Putting a Face on Legislation
Our state and nation are in a time of civil discord. My own preacher, the Rev. Betty… Continue Reading
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: 4th Sunday in Lent – March 10, 2013
On the eve of the National Preach-In on Climate Change, I just watched an amazing movie called White Water, Black Gold. It’s a beautifully crafted and accurate exploration of one of the hidden costs of continued development of tar sands oil in Canada’s North Country. That cost is clean water. This Canadian production is available for free viewing until February 18th and is well worth the 57 minutes it takes to watch it. Elegantly juxtaposing video of pristine examples of God’s glorious creation with shocking shots of lands and waters defiled by human industry, this movie calls us to action and to change.
As I watched the Super Bowl with my family on Sunday night, one ad stood out. It was the beautiful slideshow of farmers, accompanied by the eloquent words of the late Paul’s Harvey’s speech entitled “God Made a Farmer.” The ad was a moving tribute, evoking powerful emotions while praising the often unrewarding daily labor of farming.But why were all the farmers white? Why didn’t the ad depict the reality of farmworkers, the millions of men and women whose hard labor makes possible the abundance on our plates?
Click here for a free download of our new 2013 social justice study for Lent: Preparing the Way. This simple 10-page document combines traditional Lenten themes and Bible passages with contemporary issues including hunger, care of creation, and immigration. We invite you to join us in this season of reflection and preparation.
It’s been an exciting week as President Obama and a bipartisan group of key senators have started the real work of getting comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) passed this year. On Monday, the “Gang of Eight” released a framework for the new legislation. On Tuesday, the President gave a speech outlining his vision for CIR. You can watch his speech here.
The Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute has prepared material for the celebration of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which runs from January 18-25, 2013. You will find prayer services, prayers of the faithful and musical suggestions at their website. The theme for 2013 is “What Does God Require of Us?” (cf. Micah 6:6-8). In North Carolina, there will be several observances of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
With this report, the Committee is in effect conceding that it cannot push for Arizona or Alabama-style legislation. While there is no doubt that some members of the General Assembly will cynically attempt to pass new measures that target immigrants, the immigrant rights community in North Carolina can stand proud. There are many battles that lay ahead, but at least for now disaster has been averted thanks to the courage of undocumented protesters and the strong immigrant rights partnerships that are being forged across the state.
The challenge of faith communities is not to deduct a set of moral principles from scripture that houses a model for a fair tax system. There are no formulas or bureaucratic maps that arise out of biblical texts that we might apply to our current context and tax system that will magically make the system fair. Rather, the biblical texts provide a framework to understand the Christian witness towards the common good and a Christian ethic of love and care for the vulnerable and exploited.
Partners in Health and Wholeness will host a dinner to connect Latino pastors with free resources and grants for churches. It takes place Thursday, Dec. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Goodwin Heights Baptist Church, 704 Godwin Avenue in Lumberton. Please note this is a change in date from a prior announcement.
The meeting will be conducted in Spanish and is free. Please e-mail Joy Williams, for more information.
Thankfully the election is over and the American people can look forward to their leaders governing for a season before returning to full-scale re-election mode. While the economy continues to dominate headlines in both the Business and Politics sections of the paper, one of the most pressing issues facing the 113th Congress is comprehensive immigration reform. Election night demonstrated the growing power of Latino voters and the renewed demand for results on immigration policy.
We are delighted to welcome Justin Hubbard and Scott Schomburg, the Council’s interns from Duke Divinity School for 2012-2013.
Justin received a Bachelor’s of Individualized Studies in Psychology, Sociology, and International Politics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. After working for a few years at the Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Administration, he moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Before the room could come into focus, I found myself in conversation with pastors, organizers, and advocacy groups, recognizing both a patience and an urgency that seems to come with this work. Our day together unfolded a compelling narrative of faith leaders in North Carolina moving forward in solidarity to make communities better for immigrants. This story of challenge and hope, of conflicting conceptions of justice, and of faith leaders forming a public voice, captured my attention early.
