How Your Congregation Can Celebrate National Farmworker Awareness Week

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This week – March 24th through 31st – is National Farmworker Awareness Week. This is a time for us to recognize the two to three million men, women and children who perform often dangerous and backbreaking work to ensure our nation’s abundant, low-cost food supply. There are many ways that your congregation can take part, including:  Organize a long-sleeved shirt drive. The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is hosting a national long-sleeve drive to help farmworkers avoid exposure to pesticides. There are ten drop-off locations in North Carolina. Attend a…

Second Edition of “Come to the Table Guidebook” Released

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In 2008, the first “Come to the Table Guidebook” was released. Claire Hermann, Laura Beach, and Chris Liu-Beers of the North Carolina Council of Churches were the contributors. The original “Guidebook” created the framework for the Come to the Table conferences that have been held every two years since. The authors collected stories from across North Carolina about congregations finding innovative ways to relieve hunger and support local food production, highlighting the work of groups making a connection between two vulnerable populations in our state – farmers and food insecure…

A Guide to the Christian Food Movement

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In these opening years of the twenty-first century, the need for a more sustainable food system has increasingly become a focus of our national conversation. As a Christian, sometime in the last decade I began to wonder: How can we re-imagine food systems in a way that more clearly reflects God’s reign? Where are the Christians working for a better food system, and how can I join them? Are there existing Christian food projects that I could replicate or adapt in my context? I lived with these questions for a…

Elon Come to the Table – Inclement Weather Update

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RAFI has posted information on its website about pending weather decisions for the Come to the Table Ecumenical Service on Wednesday evening and all-day conference on Thursday, both in Elon. Please also keep an eye on our website for updates about the conference and service. Whether to proceed with the worship service will be decided by noon on Wednesday in accordance with the host church, and the conference will be decided by Wednesday at 10 p.m. We hope that these events will be able to proceed but we also recognize the…

Supporting Workers – Proper 17

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Discipleship is about what we do with our feet. The metaphor of feet is a rich one indeed. One of the powerful images of Scripture is that of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13). To be sure, the washing of feet was a sign of welcome and hospitality. It was in like manner an act of humility. It was also an act and a model of service.

How can we as people of faith support those who are quite literally on their feet all day at low paying jobs without health insurance and other benefits of life?

Showing Love to Workers this Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day marks one of the biggest shopping days of the year, especially when it comes to chocolate and flowers. But did you know that often your tokens of affection are supporting pesticides, child slavery and farmworker exploitation? The Bible calls for us not only to love our neighbor, but also to show concern for the vulnerable and neglected. Learn more about the products you are buying and what you can do to show your love of neighbor and care for creation by supporting fair labor practices this February 14th….

NC Bread for the World Conference, March 28

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When you think of hunger in our state — where one in four children lives in a food insecure family — we wonder what Jesus would have us do to “give them something to eat.” Many of us church folks contribute to food pantries, soup kitchens, and programs that feed the hungry, but the problem remains staggering. These charities, good and needed as they are, cannot eliminate hunger alone. Structural changes in our society will also be required to “give them something to eat.” Bread for the World (BFW) is a national organization…

Giving Thanks for Christmas Trees

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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

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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…

Council Post-Election Road Shows to Charlotte and Asheville

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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…

The Bounty of Fall: The Wisdom of Seasonal Eating

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The slight nip in the air during the early morning hours as I make my way to an 8:00 am class tells me that summer is over. Fresh strawberries, abundant cucumbers and zucchinis are giving way to pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, cabbage, kale, crisp apples, and luscious pears. The golds, reds and oranges that color the world, and my yard, tell me that it’s time for our family to make our yearly trip to our favorite apple orchard. With the changing of the season, each member of my family…

Clergy Breakfasts Kick Off with Sermons, Stories and Questions

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For the past two weeks, the NC Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been on the road for its annual clergy breakfast series on immigration. These breakfasts are designed to encourage conversations about immigration and how churches can play a role in welcoming immigrants within their communities. The format of the breakfasts are relatively simple: clergy share a meal together and have time to network; speakers present topics related to what the Bible says about immigration and also what challenges immigrants in that particular community are facing; then there…

NCCC Eating Well Curriculum is a National Resource

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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…

American Eating Habits

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A 12-year study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that Americans improved their eating habits slightly over the years, but that was not the case for America’s poor. Harvard assigned individuals different scores based on their food choices, creating a healthy diet index. A perfect score was 110 and reflected a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. U.S. adults who took part in the study averaged about 40 points from 1999-2000, improving their score by 7 points from 2009-10. However, the scores…

Observing the Labor Sabbath This Weekend

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As Labor Day weekend quickly approaches, many people are thinking about beaches and barbeques. Amy Laura Hall, however, wants people to be thinking about something different: labor unions. Hall, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is calling for congregations to observe a Labor Sabbath this Friday, Saturday or Sunday prior to Labor Day, during which time the words “labor union” are to be mentioned in a sermon, song or prayer. The effort stems from a similar endeavor by Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, which invited clergy to speak about unions from the pulpit….