Preparing the Way: Nourishing God’s Children, Body and Soul
From Chapter 4 of Preparing the Way: A Social Justice Study for Lent. We’re offering this free… Continue Reading
After a one-day organizational meeting in early January, the 2013 General Assembly convened in earnest last Wednesday. Bills introduced and advanced during these first two days give a taste of things to come. Note especially the bills affecting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, weakening the benefits of unemployment insurance, and extending the presence of guns.
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.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and The Rensselaerville Institute are looking for individuals with project ideas for creating a healthier Wilson County. Projects will be implemented over the next 6 months and must focus on increasing physical activity and/or access to and consumption of fresh produce.
Selected Community Sparkplugs and their teams will receive the following: a $3,000 grant (simple application process), individualized help to create an action plan and set project results, support and coaching over the next 6 months, and an opportunity to become part of a growing network of Community Sparkplugs across North Carolina.
Public News Service – NCWeight loss is the most popular New Year’s resolution being made by North Carolinians and people around the country, according to new data from the University of Scranton. The goal of being healthier is even making its way into churches around the state, through a program sponsored by the North Carolina Council of Churches.
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.
WFMY News 2HDRamsuer, NC – What if your chances of surviving a heart attack, or sudden cardiac arrest, depended on the neighborhood you lived in? According to a new study, it just may. The New England Journal of Medicine suggests CPR by a bystander is less likely in low-income areas. They go on to say there is a direct relationship between household income and the racial makeup of a neighborhood.
Farm labor ranks as one of the top three most dangerous occupations in the United States. In addition to hazards in the fields, farmworkers and their families face unique burdens on their physical and mental health. North Carolina’s leading industry is agriculture, yet farmworkers are among the most underserved residents in the state.
Farmworkers are some of our nation’s most vital workers, as their labor enables us to enjoy high quality, low-cost, fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. Despite farmworkers’ economic and cultural contributions to the communities where they live and work, they continue to be the some of the lowest paid, least protected, and unhealthiest workers in the United States.
Winston-Salem ChronicleBlue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the North Carolina Council of Churches, the American Red Cross and State Rep. Becky Carney have selected Winston-Salem’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church as one of 150 places of worship across the state to participate in Strive to Revive.
UCC NewsParkway United Church of Christ is now ready to take action if someone in the building shows signs of a heart attack. Through the North Carolina Council of Churches’ Strive to Revive program, the Winston-Salem congregation qualified for a free automated external defibrillator (AED) and CPR training, and the Rev. Craig Schaub made sure his church took advantage of the opportunity.
Placing defibrillators in houses of worship — including eight in Winston-Salem — is part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C.’s strategy for extending the reach of health care into community gathering places.
The insurer and churches hope there will be a pay-it-forward element from the free CPR training that goes along with the automated external defibrillators.
“Most people don’t want to be in a helpless place when they see someone having a cardiac arrest,” said Bruce Hayes, associate pastor at Reynolda Church.
Durham-Herald SunDURHAM – Over the next three years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will fund 150 Automated External Defibrillators and training for places of worship across the state, with 33 already lined up. BCBSNC President and CEO J. Bradley Wilson made the announcement Tuesday at First Calvary Baptist Church in Durham along with Strive to Revive partners the American Red Cross, the North Carolina Council of Churches and N.C. Rep. Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg).
WUNC 91.5 North Carolina Public RadioEric Hodge: Several state organizations are banding together give churches the tools to save lives. Gurnal Scott reports.
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.
This comprehensive, intergenerational curriculum focuses on the food we eat and why it matters. Featuring 7 lessons with Scripture, prayers, resources, and activities for young children through adults, “Eating Well” will challenge and inspire your church or community group. Download your copy today.
BCBSNC FoundationMy faith journey began at an early age and in a somewhat nontraditional way. I fondly remember attending weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies at my grandmother’s house in rural North Carolina. Community members would come from all around to worship together in a small, weather-beaten house at the end of a long dirt path. They would read scriptures, sing songs and tell stories of how they were able to overcome various obstacles throughout the week.