This is really a unique event for North Carolina, bringing together people across the state who are connected to both faith communities and immigrant communities. While the immigration debate rages, congregations are really on the front lines – offering English courses, meals, job training, and pastoral care to people facing very challenging situations. The Summit will help equip faith leaders to both deal with these difficult realities and to mobilize support for immigrants in their own contexts.
Did you know that the detention of immigrants is big business? Over the last several years we’ve witnessed the disturbing trend of private, for-profit prison corporations benefitting from new anti-immigrant laws. These prisons operate like hotels, where each and every bed that is filled provides profits for the company. Every empty bed, on the other hand, costs money. These companies have a financial incentive to detain as many immigrants as possible, and they have poured millions of dollars into lobbying efforts ensuring maximum profits.
In Church, when we talk about immigration, the first question isn’t whether immigrants contribute more than they take or how to secure the border. The first question is: “Who is my neighbor?” Are immigrants our neighbors? How do we as Christians treat people who don’t have the “right” status? How do we treat those whom society rejects and treats as invisible? This is a major question throughout the Bible.
On September 18, the NC Council of Churches hosted a free one-hour webinar focused on immigration at the federal level. Between the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB1070 and the Obama Administration’s announcement of deferred action, Congress has been engaged in a lively debate on many other issues related to immigration – and people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. Learn about the latest bills and how your congregation can make a difference. Click here to watch a free recording of this webinar.
Recently, I heard a powerful message from the Rev. William Barber. Many Council folks know him. He’s the President of the NC NAACP and pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) in Goldsboro. The power of his message was not in fiery delivery. It was a low-key conversation with a group of fifty or so progressive leaders, sitting in a circle in the chapel of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. The power was in the profound thoughts he expressed and in the clear rightness of his words.
While the July 26 article “N.C. wary of possible farm labor shortage,” in the Raleigh News & Observer, included statistics and testimonies detailing our allegedly pending shortage of farm laborers, it left unstated the obvious conclusion: we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Or in this case, we can’t have our fresh produce and eat it too.
The General Assembly on Monday overrode Governor Perdue’s vetoes of three bills. By doing so they gutted the Racial Justice Act, revised the budget for 2012-13, and moved ahead with fracking. The outcome was not in doubt in the Senate. In fact, several Senate Democrats had excused absences and didn’t even show up for the votes. The drama was in the House.
Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court should put to rest any notion of North Carolina trying to enact an Arizona- or Alabama-style immigration bill. While we remain concerned that the ruling could leave the door open for legalized racial profiling, the Court has made clear that immigration policy and enforcement should be left up to the federal government.Here at the NC Council of Churches we see how faith communities are putting their faith into action every day, ministering at the front lines of the immigration debate by offering English courses, meals, job training, and pastoral care to people facing very challenging situations.
Last week, while senators in Washington indicated their overwhelming support for the Farm Bill through a preliminary floor vote, farmworker families throughout the Southeastern U.S. toiled long hours in the summer heat. After 14-hour days in the fields, many farmworkers return home pesticide-ridden, underpaid and empty-handed — financially unable to provide adequate food for themselves and the hungry mouths that await them.
The General Assembly leadership is committed to having this short session truly be short, and there’s talk of adjourning by early July. In fact, an adjournment resolution was introduced yesterday with a target date of June 19. This session, which starts in May of even-numbered years, is primarily to tweak the second year of the budget adopted the year before. In addition, certain bills which were introduced last year (mostly ones which passed in one house) can be considered. For a new bill to be introduced this year, it must fit into one of a few specific categories, with most new bills having to do with budgetary matters or coming from a study commission which met during the interim. Finally, pending veto overrides are also thought by the House and Senate leadership to be eligible for consideration.
The Spring 2012 Church Council Bulletin includes photographs from the Council’s recent Critical Issues Seminar, an update on items of interest in the General Assembly’s short session, a statement on the passage of Amendment One, the Council’s spring appeal, and more.
