democratic House speaker went to prison…

To All Who Love God’s Creation and Hope for the Future

Fresh Air

As we enter Easter Season, the time when Christians celebrate the greatest mystery of our faith, we find ourselves poised to meet the greatest challenge in humanity’s history. Climate change is here, it is real and it is progressing. As a species, we have failed to respond to the prophetic voices of our scientists and can no longer prevent very serious and frightening consequences of our over-consumption of our planet home. Easter Season for Christians is the time between Easter Sunday and Pentecost during which we find renewal in the promise…

PHW Community Hero: Helen Livingston of Scotland County

Helen Livingston

Meet one of our community leaders: Helen Livingston of Scotland County. I was able to get her to tell us a bit about herself and her community involvement. Joy: Ms. Helen, could you tell us a bit of a bio of your life and ways that you have contributed to the community? Helen: I grew up in Laurinburg, both sides of my family having been in the area for generations. My parents instilled in me a love of nature, and I appreciate the clean air and water that are so valuable in…

A Chance to Enjoy God’s Creation

Bike with basket

Last week Rev. Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power & Light, simply asked: “Do you remember what it was like to be a child and play in the great outdoors?” This question came in her response to the release of the first comprehensive report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2007. The report warned us again of the devastating impacts of climate change, from increased public health risks, to threatened food and water supply, and worsening extreme weather events. Rev. Bingham shared her memories of listening to…

Healthy North Carolina 2020: Are We Gaining or Losing Ground?


Healthy North Carolina 2020 is a health improvement plan for our state. It addresses a wide range of issues that impact our health, such as tobacco use, physical activity and nutrition, mental health, and injury and violence. Optimal goals have been established in each of these areas, with a 2020 deadline for achieving them. So where does North Carolina currently stand? Out of the 40 original health goals, we’ve achieved 3 of them, 13 have improved but are not at the set target, 21 have gotten worse, 2 were not…

Fifth Sunday in Lent: Poverty & Creation

A Time to Mend

In recognition of our faithful call and of this time in history, the Council’s annual Lenten guide focuses on poverty and the ways we can respond to our sisters and brothers of low-income. We hope you and your family will find cause for reflection and inspiration for action as you share this intergenerational resource together. May we continue building as a nation toward a place where God’s love is felt by everyone through the meeting of basic human needs and the extension of true opportunities for progress. Click here to…

Out of the Ashes – Creation Care?


Living in harmony with the world of nature has never been all that simple for us humans. One could say that the reported misadventures of a couple of folks named Adam and Eve, who had it made until they were laid low by pride, showed as much from the get-go. Our species unquestionably has a privileged status, but if we let that go to our heads, we’re asking for trouble. We have the intelligence and the power to take advantage of nature’s bounty for our own purposes – food, clothing,…

Climate Activists Must Heed the Lessons of North Carolina


Joe Wainio begins his wonderful article on TruthOut, Climate change activists should look to North Carolina for lessons on how to build a broad and diverse movement powerful enough to challenge the corrupt status quo on several fronts. Single-issue organizing won’t do. To make a difference in our current political climate takes massive numbers of people, and so far the environmental movement has not drawn the numbers and diversity needed. In the article, he captures what we have been building in our North Carolina “Forward Together Movement.” He concludes, That’s…

Allowing Access to Church Facilities to Promote Physical Activity: Free Webinar

Gevetta Lawrence_2

Partners in Health and Wholeness recently teamed up with the NC Division of Public Health, Faithful Families and Voices into Action to assess what is currently happening around shared use agreements in faith communities across the state and to identify opportunities for growth. Please join us on Friday, March 28 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. to learn how your congregation can provide increased opportunities for physical activity in your local community by allowing outside groups and/or individuals to use your facilities. The webinar will cover the following topics: The importance…

April Event Celebrates Legacy of Lex Mathews


The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is sponsoring a “Day of Diocesan Story-Telling and Celebration,” focusing on Lex Mathews’ time as Director of Christian Social Ministries from 1975 until 1985. Longtime activists with the NC Council of Churches will remember Lex’s many involvements with the Council. I’m proud to say that he and I were unindicted co-conspirators on several adventures, though it was all before I was with the Council. I came to NC in 1978 to work in the social justice office of the Baptist State Convention and, pretty…

Gardening With a Purpose

Butternut on the vine

Recently, I received a notice from a local community garden organizer about a grant opportunity sponsored by a fertilizer company. I shared it with my e-mail group and found one response, in particular, intriguing. Within this email, a local community leader expressed the importance of gardens, eating healthy, and making healthy local food accessible to the community, while being environmentally responsible. She continued to express the importance of our actions lining up with our values. She concluded that corporate sponsorship of funding for community gardens brought up questions of justice…


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