A New Heaven

JW Blog Art

“Joy, can you still dance. Now that I just heard about the Charleston shooting, can you dance a prayer as well as dancing to demonstrate that we offer our whole bodies to God?” This was Nurya, the minister-in-residence during this week long food and faith intensive sponsored by the Wake Forest University Divinity School in Asheville. She had just sat down at the table where two teenagers, a Partners in Health and Wholeness volunteer, and I were having breakfast. I hadn’t heard about the shooting before she mentioned it. She…

Come to the Table Conference Feeds the Soul

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“It’s like a mini-family reunion” said one participant about the Come to the Table Conference that happened at Elon Community Church on Thursday, May 28.  There were many encounters that unearthed the deep connections of energy and vibrancy formed through past projects. This family atmosphere was perfect to usher in the discussions that we were invited to participate in as attendees. The day included workshops on everything from how the history of agriculture in the south impacts the food movement to local food access and SNAP/EBT at farmers markets. The…

Bills Wink at Polluters, Abusers

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For a boatload of lofty, noble and wise sentiments, look no farther than the opening fanfares of Chapter 113A, Article 1, N.C. General Statutes. The reference is to a law commonly known as SEPA, or the State Environmental Policy Act. It was enacted in 1971, during the great upsurge of the modern environmental movement that saw Americans resolve to curb the pollution that was choking their atmosphere and poisoning their waters. Nationally, it could even be said that President Richard Nixon, that old softie, helped lead the way. The law…

Prayers Today on Workers’ Memorial Day

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A few weeks ago, The News & Observer published an article entitled “Many NC workers’ death go uncounted,” describing how often workplace deaths in North Carolina are uninvestigated, undocumented, and unreported. The article details the ways that the NC Department of Labor reports workplace fatalities and how a large number of deaths are not counted in the numbers that are reported. Many of these workplace deaths are related to the North Carolina economy’s ties to an agricultural system that demands physically difficult and often dangerous work. For example, the article…

Second Edition of “Come to the Table Guidebook” Released

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In 2008, the first “Come to the Table Guidebook” was released. Claire Hermann, Laura Beach, and Chris Liu-Beers of the North Carolina Council of Churches were the contributors. The original “Guidebook” created the framework for the Come to the Table conferences that have been held every two years since. The authors collected stories from across North Carolina about congregations finding innovative ways to relieve hunger and support local food production, highlighting the work of groups making a connection between two vulnerable populations in our state – farmers and food insecure…

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…

Elon Come to the Table – Inclement Weather Update

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RAFI has posted information on its website about pending weather decisions for the Come to the Table Ecumenical Service on Wednesday evening and all-day conference on Thursday, both in Elon. Please also keep an eye on our website for updates about the conference and service. Whether to proceed with the worship service will be decided by noon on Wednesday in accordance with the host church, and the conference will be decided by Wednesday at 10 p.m. We hope that these events will be able to proceed but we also recognize the…

Giving Thanks for Christmas Trees

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This time of year we give thanks for many things — including our families, our health, and our churches. We often overlook our decorations, however. Putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, stringing the lights and hanging the ornaments can seem like a daunting task rather than a blessing. However, if you choose a real tree, remember that someone worked hard to grow and harvest it. Growing Christmas trees requires a considerable amount of work, and the people who are hired to do this work are often seasonal laborers from…

Council Post-Election Road Shows to Charlotte and Asheville

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What do Tuesday’s elections mean for North Carolina? How can people of faith in the state continue to affect positive change? Join the staff of the North Carolina Council of Churches as we visit Charlotte and Asheville to discuss ways our programs are providing a progressive, faithful voice for issues facing NC residents and how you can be involved. We hope you’ll join us: Monday, November 17, Noon-2 p.m. Park Road Baptist Church 3900 Park Road, Charlotte Bring a bag lunch and join us at 11:30 a.m. for fellowship. We…

PHW Faith and Health Summit: Appreciation, Connection, and Moving Forward

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Months of planning and networking for the Partners in Health and Wholeness Faith and Health Summit culminated in a day that birthed a community choir and an anthem that was specially written for PHW. Jill Crainshaw, Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity; Brad Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; and Gary Gunderson, Professor of Faith and Health of the Public at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and Vice President of Faith and…

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!

Blessed in the Small Things

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The Bible states in Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise the day of small things.” I have been constantly reminded of that verse lately. I saw it on Facebook, then I heard it in a sermon, and lastly, it was a daily verse on my phone. When I witness a recurring theme such as this, I wonder, Lord are you trying to tell me something? So I began to examine my life, thinking of my current situation and how I had to take an early retirement from a successful career to return to…

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…