On the day Public School educators, administrators, staff, and their supporters gathered to make their voices heard at the North Carolina General Assembly, filling the streets and filling the gallery of the Legislature, the North Carolina Council of Churches announced their renewed support for Public Education. Longtime advocates of Public Education, the Council is now unveiling a new initiative, Faith Leaders for North Carolina Children. Modeled on the successful program, Pastors for Texas Children founded in 2013, the program designed by the Council aims to strengthen the important support many churches already provide for the schools in their communities and neighborhoods. Notably, this initiative will focus on supporting the needs identified by teachers, counselors, social workers, and administrators at each particular school. Furthermore, faith communities will be empowered to provide ongoing advocacy like that recently seen in Raleigh at the local and state level.
“Schools and faith communities are the anchor institutions of our towns and neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director of the Council. “Our Public Education schools are providing a comprehensive safety net for the children in our communities, the very ones whom Jesus took on his knee and blessed (Mark 10:15-16). These schools must be adequately funded, well staffed, and empowered to do this important work for our children.”
When the Durham Public School System announced it would be closed for the Public Education Advocacy Day, the Council quickly organized local faith communities and school leaders to address the needs of students, primarily those who depend on school feeding programs. As other districts followed Durham’s example, Council leadership moved with the rising tide hosting in person planning sessions for school and faith leaders throughout the Triangle and providing online suggestions for Wednesday’s event.
Representing 18 denominations in North Carolina, inclusive of over 6,200 congregations, the Council is uniquely positioned to help faith communities leverage their numbers for Public Education advocacy alongside the charitable support so many faith communities have been offering schools for years. Copeland reassures that this project is not a church growth plan or a cloaked proselytizing effort. It is a way to marshal the energy of those who naturally care about our schools and our children and unleash that compassion and energy for their well-being; it is a way to unite the needed gifts with the able givers. “God’s justice especially includes children,” Copeland added. “If schools are places where our children can receive the tools they need to flourish, why wouldn’t faith communities pledge the full force of our numbers in support of them?”
More information about the Council’s initiative, Faith Leaders for North Carolina Children, can be found by clicking here.