Please Call Senator Burr

A vote is imminent on releasing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture, and we need you to contact Sen. Richard Burr and urge him to support the release. North Carolina people of faith signed a letter last summer urging the Senator to do just that. Progress has been slow, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Committee, has announced that she plans to hold a vote this week (March 24-29). And so there is urgency in reaching out to Sen. Burr, who is one of 15…

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral injury after War — What Faith Communities Can Do

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The North Carolina Soul Repair conference took place March 6 and 7. It was sponsored by many faith communities, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina, Quaker House, and the North Carolina Council of Churches. Speakers included VA clinicians, chaplains and staff, and Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, co-director of the Soul Repair Center, as well as Col. Kimberly Olson (founder of Grace after Fire). A suggestion to churches was to embrace a more welcoming atmosphere for veterans suffering after returning from war. But the number one gift churches…

Faithful Activism — Part 2

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In an earlier blog, I noted a congregation’s questions about becoming a partner with HKonJ. If you haven’t seen that blog, please click here. It contains information that will be relevant to what follows and addresses the question of whether such participation would threaten a non-profit’s tax status. In addition to the question about tax-exempt status raised within the congregation, a second question was about the separation of church and state. This broader church-state question may be harder to explain than the tax-exempt question, but it is equally clear. The…

Faithful Activism — Part 1

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I had two conversations recently with members of a congregation which was voting on whether or not to join the HKonJ Coalition. Those conversations have reminded me that it’s helpful from time to time to review the concept of the separation of church and state and to discuss the tax status of churches. Those are two separate issues, and I will deal with them in two separate blogs. For any of you not familiar with HKonJ, let me give you some background. First, “HKonJ” is shorthand for “Historic Thousands [K]…

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

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.

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…

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.  

Voting Rights and Faith

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Elections in the United States must be carried out in line with rules meant to ensure honesty and accuracy, and to expose candidates to timely judgments about their merits. But those rules cannot be used to set up unreasonable barriers to the polls – barriers that serve the rule-writers’ purposes by making it unnecessarily hard for certain voters to help choose their leaders. Strangely and disappointingly, North Carolina in the 21st century’s second decade finds itself entangled in a new web of voting laws that undermine what we all should…

The Council Welcomes Your Support

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The North Carolina Council of Churches could not do its work without the support of faithful individuals who share in our commitment to prophetic vision of social justice. With our fall appeal underway, Executive Director George Reed’s message to Council friends is excerpted below. His entire letter can be found here. As George explains, donations from individuals have never been more important to the Council. We welcome your contribution, either online or by mail to NCCC, 27 Horne St., Raleigh, NC, 27607. There is good happening at and around the…

Crossroads for Food Aid

Photo from the Office of Governor Patrick

Does hunger cause people to work harder, or to make better decisions as to how to spend what little money they may have? OK, let’s say the pangs of an empty stomach – or the thought of one’s children enduring those pangs – might engender focus on doing what one needs to do. “Les Miserables” comes to mind. Just as likely, however, is that hunger causes a loss of concentration and that sense of purpose often accompanying successful completion of a task. As a motivational tool, hunger leaves a lot to…

Advent Worship Resources on Responsible Leadership

Painting by Michael Splho

Date: Advent 2 – Dec. 8, 2013
Topic: Responsible Leadership
Focus Text: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
If we are willing to read Psalm 72 with the early church as pointing to Christ and his kingship, we may see in the ministry of Jesus concrete steps which the church can take in serving the poor and needy among us in our local communities. In Jesus’ ministry and teaching, we come to glimpse a picture of the Kingdom of God with its eternal justice for the poor.

Saints of the Council

Evelyn and Paz

My morning devotional was about All Saints’ Day, a time for remembering those who have come before us. There is no doubt that Christians have a great inheritance from those who have worked tirelessly on important social justice issues, have given themselves to enriching the world, and who led faithful lives filled with faithful service. The North Carolina Council of Churches has many saints that have come before us. If you read the Council’s history you will find the names of many faithful men and women who took a stand…

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