Cary Congregation with Liberian ties Collects Medical Supplies

Rock Hands

We have all been touched by news of the growing Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria, a crisis that so far has resisted efforts at containment. Those of us with even brief personal ties to West Africa (I spent a couple of weeks in Togo and Burkina Faso in 1974) will never forget the people there and are especially moved by this unfolding crisis. The August 7 e-newsletter from the Southern Conference (SOC) of the United Church of Christ contains information about a connection between the SOC…

Saving Our Souls

Suffer the Little Children

News about children at the border – what’s happening to them, what politicians believe or say about them, where they are going, what will happen to them — continues and the facts are becoming more sensationalized as politicians seek to push their partisan agendas. No single person, group or party has an answer to the growing problem; however, one article this week in particular really made me think.  Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, wrote an article for “The…

What Would Radical Hospitality at the Border Look Like?

Welcome to NC

This past week I have been focusing on the crisis of the thousands of refugee children at the border who are being held in detention centers. I have blogged about praying for these children and sending them letters, and distributed an e-bulletin about ways your congregation can support them. All of these suggestions are centered around showing hospitality to children who have crossed into the United States without their families. My suggestions have included donating money, clothes, writing letters and holding them up in prayer. But what if we were called to do…

Cy King’s Noble Example

CY -- CUCC

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….

David Gushee on “The State of Things” and in Raleigh — Tuesday

Peace

Tune in to WUNC’s “The State of Things” on Tuesday, June 24, to hear David Gushee ahead of his evening presentation in Raleigh. “The State of Things” airs at noon, and Dr. Gushee is currently scheduled to be on from 12:20 until 12:40. If you live beyond the broadcast range of WUNC-FM, you can listen online by clicking on Listen Live at the very top of the page. The Council is pleased to be co-sponsoring Tuesday evening’s program featuring Dr. Gushee, a leading faith-based advocate for an end to torture by our…

Council Spotlights Education, Opportunity

Blue Graduation

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?…

Two New Resources on Public Education

Public School

The Council has published two new resources for people of faith interested in supporting North Carolina’s public schools. One is an abbreviated version of the Council’s materials for holding a public education Sabbath. It was compiled by Lauren Chesson, a recent graduate of the MSW program at N.C. State who will enter the MDiv program at Duke in the fall. The other provides an overview of public education in North Carolina, its benefits, the threats it faces, and a call to action for people of faith. It was written as a Capstone…

From Superior Court to Supreme Court, Education in the News

HS Graduation -- cropped

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…

Lutherans Sponsor Conference to Ponder Justice and Faith

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When the line to check in at a church-sponsored conference on a beautiful Saturday morning in April stretches out the door, it’s a sign that the event has generated an impressive level of buzz. For the North Carolina Lutherans, their faith partners and other friends who turned out in strength on April 12, those more predictable Saturday pursuits of grass-mowing, grocery shopping and golf would just have to wait. The event at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh had an ambitious theme: “Navigating Public Policy Issues Guided by a Moral…

Lex, Rufus and Peter

Easter Stained Glass

I recently took a wonderful walk down Memory Lane for me, though it was also poignant at times. On a Saturday, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina sponsored a remembrance of Lex Mathews. Lex was the first Christian Social Ministries Director for the Diocese, serving from 1975 until his untimely death in 1985. Just about anybody who was engaged in social justice in North Carolina during that time, whether with the Council or not, knew Lex. The conference was organized by the Diocese’s historian and archivist. They had prepared a two-sided,…

Please Thank Sen. Burr

Photo by Flickr user Skakerman

Please join us in thanking Sen. Burr for his vote to release portions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on torture. Many of you have joined us over the last several months in calling for Sen. Burr to vote for transparency and the ability of each of us to see the findings for ourselves. On Thursday he did that.  You can send an e-mail through the Senator’s website or call his office directly at (202) 224-3154 to offer your thanks. The work for full release of the report…

2014 Critical Issues Seminar — Registration is Ongoing

Public School

*To see registration form, scroll down to the middle of the page. Registration for the Council’s 2014 Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education with a guaranteed lunch has been extended for those who do not require a gluten-free or vegan meal. Those registrations must be submitted online (see form below) by 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 12. Registration is ongoing for anyone who does not require that a meal be provided and can take place through Friday at 4 p.m. online or in-person on the morning of the seminar. The seminar…

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

peacefulplanet

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

hkonj2014-2

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…