Warning Signs in Budget ‘Deal’

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UPDATE: After this blog was posted, the final budget was unveiled and passed by the House and Senate. The large reductions in Medicaid reimbursement rates mentioned in the blog below did not materialize. The approach of an agreement to keep North Carolina state government operating with a balanced budget, as required under the state constitution, usually brings at least a sigh of relief. Budgets seldom are approved without plenty of give and take — honest disagreements over spending priorities and how to raise the money. Settling such conflicts in line…

Health Crunch for the Vulnerable

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For most North Carolinians, the myriad choices that comprise the state budget may affect the quality of their children’s education, or whether their favorite state park is kept in good shape, or whether the DMV has enough employees to keep wait times to a minimum. Then there are our neighbors for whom budget decisions can bear directly on their personal well-being. Case in point: people who, if the state Senate has its way, would lose their health insurance coverage under Medicaid. And it’s not as if this group of people…

Worship Resources on Awareness of Those with Disabilities

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Date: 4th Sunday in Lent – March 30, 2014
Topic: Awareness of Those with Disabilities
Focus Text: John 9:1-41
Jesus’ concrete actions in response to the man’s situation call into question not only the self-righteous judgment of the religious leaders, but also the comfortable distance maintained by the disciples. When they encounter this man in the city, they see it as an opportunity for theological reflection. But Jesus changes the nature of the conversation altogether. The disciples want to speculate; Jesus decides to act – to welcome the man as a person and a child of God, to offer those unique gifts that he has been given to heal the man’s suffering, that the glory of God might be revealed.

Shutdown Scenario: The Hunger Brink

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The political stakes and motives are plain to see. President Obama and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill are locked in a desperate struggle with the Republicans who control the U.S. House. Neither side wants to be painted as villains in the sorry saga of the partial federal government shutdown, or even worse, in any default on U.S. government debt. Each wants to take credit for whatever solution to the impasse finally emerges. At the same time, while hoping to spin the situation to their political advantage – or to…

The Nation is Watching NC and Moral Mondays

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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

Faith Leaders for a Just Society in Asheville

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Faith leaders in Asheville are adding their voices to those outraged by the actions of NC legislators. Rev. Joe Hoffman, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ and an NC Council of Churches board member, is joining his colleagues as well as those from the non-profit community there for a press conference on Monday, May 20. Anyone interested in participating can contact him at revjoehof@uccasheville.org or on his cell at 828-777-8729. In addition, he has asked Asheville faith leaders to include the following in their bulletins and other communications…

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.

Affordable Care Act’s Third Anniversary — A Reason to Celebrate

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On March 23, the Affordable Care Act celebrated its third anniversary. The North Carolina Council of Churches has long supported universal health care, and we remain committed to that goal and to celebrating the progress made through ACA. Our friends at Faithful Reform in Health Care have offered a number of ways to recognize this important achievement, and we’ve included them below. Here’s a suggestion for your gift in support of Obamacare:  Contact your members of Congress, your state legislators, and your Governor with YOUR personal story about what health…

Program and Registration for 2013 Legislative Seminar

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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….

For the Good of All God’s Children — Accept Federal Money Offered to NC

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If you are following the actions of the 2013 NC legislature, you know that the idea of accepting federal funds that will cover health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians is in danger of being rejected by our legislature. The Senate has already declined to accept these funds (SB4), and we are told the House will take up the issue soon (HB16).  If you care about health care for everyone, then you want to: Call Governor McCrory at (919) 733-5811 Call House Speaker Tillis at (919) 733-3451 Call and email…

Protect Yourself and Others This Flu Season

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Over the holidays, North Carolina State Health Director, Dr. Laura Gerald, put out a press release urging all North Carolinians over the age of 6 months to get their annual flu shot. Public health professionals have deemed this year’s flu season to be the worst in recent years. By the end of December 2012, North Carolina had recorded 12 flu-related deaths. There are preventive steps a person can take to help contain the spread of flu, as outlined in a previous PHW Newsletter. They are as follows: Wash your hands…

Update on Free AED and CPR Program

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In the spring of this year, the NC Council of Churches and our partners, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC and the American Red Cross, awarded 34 free Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to congregations across the state. This was done in an effort to reduce the number of deaths from sudden cardiac arrest in places where large numbers of people gather. Since that time, the Council has distributed an additional 149 grants, bringing the total to 183 AEDs and CPR training provided in 2012 alone. Our…

Needed: Lobbyists for the Voiceless

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Congress is overwhelmed with lobbyists for corporations, Chambers of Commerce, AARP, the Department of Defense, etc. But those living in poverty are short on lobbyist as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ is debated and cuts as well as revenue sources are considered. People of faith and compassion are being called to serve as lobbyists for the voiceless and the vulnerable.  The faith community must lift a voice. If our senators hear from 100 faithful constituents each day saying “work for the common good, protect the neediest, feed the hungry, and provide…

Urge Congress to Promote the Common Good, Protect the Vulnerable

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Laypeople, clergy and organizational leaders can urge Congress to protect programs vital to vulnerable people as well as to protect the country’s economic security by e-mailing their elected leaders or signing on to a letter prepared by the Coalition on Human Needs. The letter calls upon Congress to promote the common good, protect those in need, and rebuild the economy. It applies four principles to budget decisions Congress will grapple with in the coming months: protecting people who are vulnerable and live in low income; promoting job creation; increasing revenue from fair…

Health On Earth

Photo by Flickr user: dbking

The News & Observer

The N.C. Council of Churches rejoices in the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, affirming the decades-long concerns of the council for those without health care.

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