As the days grow longer and the flowers bloom brighter, I write to share with you some Council highlights during this first half of the year. I am particularly proud of our 2019 Legislative Seminar that featured as our keynote speaker Tom Ross, currently working on a bi-partisan effort to end gerrymandering, and presented Gail Phares, founding member of Witness for Peace, with our Faith Active in Public Life award.
Continuing in the legislative vein, we hosted our 2nd Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast at the N.C. General Assembly. During this event, legislators hear a bit about the work of the Council, but, more importantly, they have the opportunity to meet our Governing Board members and the denominational leaders from our member bodies. We believe it’s an important gathering.
A visit to our website (www.nchurches.org) will apprise you of the breadth and depth of the initiatives you have come to expect from the Council; allow me to highlight two that deal with matters much in the news these days.
We launched The Opioid Crisis: The Faith Community Responds, an initiative of our program area Partners in Health and Wholeness. Our goal is to involve people of faith in a compassionate response to the opioid crisis in North Carolina. At least 6 people died each day of 2017 in N.C. due to an unintentional medication or drug overdose. This spring the Council will host 13 breakfasts across the state to inspire people to get involved.
Long an important focus for the Council, our Ecumenical Immigration Alliance continues to educate and advocate for immigrants at the local level by raising awareness of the misconceptions about immigration. Last year we launched the NC Sanctuary Coalition in support of those people forced into sanctuary as a last resort and we continue to be heavily invested in the lives of those people and the faith communities that host them.
Meanwhile, we continue our work in these areas:
- Care for Creation—helping faith communities address climate change on the local level
- Raising Wages Campaign—returning minimum wage to a living wage
- Redistricting Reform—congressional maps that make sense
- Gun Violence Prevention—working for laws that protect N.C.
- Medicaid Expansion—closing the gap for the half million North Carolinians eligible
- Torture Awareness—confessing N.C.’s role in the CIA rendition and torture program.
The work of the Council is as important as it has ever been. Please join us as we continue to bring the non-partisan voice of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament gospel to bear on the public square.
Peace of Christ,
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