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…

Will your Church be a Voice to Expand Medicaid for NC?

Heart Health

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. –Martin Luther King, Jr. As many of you know, the 2013 NC legislature declined to accept medicaid expansion for 500,000 North Carolinians. It is estimated that this denial of health insurance for the poorest among us will result in more than 2,000 deaths each year in our state. The prophet Amos reminds us that God does not care about…

Lutherans Sponsor Conference to Ponder Justice and Faith


When the line to check in at a church-sponsored conference on a beautiful Saturday morning in April stretches out the door, it’s a sign that the event has generated an impressive level of buzz. For the North Carolina Lutherans, their faith partners and other friends who turned out in strength on April 12, those more predictable Saturday pursuits of grass-mowing, grocery shopping and golf would just have to wait. The event at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh had an ambitious theme: “Navigating Public Policy Issues Guided by a Moral…

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…

ACA Update: Numbers, Enrollment Periods, and Exemptions


As open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace comes to a close, so does my internship at the NC Council of Churches. In less than two weeks, I will complete my classes and move on to awaiting graduation. Before I take my leave, I want to express what a pleasure it has been to work at the Council, especially in doing outreach for health insurance enrollment, and to share some important information about enrollment in Marketplace health insurance plans during the months before the next open enrollment period begins. Latest Enrollment…

April is National Minority Health Month

Velma White_56

Differences in health currently exist between minorities and non-Hispanic whites in the U.S., with people of color suffering disproportionately from chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. During the month of April, your congregation is invited to commemorate National Minority Health Month by hosting events and working to improve the health of all God’s children, regardless of race. As noted in a recently released statement by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the health gap in our country is persistent but there are glimmers…

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…

New Health Resource Focuses on Early Childhood Brain Development


The brain, one of the only organs not fully developed at birth, experiences 90% of its development before age eight. The 2000 days between birth and the start of kindergarten is the focus of a new resource, released by The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, for congregations that would like to help each child to reach his or her full potential. The Faith Community and Early Childhood: Engaging Your Congregation is a downloadable report containing ideas for actions that places of worship can take to promote childhood health. “Children’s earliest…

Grace Period Allows You to Complete Health Insurance Enrollment


According to Enroll America, If you attempted to enroll before the deadline for open enrollment on March 31, but you could not do so in spite of your best efforts, you will be allowed to complete your enrollment during the first weeks of April. The exact length of the grace period is not yet clear, so we recommend that you act as early in April as possible. There has also been a new category, called Complex Cases, added to the list of what qualifies for a special enrollment period after…

“Thank God for Health Insurance”


The end of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, March 31, is only days away. Although the past five months have been full of their share of challenges, stories of triumph have emerged. The ACA was, in part, written into law to expand coverage to people who had not had access to health insurance before or who found it too expensive. The story below tells of a couple who experienced both of those barriers and is now happily covered by an affordable, comprehensive health plan. In order to protect the privacy of…

Open Enrollment Ends March 31


As the end of open enrollment on March 31 approaches, little time remains to take advantage of advanced premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies on Healthcare.gov. You have 10 days left to purchase health insurance that is both more affordable and comprehensive while also avoiding the penalty for not having health insurance. Remember, ACA-compliant health plans cannot turn you away for a pre-existing condition, and they must cover 10 essential health benefits, including doctor’s visits and outpatient care, emergency services, maternity care, mental health care, habilitative services, preventive care, prescription…

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Collaborative

Recent, widely disseminated news reports claim that the benefits of breastfeeding have been drastically overstated. This is a startling assertion. It contradicts prolific and long-standing research that has formed the foundation for pro-breastfeeding policies and recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Institutes of Medicine, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, and many, many more organizations concerned about the health of our children. What is behind these news reports? A study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine compared…

Last Call for Open Enrollment


“We’ve only got a few weeks left. March 31st, that’s the last call.” President Obama made this statement recently to a group of his supporters, and he’s referring to the approaching end of open enrollment for health insurance on the Marketplace. After March 31, individuals who remain uninsured will be charged a penalty unless they qualify for an exemption. Until the next open enrollment period in the fall, only people who have reason for a special enrollment period will be able to sign up on the Marketplace. Those who enroll…

A Time to Mend: A Social Justice Study for Lent

A Time to Mend

Economic circumstances too often define us. How much we do or do not earn can put us on a path that either buffers our failures or tempers our successes. The people who make the least amount of money have the fewest opportunities to succeed, no matter how much they work or how hard they study.

For Christians, the biblical calls to justice and to providing for the least of these are foundations of our faith. At the same time, we as a nation mark this year the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. Under different circumstances we might celebrate the milestone, but there is still too much to be done.

Photos from HKonJ 2014


p1010651 ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 79 The Council helped organize a Service of Repentance and Consecration in front of the General Assembly Building prior to the Moral March and HKonJ People’s Assembly held earlier this month in Raleigh. The photos above were taken throughout the day as Council friends, volunteers and staff came together with people from throughout North Carolina and the nation.