Coming to the Seminar? Bring a Friend!

HKonJ2015

The Council’s 2015 Legislative Seminar is about a month away, and we have an exciting program of preachers, workshops, and presenters planned. If you’ve already registered to be with us, thank you and we look forward to seeing you on April 14. If you haven’t registered, please do so by April 7 in order to guarantee lunch. Either way, we hope you’ll help us get the word out to other progressive people of faith. You can find a color flyer here or a program and registration form here to print…

Register for 2015 Legislative Seminar — Updated with Workshops and Presenters

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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 with workshop options is below. Please scroll through the registration section for a full list of topics and presenters. The cost is $15 for students, $25 for all others, and that includes a light breakfast underwritten by Partners in Health and Wholeness, and a boxed lunch prepared by the Interfaith…

A Guide to the Christian Food Movement

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In these opening years of the twenty-first century, the need for a more sustainable food system has increasingly become a focus of our national conversation. As a Christian, sometime in the last decade I began to wonder: How can we re-imagine food systems in a way that more clearly reflects God’s reign? Where are the Christians working for a better food system, and how can I join them? Are there existing Christian food projects that I could replicate or adapt in my context? I lived with these questions for a…

Join us for HKonJ 2015

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In these challenging days in North Carolina, there is nothing more important for people of faith who support progressive and prophetic public policies to do than to take part in the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) march and People’s Assembly. It happens this coming Saturday, Valentine’s Day, in Raleigh.  Please do everything you can do to attend and bring others with you. People will gather near Memorial Auditorium (2 East South Street, for you GPS people) and Shaw University in downtown Raleigh at 9:00, with the march to…

February 6 — Contact Senator Burr

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Our friends at NC Stop Torture Now are organizing a call-in to the offices of Sen. Richard Burr for Friday, February 6. Now that he is head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, his role in the full release of the 6,900-page report on the CIA torture program becomes even more crucial. Christina Cowger of NC Stop Torture Now writes in part: The summary of the Senate report revealed appalling details of the U.S. government’s systematic use of torture.  It catalogued numerous grave and plainly illegal abuses, many of which were…

What Frightens Civitas?

Marc Mullinax from HKonJ

Apparently I scare Civitas. Maybe it’s my upbringing. I was raised by a single mom (my parents divorced when I was a toddler) who was fortunate to have a solid job with the federal government and a supportive family who were the safety net between us and poverty. We were lucky. Maybe it was my education. I came up through the Virginia public schools, Kindergarten through college (Wahoowa, y’all!). I attended U.Va. on a partial scholarship from a corporation that thought supporting young people of color through higher education was…

Welcome EdNC to the Conversation

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Education has been of central importance to the NC Council of Churches throughout our history. Part of our opposition to segregation was support for a fully integrated public school system. When it seemed that too many voices of faith were bashing public schools, the Council’s Public Education Committee was created to provide an alternate voice. Public education is probably our society’s greatest equalizer, opening opportunities to people of all backgrounds, incomes, and abilities. Now there’s a new news service to help North Carolinians be better informed about what is going…

Which Christmas Will We Embrace in NC?

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Now that Epiphany is over, we are looking back on Advent and Christmas, and remembering our celebrations — special time with family, special foods or gifts.  An article in the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s winter newsletter entitled “For Which Christmas Are You Preparing” by Rev. Ellie Stock, Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, St. Louis, Missouri, led me to reflect on my warm-fuzzy memories in relation to questions she raises. In terms of the real celebration God wants for Christmas, have I missed the boat?  Rev. Stock describes our three Christmas celebrations: The first is…

How Your Church Can Help Prepare for Administrative Relief

Photo by Justin Valas

On November 20, President Obama announced that his administration will make changes to immigration policy through an administrative relief program. This will include changing removal priorities, expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, creating a new work permit for parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents, and more. For more information about what these changes will look like go to adminrelief.org where you can find fact sheets, a community education presentation, and a useful webinar. Here are some other ways that your congregation can help to prepare others for the…

Pushing Back Against the Grinch

10k Villages

On the third Sunday of Advent, the New York Times ran an essay by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. (It was reprinted by the Raleigh News & Observer at the start of Christmas week. Click here to read it.) It began: “’Christmas is at our throats again.’ That was the cheery yuletide greeting favored by the late English playwright Noel Coward, commemorating the holiday after which he was named.” It went on to cite a 2005 survey showing that more than half of Americans were bothered…

Christmas: The Story of a Refugee Child Named Jesus

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Last week, the largest detention center in the United States opened. The 50-acre center, located in Dilley, TX, will hold up to 2,400 migrants who have crossed the border illegally and is especially designed to hold women and children. This week, Christians around the world are engaged in the retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth. What can the Prince of Peace’s birth teach us about the politics of immigration reform? How should we respond to these children at our nation’s border? Jesus tells us that a response to the…

Ten Things I Learned from the 2014 Clergy Breakfasts

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The past two months the NC Coalition for Justice for Immigrants has been busy with its annual clergy breakfast series. This year we hosted five events across the state, as far west as Black Mountain and to the east toward Greenville. In total, 87 clergy and congregational leaders participated. I had the pleasure of attending all of the events and wanted to share a few lessons that I learned (or was reminded of) along the way: 1) North Carolina is a big state and each community is different. As I…

The Ruling on Same-Gender Marriage

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The immediate impact of the most recent court decisions regarding marriage is that same-gender couples who want to get married in North Carolina now can, clergy who want to perform such ceremonies may, and same-gender couples who were married in other states now have those marriages recognized here. It is important to note that nothing in any way compels clergy to perform such ceremonies if doing so violates their own beliefs or the teachings of their denomination. That last point is important because the case out of which this decision…

Petition to Expand Medicaid in NC — Signers Welcome

Health Care

Health Care for All NC is continuing the important work for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. The group is hoping concerned residents will add their names to a petition calling on the Governor and members of the General Assembly to immediately accept federal funds for the expansion. As the petition reads in part: By refusing to accept Federal money to expand Medicaid, up to 500,000 poor North Carolinians who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid are blocked from enrolling. Christian and Jewish scripture both address God’s requirement for social justice toward…

Voting Rights Update for Pastors and Other Faith Leaders

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November 4 is Election Day. Because of changes in election laws, it is important that people in our pews know when and where they can vote. All of the following are important:  October 10 is the last day citizens can register to vote. To avoid any problems, your parishioners should be sure they are registered at their current address by October 10. Please consider announcing this from the pulpit on Sunday, October 5, and put it in your newsletter for that week. Or send it out by Facebook and Twitter…