Christian Conviction and Cultural Accommodation – A conversation on the Barmen Declaration
You are invited to attend “Christian Conviction and Cultural Accommodation on February 21 in Greensboro, NC.
Today I’m happy to announce the launch of a new project by the Council’s Farmworker Ministry Committee. The Building Hope Project connects volunteer groups with farmworker families to build small chicken coops and greenhouses. These low-cost structures help families save money and supplement their nutrition. A recent study in North Carolina found that nearly half of farmworker families don’t have enough food year-round. The good news is that with a modest commitment of volunteer time and money, your congregation can make all the difference. Jesus said to his followers, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.”
The Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HK on J) rally and march will take place on February 12 in Raleigh. A coalition of nearly a hundred social justice and community development organizations, including the North Carolina Council of Churches, have banded together to promote this event for the last several years.
I hope you had a chance to see NC People this past weekend. I was honored to be invited to be one of Bill Friday’s “people.” It actually started as part of the Council’s 75th anniversary last year, though it didn’t make it to the airwaves (an outdated term, if ever there were one) until now. Bill Friday celebrated his 90th birthday last summer. Even if you are new to the state, the hoopla surrounding his birthday would have made you aware that he is one of the state’s giants. I don’t know that there’s anybody alive today who is more respected or beloved or who has had more impact on the state for a longer period of time.
NC Council of Churches Executive Director George Reed appeared as Bill Friday’s guest on UNC-TV’s NC People on Friday, January 7. The program also aired Sunday, January 9. George spoke with Mr. Friday about the Council’s past as well as its future, discussing the Council’s work for social justice and the role faith communities and people of faith can play.
Stan Kimer, newly elected Council president, was interviewed on WUNC’s The State of Things on January 6. In his conversation with host Frank Stasio, Stan spoke about the Council and its work, including priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Listen to the interview by clicking here.
The MIC @ 50 conference will take place on January 14-16, 2011, on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. There is no charge to attend. The purpose of the event is to bring the MIC back into the spotlight as a key factor shaping our society and public life.
Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina – the same group that brought to us the Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge – has developed health-related bulletin inserts for the faith community. These inserts provide short, easy-to-read messages on a variety of health topics such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke.
This Prayer for Unity and monthly prayer calendar include by name the judicatories and congregations that are members of the North Carolina Council of Churches and the names of their current leaders. Your pryers for reconciliation are invited for all Christian bodies in and beyond the state.
NC Policy WatchIn recent days, the Internet has been abuzz with revelations brought to us by “Wikileaks” of comments that were never intended to be public. Meanwhile, George W. Bush is touring to promote his new book, enthusiastically admitting that he violated international and US law. As the US government calls for accountability for Mr. Assange of Wikileaks, it must consider the applicability of its own words to other situations.
The protesters from Kansas have come many miles to spread their hatred at Elizabeth Edwards’ memorial service. Let us be clear: the Bible calls us to kindness and respect for one another, and Jesus Christ preached throughout his life that we should love one another. The protesters’ appalling and repeated violation of the sacred services by which we honor our dead, along with their representation of themselves as messengers of Christ, are offensive and misrepresent Christian faith.
Earlier this year, we were looking for a way to engage North Carolina in a constructive conversation about immigration when we heard about a new documentary film that was being completed by the Durham-based filmmaker Charlie Thompson. This new film, called Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos, examines the themes of migration, work and family across thousands of miles. When we talked to Charlie about using the film as part of a statewide series, he was excited about the potential to connect with new audiences in congregations from Asheville to Wilmington.
I strongly encourage people of faith who feel so led to contact your senators and urge them to support ratification of the New START treaty, which will reduce the US and Russian stockpiles by 30% and allow on-the-ground inspections, suspended last year as the START I treaty expired, to resume.
In light of data recently released in the Wikileaks documents regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a group of pastors, priests, theologians and seminarians has issued a call to preachers to address the acts of violence detailed in those documents, and their failure to live up even to the standards of Just War theory.
Congregations across the state are now taking part in the North Carolina Council of Churches’ Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) Certification Program, demonstrating that their bodies are God’s temple by eating healthier, being more physically active and reducing the impact of smoking on themselves and their neighbors.
At the most recent Brother Towns event, this past Monday, November 1st, the energy filled the Carolina Theatre. About 270 people from around the Durham area came to the screening. Each person was full of excitement and several large groups were in attendance. I have never seen so many people so happy to watch a documentary. Being my first viewing of the film, I was also very excited to see it.
The Council is delighted to welcome two Duke Divinity School interns who will be working on a variety of projects over the course of the school year. “It is always exciting for us to have Duke Div interns helping with the work of the Council,” said Executive Director George Reed. “Their energy and enthusiasm enhance all that we do.”
The Eastern Carolina District of the Virginia Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church USA is the newest member of the North Carolina Council of Churches. The addition of the group brings to 17 the number of denominations who have chosen to work with the Council on issues of social justice and Christian unity.
Dr. Katherine Shea, a physician with expertise in the link between climate change and human health, is the new director of North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, a project of the North Carolina Council of Churches and a state affiliate of the national Interfaith Power & Light campaign.
I was struck, as I listened to remembrances from the past, that we really are seeing progress on issues of social justice. But it happens over a period of years or even decades. The issues we heard about at the Anniversary are difficult ones. They have produced years of frustration and sometimes what looked like complete failure. And yet . . .
Dr. Terrence Rynne is the founder of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking. His new book “Gandhi and Jesus, the Saving Power of Nonviolence” examines the intersections between the life of Jesus and the teachings of Gandhi. He has three presentations coming up in North Carolina, in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
News14 Carolina recently featured a peace vigil held in downtown Raleigh in conjunction with the nine-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The NC Council of Churches co-sponsored the event, and David LaMotte spoke during the vigil. News coverage of the vigil focused on WWII veteran and longtime peace activist Cy King. In 2009, King accepted the Council’s Distinguished Service Award for his many years of gracious and committed activism for peace.
