April is National Minority Health Month

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Differences in health currently exist between minorities and non-Hispanic whites in the U.S., with people of color suffering disproportionately from chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. During the month of April, your congregation is invited to commemorate National Minority Health Month by hosting events and working to improve the health of all God’s children, regardless of race. As noted in a recently released statement by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the health gap in our country is persistent but there are glimmers…

Healthy North Carolina 2020: Are We Gaining or Losing Ground?

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Healthy North Carolina 2020 is a health improvement plan for our state. It addresses a wide range of issues that impact our health, such as tobacco use, physical activity and nutrition, mental health, and injury and violence. Optimal goals have been established in each of these areas, with a 2020 deadline for achieving them. So where does North Carolina currently stand? Out of the 40 original health goals, we’ve achieved 3 of them, 13 have improved but are not at the set target, 21 have gotten worse, 2 were not…

Worship Resources on the Death Penalty

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Date: Good Friday – Apr. 18, 2014
Topic: The Death Penalty
Focus Text: John 18:1-19:42
Because Christians have come to understand the cross as a rich symbol of all that God has accomplished in Jesus it is sometimes easy to forget that the symbol of our faith is (or was) also an instrument of torture and execution (it is certainly more than that, but not less). The details of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion are a reminder that Jesus did in fact receive a form of capital punishment. As ethicist Glen Stassen writes, “Christians who remember that their Lord was unjustly and cruelly given the death penalty have a hard time being enthusiastic about imposing the death penalty on others.”

Two Churches Talk About Race

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A newcomer to Raleigh sooner or later comes up against a riddle: How can the city have two First Baptist Churches? Here’s a non-surprise: The answer is rooted in the history of a community in which, just as elsewhere throughout the South, white citizens did not mix on equal terms with their black neighbors, whom they regarded as their inferiors. Indeed, for long decades most of those African-Americans were enslaved. Today, the two First Baptist churches of Raleigh see themselves in some sense as a unified congregation, although they maintain…

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.

Election Law’s Racial Twist

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It’s easy to imagine the response from legislative leaders to a new scholarly look at the impacts of North Carolina’s recent election law changes: “Get over it!” Those same Republican legislators would be hard-pressed to argue that the changes won’t hold down vote totals among people who these days tend to vote Democratic. What the new study does is crunch the numbers to describe the disproportionate effect on voters who are African-American. To many, including civil rights groups that are suing to try to block the changes, the study will seem…

Taylor Branch Speaks in Raleigh Feb. 23

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We in the Triangle have a truly rare opportunity this Sunday, to hear and dialogue with Taylor Branch. He is a preeminent historian of the civil rights movement, probably best known for his trilogy “America in the King Years.” The first volume of this monumental and influential work, “Parting the Waters,” won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Branch has ties to North Carolina, having studied at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar. And he is a person of faith, active at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. A personal…

Beech Valley Baptist Church in Sugar Grove to Participate in Strive to Revive Cardiac Arrest Rescue Program

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High Country Press Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), the North Carolina Council of Churches, the American Red Cross and Rep. Becky Carney have selected Beech Valley Baptist Church as one of more than 200 places of worship across the state to participate in Strive to Revive. The program aims to reduce deaths related to cardiovascular disease by providing automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to places of worship across North Carolina. “Our congregation is committed to protecting the health of our members, and Strive to…

King’s Voice for Voters

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Our country’s annual salute to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. honors him as the foremost crusader in the grand civil rights movement of the mid-20th century – the movement that finally broke the shackles of legally imposed racial segregation. What King and his countless allies sought was simple enough, at least in principle. They wanted equality of opportunity, giving black Americans – and by extension all minorities on the receiving end of prejudice – a fair shot at sharing in our national blessings. They wanted a society in…

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.  

Worship Resources on Racism & Reconciliation

Photo by Flickr member cobalt123

Date: Baptism of the Lord – Jan. 12, 2014
Topic: Racism & Reconciliation
Focus Text: Acts 10:34-43
This joining and reconciliation of people, Jews and gentiles, but also strangers and enemies of all kinds, has already begun with the work of Christ. In Christ, God invites us on the journey of reconciliation, the same journey of the church in Acts: a journey that includes the hard work of speaking someone else’s language (Pentecost), sharing food, resources, money, and space (Acts 2), transgressing social divides (Acts 10), dismantling discrimination (Acts 6:1-6), forming new intimacy and identity (Acts 11:19-26), and speaking out against injustice (Gal. 2:11-14).

The Death Penalty – Good Friday

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Sign up below to receive free worship resources in your inbox (1-2 per month): Focus Text: John 18:1-19:42 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus,…

Racism and Reconciliation – Baptism of the Lord

Photo by Flickr member cobalt123

Sign up below to receive free worship resources in your inbox (1-2 per month): Focus Text: Acts 10:34-43 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with…

God With Us: A Social Justice Advent Guide for Families

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Because the season of Advent is a time of awaiting the Christ child and the risen Christ, it is a perfect time to think about social justice issues. Christ’s ministry, which is explored in other seasons of the Christian year, focuses on lifting up those whom society regarded as worthless or weak, including the poor, the ill, the foreigner, women, and children. Social justice was at the core of Jesus’ ministry. Based on the Advent readings for Lectionary Year A, this guide will assist you in slowing down this season by taking 20-30 minutes one night a week to focus on social justice.

PHW Receives Faith & Community Health Excellence Award

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I had the pleasure of attending the Tri-Regional Faith and Community Health Summit in Atlanta, GA on October 3-5. The event was chock-full of dynamic speakers and informative sessions. Some of the topics included: the impact of institutionalized racism on health outcomes, the Affordable Care Act, mental health and counseling, youth engagement, and how to start a free medical clinic or farmer’s market. I was the only representative from North Carolina; others came from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. And aside from a few of the presenters not…

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2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education Register Here