Richmond County Daily JournalThe Pee Dee Baptist Educational Congress, an auxiliary to the Pee Dee Baptist Educational Association, will conduct the Annual Christian Educational Institute from March 19 to 23, 2012, at the Pee Dee Educational Building in Dobbin Heights.
There will be classes for church officers and each department in the church.
BladenJournal.comJoy Williams of Partners in Health and Wholeness, a Christian-based organization, will collaborate with churches and the parish nurse on Monday, Nov. 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church at 800 W. Broad St. (across from the Municipal Building), to make local churches healthier for the glory of God.
The Sanford HeraldGiang said N.C. MedAssist representatives wanted to travel to each county to meet with eligible residents and explain the enrollment process. The organization contacted the North Carolina Council of Churches and expressed interest in partnering with faith-based organizations willing to host one-day enrollment programs. The Rev. Mechelle Myers of Sanford’s New Endland AME Zion Church received an e-mail from the Council about the initiative and was the first person to respond.
The American Diabetes Association has launched a new faith-based program called “Live Empowered” which is designed to assist churches with integrating diabetes awareness messages and life application principles into worship services. Also, in observance of American Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association is sponsoring “Super Diabetes Sunday” on November 13th. Super Diabetes Sundays will include materials and giveaways to help your congregation join the fight against diabetes.
This might strike you as surprising, as it did me, but radiation has been in cigarettes for more than forty years! We all have heard just how bad cigarettes are, but to know that they contain alpha particles on top of the other harmful substances is alarming, to say the least. And it is appalling to know that tobacco companies knew this and covered up the truth.
NC Policy WatchIt’s no wonder why our political leaders are scrambling to find solutions, even while bumping heads in the process. Both sides want what’s best for America, but the process through which we work to achieve that has become increasingly contentious and politically charged. And I can’t help but believe that our own personal experiences and beliefs, not the persuasive views of political pundits, ultimately determine on which side of an issue we fall and what we deem worth fighting for.
Let me share a story.
The Council has long been touting the benefits of community gardening in both urban and rural settings alike. Community gardens offer healthy local foods that are often more nutritious than their grocery-story or food-bank counterparts. Gardens also help community members become more active, and they are a great way for congregations, local organizations and neighborhoods to collaborate together. Last Sunday the Raleigh News & Observer highlighted this growing movement, using the example of Highland United Methodist Church.
The experiences of landowners in other states indicate that hydraulic fracturing can have profound negative impacts on rural communities. The Rural Life Committee of the North Carolina Council of Churches supports the current ban on hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. The above concerns need to be addressed with careful attention to landowners’ property, landowners’ rights, and the care for creation’s gifts. Furthermore, we call on our member bodies and faith leaders to share reliable information about hydraulic fracturing with their communities. We believe that we are called by God to be good stewards of the good gifts of community, health, water and soil. Trusting in God, we refuse to trade this bountiful inheritance for the empty promises of energy that may be cheap in terms of dollars but which we know will be costly in terms of our livelihoods.
Partners in Health and Wholeness, in partnership with Youth Empowered Solutions, will provide FREE TRAININGS to clergy and other adults who work with youth to create positive community change through strong health advocacy, particularly as it relates to increasing access to healthy foods, physical activity and tobacco use prevention. The date, time and location of the first training
If your congregation is looking for a fun, creative way to combat childhood obesity, then the NFL – that’s right, the National Football League – has just the answer for you! The NFL is partnering with schools and community organizations, including churches, across the country to host a FREE skills competition for boys and girls ages 6 to 15 called, “Punt, Pass and Kick” (PPK).
