Standin’ in the Need of Prayer

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Raleigh’s Martin Street Baptist Church (historically African-American) and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church (historically white) have a partnership that has extended over more than two decades. It grew out of the personal friendship of former pastors David Forbes and Mahan Siler. Both of them, by the way, have been leaders in the Council over the years, with David preaching at this year’s Legislative Seminar. A call went out on Saturday from Nancy Petty, Pullen’s current pastor, for Pullen folk to go to services at Martin Street on Sunday as a way “to stand in…

Scrutiny for Gun Laws, Post-Charleston

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Their timing, as it turned out, was less than impeccable. The gun-rights boosters who are pushing N.C. House Bill 562 ran up against some common-sense objections that resulted in two main elements being stripped from the bill. But more than that, later on the very evening when the bill gained final House passage, the folly of lax firearms regulation was once again illuminated by the monstrous events in Charleston, S.C., where the devil’s brew of guns and racial hatred claimed nine lives. The fate of nine respected and beloved citizens who…

Statement on the Shootings in Charleston

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With people across the world, the North Carolina Council of Churches grieves with the congregation of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. This kind of violence against people of faith in other parts of the world has recently and rightfully been called terrorism. Indeed, the people of Emanuel AME have experienced a terrorist act. Fear and violence invaded their space of grace and hospitality while they were together for the faith filled purpose of prayer and worship. As they welcomed the stranger into their midst, an act of…

Veto Overriders Flex Their Muscles

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North Carolina’s General Assembly has muddled through many undistinguished moments since conservative Republicans took charge four years ago. Now, with an ongoing cascade of wrongheaded decisions, it’s adding to that disappointing and even destructive list. Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican but one who wants to be seen as more of a moderate, relatively speaking, tried to save lawmakers from themselves by issuing two high-profile vetoes. The result? In one case, House and Senate members dismissed his concerns as if he’d been – gasp – a Democrat. They overrode McCrory’s…

At the Legislature, a Fateful Crossing

Photo by Flickr member yashmori

With its self-imposed April 30 “crossover” deadline, the General Assembly can sidetrack bills that haven’t gained enough support to make them worth fussing with during the remainder of the legislative session. A bill that makes the deadline by gaining approval in either the state House or Senate stays alive – for better, or as happens too often these days with Republican conservatives in charge, for worse. So, with the crossover dust now settling, North Carolinians have a clearer sense of what this year’s legislative damage toll might include. Some lowlights:…

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

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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…

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.  

Tragic Combination: Guns and Mental Illness

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Let’s hope this isn’t the case, but recent history suggests that President Obama is not done with a duty that surely is among the most difficult and heart-wrenching aspects of his job. When groups of innocent Americans are gunned down in the all-too-familiar pattern we refer to as mass shootings, the president – whether Obama or anyone else – steps forward as a national mourner-in-chief. The scene played out again on Sept. 22, when Obama spoke at ceremonies honoring the 12 men and women slain days earlier by a gunman…

Worship Resources on Gun Violence

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Date: Proper 26 – Nov. 3, 2013
Topic: Gun Violence
Focus Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
What poverty of spirit causes Americans to so glorify their guns – in movies, on television, in video games, on the streets of our neighborhoods and in the halls of Congress? Where are the prophets who will condemn the religion of the second amendment which preaches a sacred right to own any and all kinds of firearms? Why are people of faith and conscience not protecting the sacred trust of children’s lives as vehemently as Congress protects the gun lobby? It is time for pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams to speak out against the blasphemy of gun violence.

Call Legislative Leaders About Gun Measures

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We will never know if George Zimmerman would ever have gotten out of his car if he hadn’t had a gun. We do know that countless children of God have died in the last year alone because of gun violence. More guns and easier access to them do not inherently make us safer. Gail Neely with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence has put out an urgent call for folks to contact members of the NC House today before noon to ask for support to repeal Stand Your Ground and support…

Arizona-like Immigration Bill Introduced: Raleigh Report, May 3, 2013

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House Bills Senate Bills Notable Quotes Arizona-like Immigration Bill Introduced In the wake of failed attempts by Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, states and localities have increased their own efforts to enforce current immigration laws and to implement new programs designed to reduce immigration. Many of these efforts have created a more hostile environment toward immigrants, with people – both documented and undocumented – living in fear of harassment, arrest and possible deportation. To read more about the Council’s work on immigration issues, click here. To read our statements…

NC Council of Churches Supports National Groups to Assist the Less Fortunate

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In keeping with its mission of supporting peace, unity and social justice, the Council recently has signed on to three letters involving issues being addressed at the federal level. We have spoken out for a faithful budget, for preserving low-income tax credits, and for gun violence prevention and school safety. The call for a faithful FY 2014 budget demonstrates how federal budget choices can and must reflect America’s shared values. A prominent coalition of major national religious organizations and leaders support it as an expression of the faith community’s priorities…