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…

Welcome EdNC to the Conversation

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Education has been of central importance to the NC Council of Churches throughout our history. Part of our opposition to segregation was support for a fully integrated public school system. When it seemed that too many voices of faith were bashing public schools, the Council’s Public Education Committee was created to provide an alternate voice. Public education is probably our society’s greatest equalizer, opening opportunities to people of all backgrounds, incomes, and abilities. Now there’s a new news service to help North Carolinians be better informed about what is going…

Which Christmas Will We Embrace in NC?

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Now that Epiphany is over, we are looking back on Advent and Christmas, and remembering our celebrations — special time with family, special foods or gifts.  An article in the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s winter newsletter entitled “For Which Christmas Are You Preparing” by Rev. Ellie Stock, Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, St. Louis, Missouri, led me to reflect on my warm-fuzzy memories in relation to questions she raises. In terms of the real celebration God wants for Christmas, have I missed the boat?  Rev. Stock describes our three Christmas celebrations: The first is…

So Long, 2014: It Wasn’t all Pretty!

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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…

How Your Church Can Help Prepare for Administrative Relief

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On November 20, President Obama announced that his administration will make changes to immigration policy through an administrative relief program. This will include changing removal priorities, expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, creating a new work permit for parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents, and more. For more information about what these changes will look like go to adminrelief.org where you can find fact sheets, a community education presentation, and a useful webinar. Here are some other ways that your congregation can help to prepare others for the…

Christmas: The Story of a Refugee Child Named Jesus

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Last week, the largest detention center in the United States opened. The 50-acre center, located in Dilley, TX, will hold up to 2,400 migrants who have crossed the border illegally and is especially designed to hold women and children. This week, Christians around the world are engaged in the retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth. What can the Prince of Peace’s birth teach us about the politics of immigration reform? How should we respond to these children at our nation’s border? Jesus tells us that a response to the…

Climate Change and the New NC DENR Chief

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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…

Ten Things I Learned from the 2014 Clergy Breakfasts

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The past two months the NC Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been busy with its annual clergy breakfast series. This year we hosted five events across the state, as far west as Black Mountain and to the east toward Greenville. In total, 87 clergy and congregational leaders participated. I had the pleasure of attending all of the events and wanted to share a few lessons that I learned (or was reminded of) along the way: 1) North Carolina is a big state and each community is different. As I…

Keep the Light Shining on CIA Conduct

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Perhaps you can fight fire with fire, but you can’t – or shouldn’t – attempt to fight terrorism with terror. That’s an ultimate takeaway from the U.S. Senate report detailing abusive interrogations of terror suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA had a heavy responsibility in those dark days after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were desperate to know not only who had carried out the hideous attacks that claimed so many innocent lives but also whether more attacks were being plotted. What’s more, the agency and its overseers…

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…

Environmental Responsibility Knows No Boundaries

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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

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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

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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…

Hope for Our Future: The EPA Clean Power Plan

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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…

Voter Protection Hotline

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We are coming to the end of the time for voting. Early Voting ends this Saturday, November 1. (Check with your local board of elections for the places and hours for Early Voting in your county.) Election Day is Tuesday, November 4. Polls will be open across the state from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Our friends at Democracy NC operate a toll-free Voter Protection Hotline. If you or anyone you know encounters problems with being allowed to vote, call immediately for help. Write down the phone number and take it with you…

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