More than 60 people gathered at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte last night to watch the local premiere of Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos – a film about family, faith and immigration. This event, which was featured in one of the Charlotte Observer’s blogs, was the first in a statewide series that the Council is sponsoring.
Last week, comedian Steven Colbert caused a stir by testifying before Congress in support of the AgJOBS bill. Colbert’s larger than life persona brought a record number of cameras to the “Protecting America’s Harvest” hearing held by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security. While pundits and bloggers disagree about the appropriateness of Colbert’s appearance, very little is being said about the substance of the bill he went to Washington to support: AgJOBS.
Fifty years after “Harvest of Shame,” not much has changed. Farm work remains one of the nation’s most dangerous industries. Here in North Carolina, dangerous conditions in the fields, poverty wages and substandard housing continue to threaten workers’ health and well-being. For example, workers often put in 14-hour days in bad weather – including extreme heat and rain. In North Carolina, 7 farmworkers died of heat stroke in a recent five-year span. They were literally worked to death. And heat stroke isn’t the only problem in the fields.
There have been no shortage of condemnations of the pastor in Florida who threatened to burn Korans. Those condemnations are effectively demolition work. Sometimes dangerous structures need to be torn down, and I’m not necessarily criticizing that. Demolition is most useful, though, when it makes space to build something new and constructive. I heartily celebrate the building of relationships and the expressions of respect and support that have come in response to this.
We’re teaming up with local filmmaker Charlie Thompson to offer screenings of his latest documentary, Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos across the state. If you live in one of these cities, please help us promote this event by putting up movie posters around town. We also have bulletin inserts that can be used to encourage your congregation to attend. Thanks for your help!
This week I felt privileged to be one of over 1,500 participants in the NC Latino Coalition’s Statewide Delegates Assembly in Durham calling for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. Leaders from religious organizations, organized labor and businesses joined the grassroots audience in making the compelling case for immigration reform now.
The Seminar “Loving God’s Creation: Fully Integrating Creation Care with the Church’s Mission and Ministry” is set for Thursday, October 14, 2010, at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. The program for this event has been announced.
More and more North Carolinians are getting involved with community gardens. Through our Come to the Table program, the Council’s Rural Life Committee has been promoting this work for the past few years. We’ve been visiting gardens, leading workshops, sharing best practices, eating delicious local food and making friends across the state.
Over the past year, we’ve been hosting clergy breakfast events on immigration across the state. We’ve met with over 450 faith leaders to talk about how congregations and people of faith can get involved to make our state a better place for our immigrant brothers and sisters. Our work has even drawn the attention of major media outlets. One was highlighted by a local TV station, and more recently we had not just one but two reporters from the Raleigh News & Observer sit in with us at the July 1 breakfast at Fairmont UMC in Raleigh.
The North Carolina Council of Churches’ Partners in Health and Wholeness program held its 2010 Faith and Health Summit in March, drawing together nearly 250 participants to learn about integrating health practices and strategies within faith communities.
In light of concerns about public school resegregation in counties across the state, the North Carolina Council of Churches has begun work to counter this backward step toward increased racial and economic separation. Issues of resegregation have surfaced in the state’s largest school districts, Wake and Charlotte-Mecklenburg counties, as well Wayne and New Hanover counties and elsewhere.
These congregations have demonstrated that, as people of faith, they strive to live an abundant life of health and wholeness by naming a congregational health promoter, serving healthy food and beverage at church meals, and reducing the impact of smoking on themselves and their neighbors.
500+ faith leaders issue a moral call for Congress to pass a nationwide moratorium on water, power, and broadband shutoffs! Join them and call YOUR Senator NOW at 202-609-9041 to demand #NoShutOffs foodandwaterwatch.or…
The #2020Census is easier than ever for people to respond on their own in the comfort of their homes. Anyone can go online now to my2020Census.gov to complete the questionnaire or call the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020. It only takes a few minutes. pic.twitter.com/Dovp…
A moral call against water, power, and broadband shutoffs: over 500 faith leaders across the country are calling on @senatemajldr, @SenSchumer, @SpeakerPelosi to pass a national moratorium on utility shutoffs. #NoShutoffs foodandwaterwatch.or…
RT @wunc Already prepped for the Isaias? Give your loved ones a quick call to make sure they're ready too. 📞☎️📱
"As more than 35 states report increases in overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic, #harmreduction workers are pointing to a failed state response as the foundation of the crisis." bit.ly/2X7U5xj #opioidcrisis #COVID19 @newrepublic
RT @nytimes "While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me." Representative John Lewis wrote this essay shortly before his death. @nytopinion is publishing it today, the day of his funeral. nyti.ms/309tNN4
RT @CreationCareWNC Harvey. Florence. Irma. Climate disasters are here and are affecting faith communities up and down the East Coast. Join us on August 6 to learn how congregations can play a pivotal role in building resilience in their towns and cities. Register here: us02web.zoom.us/meet… pic.twitter.com/DP5R…
RT @ncchurches Learn more about the importance of voting on the values of creation care & climate justice. We have a sacred duty to be stewards of the Earth, for all God’s creatures and for future generations. Register for our forum lead by @NCIPL on August 12! us02web.zoom.us/meet… pic.twitter.com/0FYg…
RT @interfaithpower As people of faith we #ActOnClimate for the benefit of black and brown communities now and in the future. “The rollback removes requirements to consider climate change before proceeding on a project.” @faithinplace @NCIPL @IPLdmv @iowaipl @MNIPL @NewMexicoIPL