Faith Communities Cannot Do It All

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Many of you listen to Marketplace, a business-news program produced by American Public Media and carried in North Carolina by WUNC radio. Monday night, Marketplace carried a very good, though brief, report on Moral Mondays, taking the word of North Carolina’s protest movement to a national audience. Council Communications Director Aleta Payne and I met last Sunday for an hour with Marketplace reporter Noel King and producer John Ketchum. Noel is from a Catholic background; John is out of an African-American Methodist tradition. Both showed a real understanding of the…

Faith Leaders Voice Support for Moral Mondays

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Faith leaders from across the state and from different traditions continue to speak out in support of Moral Mondays, the weekly NC NAACP-led demonstrations in Raleigh. Within days of each other, the heads of Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Methodist judicatories in North Carolina and seven Jewish leaders in the Triangle issued statements of support based on their religious convictions. The first letter read in part: The Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Seminary (Charlotte) recently summarized the effect of pending and enacted legislation especially on the poor,…

Call to Mobilize 1,000 Clergy

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A group of clergy members is working to mobilize 1,000 of their colleagues to gather at Raleigh’s Bicentennial Mall on Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m. and raise their voices against many of the policies of the North Carolina legislature. The group does not plan on entering the Legislative Building or on being arrested, but they want to send the message that they oppose policies that injure the most vulnerable among us. The effort is supportive of the NC NAACP’s ongoing Moral Mondays. Rev. Jimmie Hawkins of Covenant Presbyterian Church…

PHW Success Story – Islamic Association of Raleigh

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The Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR) is blessed to have a kitchen/restaurant facility which serves the entire community on different occasions. There is also the community’s school garden that is taken care of and well-groomed by the students, parents, teachers and staff of Al Iman School, which is one of the schools situated in the IAR complex. There is the weekly Friday sale of fruits and vegetables to its members. The IAR has a multi-purpose gymnasium that serves a few purposes such as basketball for the youth and adult males,…

Moral Mondays – Clergy Issued Special Invitation for May 20

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As many of you already know, Rev. William Barber and the state NAACP are organizing weekly protests at the General Assembly, voicing opposition to the direction our state is being taken during this legislative session (that direction being backwards). These protests include, for those who choose to take part, nonviolent civil disobedience and arrest. In the last three weeks, nearly a hundred people have been arrested. The call has also been for supporters, people who choose not to take part in civil disobedience but who are supportive of those who…

New Videos: Legislative Seminar Awards

Gene Nichol receives the Faith Active in Public Life Award

A leader against economic injustice and two longtime advocates on the Council’s board have received the North Carolina Council of Churches’ highest honors.

Gene Nichol received the Faith Active in Public Life Award. Barbara Volk and Sydnor Thompson II were recognized with Distinguished Service awards. All three were presented at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar which took place April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh.

Execution Foes at Legislature

Free lectionary materials - Public Accountability

A misguided push in the General Assembly to get capital punishment back on track is generating a well-deserved pushback. People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, a group that for years has helped focus the case against executions, is bringing religious leaders to the Legislative Building as the debate again heats up. PFADP got its start as a program of the Council; we strongly support its stance and encourage legislators to listen with open minds and hearts. North Carolina has not put anyone to death since 2006. In the meantime,…

Preparing the Way: Blessed are the Peacemakers

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Jesus was a peacemaking, blessed child of God, but he also was an “other.” Reviled and persecuted, he was the paperless son of displaced immigrant parents. The prophetic iconoclast. That guy who hung out with those people, the type most modern leaders would not associate with, except for a photo opportunity at a Thanksgiving Day soup kitchen. Let us remember on Sunday when we celebrate his resurrection, that Jesus was crucified because he was an outsider whose way of doing things scared and angered the powers-that-be.

National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath — March 15-17

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If ending gun violence were easy, nightmares like Sandy Hook would never happen. Young lives would not end on urban streets in a hail of bullets. We wouldn’t need to parse the difference between automatic and semi-automatic. Just as taking away guns does not inherently make us safe from harm, we need to move beyond the lie that minimal regulation of those guns makes us any safer either. Some leaders in North Carolina seem more threatened by a topless woman than a limitless arsenal. Sometimes in our fight to be right we seem…

Resources for Voting Rights Sunday

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As you probably know, the Voting Rights Act is being challenged in the US Supreme Court, and General Assembly leaders in Raleigh are renewing their push to pass laws that will make voting harder, especially for African Americans, seniors who no longer drive, people who don’t own a car, and other low-income voters. These legislators would create a new barrier for voters by requiring them to show a current driver’s license or other government photo ID. They also want to cut a week off of Early Voting, stop counties from…

Bulletin Insert from PFADP

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Our friends at People of Faith Against the Death Penalty have provided a bulletin insert for churches interested in helping work to repeal the death penalty. PFADP, which began as a program of the Council, has been a leader in this movement. There has not been an execution in North Carolina since 2006, and leadership by organizations like People of Faith has been instrumental. Now, with efforts to repeal the Racial Justice Act underway, it is more important than ever for those committed to a progressive vision of social justice to…

Lectionary: Celebrating Abrahamic Faiths (4th Sunday in Lent)

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From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic Worship

Date: 4th Sunday in Lent – March 10, 2013

Topic: Celebrating Abrahamic Faiths

Focus Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

From the pastoral reflection: “Nadia dramatically called us into the reality of her life and away from our being disengaged onlookers. Angrily, she described the early morning hours onslaught as she, her husband, and three little children huddled on their bedroom floor, bullets ricocheting around the room for half an hour. They assumed they would die in the hail of gunfire. But surviving the experience, the family began cleaning up their devastated home and quickly recognized the telltale imprint of American military hardware: spent shells that they knew came from American-made equipment.”

Lent and Getting Back to Basics

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The 40 days of Lent are a wonderful time for Christians to explore deeply our relationship with God and God’s creation. Everything we need to survive and thrive is on this planet, this blessed and beautiful gift, yet it is in peril because we have collectively forgotten to be grateful and to honor and care for our Earth home. Lent is an opportunity to become increasingly aware of the impacts our decisions have on the Earth and the magnificent and fragile systems that sustain us. It is a time when…

Interfaith Call-In Day to Prevent Gun Violence Feb. 4

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Gun violence has long been an issue of concern for the North Carolina Council of Churches. Every injury endured and life lost, whether on a downtown street corner or in a suburban classroom, runs directly counter to message of the Prince of Peace. As Council leaders said in their 1998 policy statement on Children and Gun Violence, “The spirit of Christ is sharply opposed to the spirit of violence and the instruments of violence.” People of faith who wish to add their voices to the current national debate are encouraged to…

Lectionary on Gun Violence

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The horror of what has occurred in Connecticut is unimaginable, and the days ahead will be a test for all of us. The Council’s resources include a lectionary on gun violence which might prove helpful to people of faith going forward. While this resource cannot possibly explain how something like this happens, it provides a Biblically and statistically based starting point for thoughtful discussion and reflection. Let us keep all those affected by this overwhelming tragedy in our prayers even as we decide as a nation how to guard against…

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