From Broken Communities to Beloved Communities

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The recent trial of Alamance County Sheriff Andrew Johnson has focused on alleged profiling abuses against Latinos. He is accused of detaining and arresting Latino drivers without probable cause. During the Winston-Salem-based trial, two retired supervising deputies testified that Johnson told officers not to give Latino drivers traffic citations but instead to take them to jail. The charges stem from the 287(g) program, implemented in 2007, which extends limited federal immigration powers to local officials, including performing background checks and beginning deportation procedures. The government revoked that agreement in 2012, and the…

PHW Honors Helen Livingston

PHW -- Helen Livingston

Meet one of our community leaders, Helen Livingston, of Scotland County. I first met Helen through the phone when I started with PHW, and almost instantly we were kindred spirits. She was the reason PHW had our first webinar, and she continues to be a strong asset for the Central South-East Region where I work. She was recently honored by the Scotland County NAACP Youth Council. Because of  the NC Council of Churches’ work with the NCNAACP, and because Helen Livingston is such a strong community leader in Scotland County, I wanted to…

2014 Faith & Health Summit – Register Now!

2014 Faith & Health Summit

Please join the North Carolina Council of Churches at the 2014 Faith and Health Summit, which will be held on Friday, October 10, 2014 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (501 Miller Street). Special thanks to Wake Forest University’s Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative for co-sponsoring the event! The program will run from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with registration starting at 8:30. Arrival snacks and coffee will be provided. The conference theme is “We’re Better Together” and the focus text is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a. Click here to register by Monday September 29. After…

Saving Our Souls

Suffer the Little Children

News about children at the border – what’s happening to them, what politicians believe or say about them, where they are going, what will happen to them — continues and the facts are becoming more sensationalized as politicians seek to push their partisan agendas. No single person, group or party has an answer to the growing problem; however, one article this week in particular really made me think.  Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, wrote an article for “The…

What Would Radical Hospitality at the Border Look Like?

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This past week I have been focusing on the crisis of the thousands of refugee children at the border who are being held in detention centers. I have blogged about praying for these children and sending them letters, and distributed an e-bulletin about ways your congregation can support them. All of these suggestions are centered around showing hospitality to children who have crossed into the United States without their families. My suggestions have included donating money, clothes, writing letters and holding them up in prayer. But what if we were called to do…

Celebrating Our Shared History & Continued Prosperity

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As we head into a long Independence Day weekend, most Americans are anticipating a Friday off from work and a time to spend with their families celebrating the largest secular holiday in the United States. However, as American citizens celebrate their nation through fireworks, parades, and picnics, many would consider the topic of immigration to be “anti-American” during such a patriotic holiday. Yet immigrants and their contributions to the American economy are important to consider as we honor democratic values such as hard work, devotion to family, perseverance and loyalty,…

Reflections on Immigration and the World Cup

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I am admittedly a person who does not care about sports. However, the World Cup is one event that can even make a sports observer as apathetic as myself tune into a game that I wouldn’t normally watch. Such events in which the entire world comes together to battle it out for a world championship brings out a patriotic passion that can make even the most soccer-illiterate people yell at their televisions. The World Cup this year has invoked quite a bit of controversy about cost, safety and corruption; however, I…

Worship Resource for Pentecost: Breaking Down Barriers

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Program Associate Jennie Wilburn has created a worship resource for Pentecost as an opportunity to break down linguistic and cultural barriers through the Holy Spirit. Jennie writes: This collection of worship resources can be used in your congregation on Pentecost Sunday (or any other time) to celebrate the fact that Pentecost is a culturally and nationally diverse moment in time that encourages all Christian churches to be a community of strangers called to become neighbors in the Risen Christ. The resource takes Acts 2:1-18 as its text and includes hymn…

Welcome Jennie Wilburn

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I am delighted to announce that our Governing Board has elected Jennie Wilburn to the position of Program Associate for Immigrant and Farmworker Rights. Jennie is a 2009 cum laude graduate of Rice University with a major in Hispanic studies and sociology. At Rice, she was a recipient of the Barbara Jordan Scholarship, awarded for work that builds bridges between cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. She will be graduating in May with a Master of Divinity from Duke and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. During this dual-degree…

Worship Resources on Immigration

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Date: Easter 3 – May 4, 2014
Topic: Immigration
Focus Text: Luke 24:13-35
The story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, unique to Luke’s Gospel, is central to the evangelist’s message about the resurrection of Jesus and its meaning. It is one of the more unusual stories we hear about encountering Jesus, but it is Luke’s way of conveying that the surprising and the unexpected are to be found in the wake of Jesus’ resurrection. One of the most surprising things, at least for those disciples within the story, is that the stranger they meet on the road turns out to be the risen Christ. At every turn this story is about revealing and discovering Jesus—through scripture, through the breaking of bread, and even through encountering a stranger on the road.

It’s Not a Matter of If

Durham Prayer Vigil for Immigration Reform

Here at the North Carolina Council of Churches, I’ve had the distinct privilege of working alongside immigrant families, faith leaders, lay activists, and immigrant rights organizations across the state in pursuit of humane fixes to our broken immigration system. While my time at the Council is drawing to a close, I know that immigration reform for our country is not a matter of if, it’s when. How long will we let political games take precedence over real human suffering? I believe that in 20 or 30 years issues that seem controversial today – like whether immigrants deserve human rights, due process, and the chance to become a part of society – will be obvious.

Leading and Following

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One thing that was strongly emphasized at Duke Divinity School by my New Testament professor, Dr. C. Kavin Rowe, was that Christian knowledge ultimately consists in discipleship. Knowing Jesus entails following him. And we need others to show us the way. These words crossed my mind today, as my supervisor at the North Carolina Council of Churches, Farmworker Advocacy Network veteran Chris-Liu Beers, celebrated his last day at the Council. An advocate for immigrant justice, farmworker rights, and the dignity of the most vulnerable members of our society, Chris will be dearly…

Second Sunday in Lent: Poverty & Farmworkers

A Time to Mend

I’ll never forget how it felt to serve dinner to this group. About 30 hungry, tired farmworkers arrived back at their camp just as it was getting dark, and they were kind enough to welcome us into their humble space for a shared meal. This group of mostly young men had been busy harvesting sweet potatoes down East. Most were indigenous Mexicans who learned Spanish as a second language, who didn’t know any English.

As we spooned out rice and beans and poured soda from two-liter bottles, I was struck at how rare it is for any of us to meet the people who actually produce and harvest the food we eat. From our history of slavery to our modern industrial context, our society has not really reckoned with the grim reality of those at the bottom of our food chain.

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

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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.

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