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

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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

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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.

Video: Immigrant Church Feeds Families in Need

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Here’s an immigrant congregation in Durham that is giving back to the community and making a real difference. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be the church together. Do you know any immigrant churches in your neighborhood? How are they fostering community?

This video was produced by Uniting NC, a great organization working to make North Carolina a place in which all people, including immigrants, have the opportunity to thrive and to engage in their communities.

A New Adventure

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Dear Friends,

I will be leaving the NC Council of Churches at the end of March to focus full-time on Tomatillo Design, my new communications shop that works with nonprofits to create amazing, affordable websites.

Since I began working at the Council as an intern in the summer of 2006, I’ve had the incredible privilege of working with the most dedicated, talented and likable group of coworkers imaginable. From its founding more than 75 years ago to today, the Council has worked on a wide range of progressive causes and I’m proud to be a small part of that legacy. Every day at the office I felt encouraged by the witness of recent saints like Sister Evelyn Mattern and Collins Kilburn.

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…

Clergy Breakfast on Immigration – Charlotte

This year, the NC Council of Churches is continuing its successful statewide series of “Clergy Breakfasts” on immigration. These events are geared towards busy religious professionals and faith leaders, and they provide an overview of immigration issues in the context of a great networking event (and free breakfast!). To date, more than 600 NC clergy and faith leaders have participated in this series. Click here to download the event flyer. Draft Agenda: – 8:30-8:45 Food & Greetings – 8:45-9:15 Updates on Immigration, including legislation and local issues – 9:15-9:45 Discussion of ways to get…