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

EARLY-VOTING

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…

Shutdown Scenario: The Hunger Brink

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The political stakes and motives are plain to see. President Obama and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill are locked in a desperate struggle with the Republicans who control the U.S. House. Neither side wants to be painted as villains in the sorry saga of the partial federal government shutdown, or even worse, in any default on U.S. government debt. Each wants to take credit for whatever solution to the impasse finally emerges. At the same time, while hoping to spin the situation to their political advantage – or to…

Holy Discontentment: Lifting Your Voice and Letting Your Little Light Shine

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“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn…” Isaiah 58:6-8a (NRSV) Prophets in the Hebrew Bible share an overwhelming proclamation: discontentment with…

Conversations Today or Crisis Tomorrow

Peletah Ministries

I spent August 2011 through August 2012 working as a chaplain resident at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem. During my residency I took care of the everyday pastoral care needs of my clinical units, and responded to crisis and bereavement calls. Among many other tasks and responsibilities of this educational program, I facilitated conversations about Advance Directives with patients and their loved ones. I also helped them complete the documents, down to calling the notary and finding witnesses — two for each document, and they could not be related to the…

Federal Spending: Are You Concerned, Confused or Both?

U.S. Capitol Building

Congress is back in session.  Are you concerned about how your federal tax dollars are being spent, are you confused or both? President Obama notes that the average CEO has gotten a 40% raise since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. Does this matter to you? Would you like to be an advocate for our country’s most needy people?  Some clarifying information about what is going on in Washington is available from the Coalition on Human Needs. Sequestration cuts are still in place…

Resisting Oppression – Advent 3

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Sign up below to receive free worship resources in your inbox (1-2 per month): Focus Text: James 5:7-10 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an…