Register for 2015 Legislative Seminar


Join us on April 14 at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary for the Council’s 2015 Legislative Seminar. Held every two years, the Seminar equips people of faith with the information they need to be advocates on issues before the NC General Assembly. Registration is below, and workshop sign-ups will be available soon. Register now, and we’ll contact you for your workshop choices. The cost is $15 for students, $25 for all others, and that includes arrival snacks and a boxed lunch by the Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Catering with a Cause.  Check-in begins…

Showing Love to Workers this Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day marks one of the biggest shopping days of the year, especially when it comes to chocolate and flowers. But did you know that often your tokens of affection are supporting pesticides, child slavery and farmworker exploitation? The Bible calls for us not only to love our neighbor, but also to show concern for the vulnerable and neglected. Learn more about the products you are buying and what you can do to show your love of neighbor and care for creation by supporting fair labor practices this February 14th….

Two Former NCCC Presidents Among Faith Leaders Meeting with US Labor Secretary


On September 16, two former NC Council of Churches President were among a select group of 13 religious leaders who met with US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to discuss how faith groups and the administration can work together to protect workers and provide greater economic opportunity for all. Stan Kimer, the Council’s Immediate Past President, represented the NCCC, and the Rev. Sékinah Hamlin, Council President from 2007-2009, was there on behalf of her current organization, the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative.  Read Stan’s recently published blog for details and photos.

Observing the Labor Sabbath This Weekend

Immigrant farmworkers picking sweet potato

As Labor Day weekend quickly approaches, many people are thinking about beaches and barbeques. Amy Laura Hall, however, wants people to be thinking about something different: labor unions. Hall, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is calling for congregations to observe a Labor Sabbath this Friday, Saturday or Sunday prior to Labor Day, during which time the words “labor union” are to be mentioned in a sermon, song or prayer. The effort stems from a similar endeavor by Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, which invited clergy to speak about unions from the pulpit….

Workers and Justice — A Call to All People of Faith

Extravagant Generosity

“There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American whether he [or she] is a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid, or day laborer.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor Day Sunday this year is August 31 — a day to remember all who labor with special thoughts for those who labor for less than living wages. These include fast food workers, farmworkers, hotel industry workers, caregiving workers in homes, hospitals, and nursing homes, associates  and clerks in our stores,…

The Ag Act: Congress Considers Turning Back the Clock to the Bracero Program

Photo by APT

Somewhat lost this summer amidst all the conversation about comprehensive immigration reform is a little-known bill called the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” (or “Ag Act,” HB 1773) that has already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. This harmful bill is a thinly veiled attempt to strip farmworkers of the few rights they have on the job while propping up agribusinesses’ bottom line.

The Liberal Protest that Would Shock the Right: Moral Monday

Photo by Michael Burns


Every week prayers and gospel songs infuse the air and participants offer blessings to the latest batch of 100 or so activists entering the Raleigh General Assembly building to commit civil disobedience. If you’re not from here, it may all seem a little counter-intuitive: A movement for inclusive and just secular governance that is deeply inflected with Christian ethics and arguments.

The Nation is Watching NC and Moral Mondays


The impact of Moral Mondays continues to extend beyond North Carolina. Two recent articles and an editorial in “The New York Times” are reaching a national audience. One of the articles is by Peter Carman, pastor of Binkley Baptist Church, a Council member congregation. Alliance of Baptists: ‘Not One Step Back': Moral Mondays in Raleigh, N.C. Sojourners: Moral Mondays The New York Times: The Decline of North Carolina Moral Mondays are scheduled to continue on July 15. –Aleta Payne, Development and Communicaitons

Moral Mondays Reverberate Across the Country

Burns MM 05

I finally had the chance to go my first Moral Monday earlier this week. Walking around Halifax Mall with our Executive Director, George Reed, I was struck by how many people we both knew. I’m deeply proud of the involvement by clergy and faith communities in particular. So many of our members are represented not only in the crowd but also in the faces of those participating in civil disobedience and getting arrested. As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we give thanks not only for the many freedoms our country offers, but in particular for the countless faithful voices speaking up and speaking out for those who are being pushed to the margins by this General Assembly.

Farmworkers Address Reynolds American: Do More to Protect Workers


Last week, members of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) joined allies and activists from across the state in protesting Reynolds American Inc.’s treatment of farmworkers. Last year, Reynolds earned $1.3 billion in profits, but the company has hesitated to take proactive steps in guaranteeing good housing and fair pay to the workers at the very heart of its supply chain. Here at the NC Council of Churches, we have long supported farmworkers’ rights to living wages and dignity on the job. No one should have to work in slave-like conditions to provide for their family. Corporations should take responsibility for their supply chains, and the people whose labor makes possible their profits.

Gene Nichol: It’s Better Not to Be Poor in North Carolina

Gene Nichol (L) receives the Faith Active in Public Life Award from Rev. George Reed

Speaking to 200 social justice advocates, Gene Nichol delivered a powerful luncheon address at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar held April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. He received the Council’s Faith Active in Public Life Award at the Seminar for his “courageous, dedicated, humane and compassionate witness in the political arena.” Rev. George Reed, the Council’s Executive Director, introduced Nichol by saying in part, “To know Gene is to see the embodiment of Catholic social teaching about social justice and the common good.”

Program and Registration for 2013 Legislative Seminar

NC General Assembly building in Raleigh

If you are interested in attending, but have not pre-registered, you may call our office at 919-828-6501 on Tuesday, April 9 until 5:00 p.m. Gene Nichol, Director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the UNC-CH School of Law will be the lunch speaker at this year’s Legislative Seminar.The day’s topic for Nichol, who is also the school’s Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor, is “It’s Better Not to Be Poor in NC.” The seminar takes place Thursday, April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh….

Confronting Poverty – Epiphany 6

Overview – Confronting Poverty Focus Text: Luke 6:17-26 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Pastoral Reflection by Jocleen McCall, Religion Instructor, Johnston Community College, Smithfield Luke, however, presents us with a problem. “Blessed are you who are poor.” “Blessed are you who hunger now.” “Blessed are you who weep now.” “Blessed are…

Worker Justice Leader in the Triangle This Week


Kim Bobo, a religious and workers’ rights activist and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, will meet with other faith and worker rights activists in the Triangle this week to highlight worker-justice issues.  She is a highly regarded expert in her area of work and is the author of “Wage Theft in America.”  In his review of the book, “New York Times” reporter Steven Greenhouse said, “Kim Bobo shines a bright light on this often invisible, alarming phenomenon: the way thousands of employers across the nation systematically cheat their workers out of…

Harvest of Dignity Film and Study Guide Now Available

Download the Harvest of Dignity Study Guide

It’s been 50 years since Edward R. Murrow’s landmark documentary Harvest of Shame that examined the lives of farmworkers. How much has changed since then? And how much remains the same? Here is a look at the lives of farmworkers in North Carolina today. We worked with the Farmworker Advocacy Network to create an original study guide that accompanies Harvest of Dignity. Click here to download the study guide for free. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction: Farmworkers feed the world. Farm and poultry work is some of the most difficult,…