Lutherans Sponsor Conference to Ponder Justice and Faith

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When the line to check in at a church-sponsored conference on a beautiful Saturday morning in April stretches out the door, it’s a sign that the event has generated an impressive level of buzz. For the North Carolina Lutherans, their faith partners and other friends who turned out in strength on April 12, those more predictable Saturday pursuits of grass-mowing, grocery shopping and golf would just have to wait. The event at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh had an ambitious theme: “Navigating Public Policy Issues Guided by a Moral…

Palm Sunday: Poverty & Education by Gene Nichol

A Time to Mend

In recognition of our faithful call and of this time in history, the Council’s annual Lenten guide focuses on poverty and the ways we can respond to our sisters and brothers of low-income. We hope you and your family will find cause for reflection and inspiration for action as you share this intergenerational resource together. May we continue building as a nation toward a place where God’s love is felt by everyone through the meeting of basic human needs and the extension of true opportunities for progress. Click here to…

Registration Now Open for 2014 Critical Issues Seminar

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Pre-registration is now open for the NC Council of Churches’ 2014 Critical Issues Seminar, which will focus on public education from pre-K through college. This daylong event will be held at United Church of Chapel Hill on Monday, June 16, from 9:00 – 3:45 (with check-in beginning at 8:15). The cost is $25 ($15 for students and for pre-K through college educators), which will include arrival snacks and lunch. The keynote speaker will be Mike Ward, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction for NC from 1997-2004. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward…

Theological Conference on Public Policy — April 12

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The call to people of faith through Moral Mondays continues to be felt. On April 12, a daylong conference takes place at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. “Forward Together — God’s Work, Our Hands, Faith in Action” is a theological conference exploring the public policy issues raised by Moral Mondays. The keynote speaker is the Right Rev. Michael Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Break-out sessions will feature experts on voting rights, education, poverty, and class and racial justice. The Rev. Dr. James Thomas is…

Crossroads for Teacher Pay

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The gory details are right there, laid out in columns of cold hard data compiled by the National Education Association. Each year, the national teachers’ group provides a comprehensive, state-by-state look at the financing of public education, with a focus on funding for public schools. Not that it comes as much of a surprise, but North Carolina’s performance as shown in the latest report can fairly be described as mediocre. Here’s the overall picture, drawn from census and budget statistics: North Carolina shapes up as a state with below-average wealth, below-average…

Teacher Pay: Leaping, then Looking

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He hasn’t put it quite this way, but what Gov. Pat McCrory seems to be saying – and who among us hasn’t offered the same excuse? – is that it sounded like a good idea at the time. Sure it did, for those who want to see our underpaid public school teachers forced to scrabble like lab animals for a few extra dollars, while the lucky winners have to surrender their modest degree of job security. Now, though, McCrory appears to be having second thoughts. Pushback not only from teachers…

Presbyterian Clergy Sign Letter for the Public Good

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A group of Presbyterian clergy have prepared and circulated A Pastoral Letter to their colleagues. It is a fine statement, noting that “[a]n enduring principle of our discipleship is the call to sacrifice for the sake of others, after the manner of Christ, and a commitment to the common good beyond our own personal interest.” It goes on to cite principles of their tradition; “concern for the common good has focused on providing quality public education, ensuring affordable health care, and promoting the general welfare of the people – with…

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.

The Stakes with Teachers’ Pay

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Whether anecdotal or empirical, the evidence is clear: North Carolina has done a poor job of furnishing its public school teachers with adequate salaries. By “adequate,” we should mean pay that’s good enough to attract competent, motivated people into the teaching profession, to convince them to work in our school districts – even districts in less well-off, rural counties – and to stick with their career choice through the inevitable rough patches. Sadly, the trends these days point in the wrong direction. A shortage of qualified, committed teachers threatens the…

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…

Boosts for Voters, Protestors

Photo by Flickr member twbuckner

By the time last year’s edition of the NC General Assembly finished its work, it was as though the laws and policies by which this state is governed had been run through a conservative wringer. Taxes and budgeting. Health care. Unemployment benefits. Public schools. Environmental protection. In these key areas and others, the Republican-controlled legislature put its stamp, in accord with the conservative belief that when it comes to government, less is better. Smaller government, though, can lead to the neglect of what should be public responsibilities to look out…

One State, One Rate: In-State Tuition for Young Immigrants

Photo by the Durham Herald-Sun

Education is one of the critical issues of our time. How we as a society choose to invest in our young people has dramatic implications for our future. Today, thousands of immigrant youth stand at the intersection of our broken immigration policies and our educational system, hoping for and working toward a better future. Undocumented young people – many of whom only speak English and are American in every way but paperwork – have to pay out-of-state tuition at North Carolina’s public colleges and universities. This policy puts higher education…

HKonJ 2014 — Saturday, February 8

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It’s now just four weeks until this year’s HKonJ People’s Assembly. There is nothing more important for people of faith to do this winter as we work for prophetic social justice than to attend HKonJ and encourage  others to join us. Participants will assemble at Shaw University at 9:30 a.m. with the march set to begin at 10:30 a.m. I hope to see you there.  

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2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education Register Here