Clergy Breakfasts Kick Off with Sermons, Stories and Questions

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For the past two weeks, the NC Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been on the road for its annual clergy breakfast series on immigration. These breakfasts are designed to encourage conversations about immigration and how churches can play a role in welcoming immigrants within their communities. The format of the breakfasts are relatively simple: clergy share a meal together and have time to network; speakers present topics related to what the Bible says about immigration and also what challenges immigrants in that particular community are facing; then there…

Voter Suppression Highlighted From on High

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When thorny constitutional issues are being hashed out in the courts, it’s a fact of life that the show isn’t necessarily over until SCOTUS sings, or declines to sing. The acronym refers of course to the Supreme Court of the United States, which on Oct. 8 had the last word as to the rules for North Carolina’s upcoming election. The high court, in its wisdom, allowed a state law enacted in 2013 to continue in full force and effect. That was despite a strong challenge mounted by civil rights and…

Judges Give ‘The Full Bill’ Thumbs-Down

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October 9, 2014 Update: On October 8, the US Supreme Court handed down the final word about voting for this fall’s elections in North Carolina. It upheld the District Court’s decision not to put any of our new voting laws on hold and overturned the Circuit Court’s decision which would have allowed same-day registration during early voting and out-of-precinct provisional voting on Election Day. So we are back to where we started with the voter suppression provisions of H 589 adopted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor…

2014 Faith & Health Summit: Registration Deadline Extended

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The deadline to register for the 2014 Faith and Health Summit has been extended until this Friday, October 3. More than 200 people have already reserved their space at this important event, but there’s still room for you! Click here to take advantage of this special opportunity. The Summit will take place on Friday, October 10 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (501 Miller Street) from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with registration starting at 8:30. Special parking instructions will be provided early next week. Please stay tuned!

From Broken Communities to Beloved Communities

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The recent trial of Alamance County Sheriff Andrew Johnson has focused on alleged profiling abuses against Latinos. He is accused of detaining and arresting Latino drivers without probable cause. During the Winston-Salem-based trial, two retired supervising deputies testified that Johnson told officers not to give Latino drivers traffic citations but instead to take them to jail. The charges stem from the 287(g) program, implemented in 2007, which extends limited federal immigration powers to local officials, including performing background checks and beginning deportation procedures. The government revoked that agreement in 2012, and the…

NC’s Plan to Improve Health in Rural Communities

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I had the pleasure of serving on the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s (NCIOM) Task Force on Rural Health, which was charged with creating a roadmap for better health in rural parts of our state. This plan includes strategies that do not require additional funding to support, but rather stronger partnerships across different sectors, such as health care, education and economic development. People of faith who live in rural areas are encouraged to review the North Carolina Rural Health Action Plan, which is now available for free download from the…

2014 Faith & Health Summit – Register Now!

2014 Faith & Health Summit

Please join the North Carolina Council of Churches at the 2014 Faith and Health Summit, which will be held on Friday, October 10, 2014 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (501 Miller Street). Special thanks to Wake Forest University’s Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative for co-sponsoring the event! The program will run from 9:30am to 3:30pm, with registration starting at 8:30. Arrival snacks and coffee will be provided. The conference theme is “We’re Better Together” and the focus text is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a. REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. If you have already registered…

Another Spirit-filled Weekend with Partners in Health and Wholeness

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Partners in Health and Wholeness co-hosted a youth conference on Saturday, July 12, with Empowering Word Ministries in Wadesboro.  I was honored to be able to participate as a PHW intern. Empowering Word Ministries Church held a spirit filled-praise and worship service with groups from the community and surrounding counties on Friday night, which I attended. In addition to the worship service, Empowering Word Ministries Church and Partners in Health and Wholeness were able to partner in a healthy lifestyle ministry the next day.  Participants were able to share in the…

Cy King’s Noble Example

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Cyrus Baldwin King, a gentle spirit with an iron resolve, was a hero of North Carolina’s peace and justice movement. The Council of Churches is honored to join in the many tributes that have come his way at his passing. Cy died on June 25 at the age of 91 – after a life of deep commitment to principles that lie at the Council’s bedrock. He worked to advance the cause of a world free of weapons of mass destruction, a world in which disputes could be resolved without bloodshed….

Council Spotlights Education, Opportunity

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The NC Council of Churches aims to exert a positive influence on public policies that have implications for what is commonly known as social justice. What this often boils down to is spotlighting areas of decision-making in which the interests of ordinary residents – people hoping to live healthy, productive, fulfilling lives, sometimes against the odds – hang in the balance. At this moment in North Carolina’s history, could there be any such area more important than the state’s commitment to its public schools, its community colleges, its public universities?…

From Superior Court to Supreme Court, Education in the News

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Education figured prominently in the news over the past few days, both nationally and locally. As a country, we marked the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark ruling that separate was inherently unequal in education and which set American schools on the path to integration and parity. At least, that was how it was supposed to work. As we also heard repeatedly this weekend, the legacy of Brown has yet to be fulfilled. Here are reports from Policy Watch and from NPR, but there are plenty…

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…