For the first time since its creation, a special committee reviewing North Carolina’s immigration policy heard from the public on Wednesday, March 28th. To a hearing room packed with advocates on both sides of the immigration debate, speakers told their stories to North Carolina lawmakers charged with considering the state’s role in immigration. Reverend Villegas presented the co-chairs of the committee with over 175 written comments from clergy and people of faith from across the State urging the committee to carefully consider the negative impact that new tough, anti-immigration laws would have on North Carolina.
On April 6, state religious leaders and activists will remember Jesus Christ’s suffering and death and the suffering and death of immigrants coming to this country in an “Economic Justice Way of the Cross.” The North Carolina Council of Churches is a co-sponsor of the event which takes place from noon to 2 p.m. at the N.C. State Capitol.The Good Friday commemoration of Jesus’ suffering and death will be linked with the need for justice, immigration reform, a change in US trade policies, and an end to US support for the war in Afghanistan and Colombia. Money needs to be spent on food and economic development instead of war, according to Gail Phares, director of Witness for Peace Southeast, the event’s primary organizer.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic Worship
Date: 2nd Sunday after Easter, April 15, 2012
Topic: Living Wages
Focus Text: Acts 4:32-35
From the pastoral reflection: “As Christians, we attempt to recapture the vision of work as related to the creating, sustaining, and transforming work of God. Our vocation is not defined simply by our paid employment. What we do at home, in churches, in our volunteer and political activities, all contribute to the “work” that embraces the whole of our lives.”
Tell NC legislators that we don’t want to follow Arizona and Alabama – say NO to harmful anti-immigrant legislation that could be introduced here in North Carolina.
A special committee of the NC House has been meeting to determine whether to introduce an Arizona-style “Papers, please” bill. This is your chance to hold lawmakers accountable for making NC a welcoming state that is competitive in the global economy instead of enacting costly measures that will separate families and threaten our economy.
Join @Sojourners for a National Day of Mourning and Lament. On June 1st, take time in your day to #Lament100k deaths from #COVID19 by sharing moments of silence, lowering flags, hosting interfaith vigils and prayers, and other ways to honor their lives. sojo.net/articles/la…
"So if you’re walking down the street sometime And spot some hollow ancient eyes Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare As if you didn’t care, say, Hello in there, hello” Read more on Cherishing the Elderly Among Us ncchurches.org/2020/…
A big thanks to @rosadelauro for introducing the Childcare Is Essential Act in the House. This legislation would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. #InThisTogether #StrongerTogether
"#COVID19 has directly claimed tens of thousands of U.S. lives, but conditions stemming from the novel coronavirus - rampant unemployment, isolation and an uncertain future - could lead to 75,000 deaths from drug or alcohol abuse and suicide." @WLNS ow.ly/PaqW50zSZ4N
RT @WakeGOV We’ve created #COVID19 toolkits in the most commonly spoken languages for organizations in our diverse community to use to help spread factual information. For fact sheets, graphics for digital media & other resources, visit our resources page to download! ow.ly/dEcb50zRjdp pic.twitter.com/lYP2…
RT @800273TALK No matter what you’re dealing with, if you ever need extra emotional support, call the Lifeline. Our caring counselors are here for you, 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
"People who suffer from the disease of addiction are particularly vulnerable to both catching the coronavirus and having a more severe disease when they do catch it." @HarvardHealth #opioidcrisis #COVID19 #harmreduction ow.ly/TnkR50zSYQ2
RT @CCLTriangle @UsaParents @ABC11_WTVD @katcampbellwx @wralweather @WRALAimee @mazewx66 @ZachMalochWX @BigweatherABC11 @wunc @WNCN @WeatherProf Indeed it is time to tell everyone in the Triangle area regularly how the #ClimateCrisis changes our weather and what other consequences are expected as a consequence! @SunriseDurham @SunriseRaleigh @ClimateLake @NCSCO @NCClim8Justice @ncclimatestrike @CCLCharlotteNC pic.twitter.com/R8hX…
RT @ncchurches Join @Sojourners for a National Day of Mourning and Lament. On June 1st, take time in your day to #Lament100k deaths from #COVID19 by sharing moments of silence, lowering flags, hosting interfaith vigils and prayers, and other ways to honor their lives. sojo.net/articles/la…