The North Carolina Council of Churches must replace our veteran Immigration Program Director, Jennie Belle, who will become the Faith Community Organizer for the national organization, Church World Service. Over the past year and a half, Belle has become a leading voice for the burgeoning Sanctuary Movement, offering webinars, workshops, and guidance to local congregations exploring this avenue for offering hospitality to the sojourner among us. When CWS decided to expand their own Sanctuary efforts across the country, they looked to the work emanating from the Council. Fortunately, for the Council, Belle is not going far. In fact, she will conduct her national efforts from North Carolina, thus giving her successor at the Council easy access to an ally.
The Council has been quick to fill this vital role and announced this week they have hired Rachel Baker. Baker is a North Carolina native who has been engaged in immigration advocacy through her immersion in a church plant that was multicultural and bilingual. She was actively involved in the ministries of the congregation, a church that worked directly with first generation immigrant families as part of their focus and outreach. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where she majored in Spanish and minored in Business Administration. She graduated Magna Cum Laude while captaining the Women’s Rugby Team.
Jennifer Copeland, the Executive Director of the Council, said: “We are sad to lose Jennie as a member of our staff, but in some ways this is a win-win for us. Jennie is staying in the area and will continue to be involved in our NC Sanctuary Coalition while we bring onboard a new staff member at the Council who will be working to build the NC Sanctuary Coalition–with Jennie Belle. We are excited to have Rachel join our staff and are eager to bring her up to speed on the work of her program area and into the life of the Council.”
Baker starts work Monday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the NC Council of Churches can be found at ncchurches.org and information about the Council’s Immigration Program and Sanctuary Coalition can be found here.