Our friends at the Living Healthy Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP) would like to invite members of your congregation to take advantage of their FREE online workshop – Better Choices, Better Health™ – which is designed to help individuals self-manage their chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, chronic pain, anxiety, etc.). Specifically, the workshop can help you and the people you care about
Budget Edition: Last week the chairs of the House Appropriations Subcommittees started revealing their plans for the 2011-13 budget. Not surprisingly, their plans differ in significant ways from the budget proposed by Governor Perdue. The most important difference is that the House leaders will not approve the continuation of any of the emergency tax increases enacted in 2009.
The drumbeat of bad bills continues. Suffice it to say that it’s a tough year for those of us who have advocated for public policy decisions promoting social justice, protecting vulnerable people, and caring for God’s creation. We can’t respond to every bad idea or bad bill. On many of these issues, we feel like we are butting our heads against a wall. Our tendency may be to throw up our hands in despair.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation – in partnership with the North Carolina Council of Churches, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina PTA, and North Carolina Recreation and Park Association – is looking for “Community Sparkplugs” to help build a healthier North Carolina. So, what exactly is a Community Sparkplug?
ENCToday.comLenoir County is the first county in the state to receive grant awards through the “Spark Plug” program, an initiative of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to promote healthy activity and nutrition.
Ten organizations and government entities in Pink Hill, Grifton and Kinston each received a $3,000 award for projects that inspired physical activity or greater nutrition in the community.
“If every county has spark plugs in it like Lenoir County does, this is going to be a huge success,” Danielle Breslin, vice president of operations for the BCBSNC Foundation, said of the program.
Governor Bev Perdue on Saturday vetoed H 2, the misnamed “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill. (It should be called the “Freedom to be Uninsured and Unable to Get Health Care” bill.) The bill was an attack on federal health care reform and purported to remove North Carolinians from the mandated purchase of health insurance, which is the basis of federal reform which will move millions of uninsured Americans into the ranks of the insured.
Salisbury PostProspect Presbyterian Church, 9425 W. NC Hwy 152 in Mooresville, has achieved the North Carolina Council of Churches’ first Gold Certification for the congregation’s commitment to better health.
The Rev. Joanne Hull serves as Prospect’s pastor with Sybil Perrell, RN, as the parish nurse for this rural church in the edge of Western Rowan County.
On Friday and Saturday last week, about 180 people gathered at the 2011 Come to the Table conference in Winston-Salem. Bringing together pastors, lay leaders, experts in the fields of hunger and sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurs, farmworker advocates, and many others. Conference workshops were held on Friday, with site visits and practical tours on Saturday.
Tomorrow, the NC Council of Churches’ Rural Life Committee will convene our third biennial Come to the Table Conference. With meetings across the state over the next three weeks, the conference offers resources for faith communities working to relieve hunger and support local farms.
Partners in Health and Wholeness is offering a yearly certification process to congregations across the state. As of January 1, 2011, congregations can now achieve all three levels of certification – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and receive recognition from the Council and their respective judicatories upon completion of the program.
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.
Are you a pastor or parishioner who is concerned about the health of God’s people? Are you troubled when you read the names of congregants who are home-bound or have been hospitalized due to an illness in the weekly church bulletin? Do you believe that our bodies are God’s temple and that we can improve our health and, in the case of secondhand smoke, the health of others by being physically active, eating healthily and not using tobacco products?
The issue of overweight and obesity has been well-publicized in recent months. In the United States, more than 23 million kids (nearly one-third) are overweight or obese. In North Carolina, 65% of adults and 36% of children and youth age 6-17 fall into one of these alarming categories – alarming because of the adverse effects on one’s health resulting from carrying excess weight as well as the financial impact on the individual, his/her family, employer and the overall health care system.
Raleigh News & ObserverThank you for bringing awareness to the issue of clergy mental health in your Nov. 11 article, “Depression is an Occupational Hazard for Clergy.” Too often, we expect ministers of the gospel to have all of the answers and to be available 24/7 to listen to and meet the needs of God’s people. We fail to realize, however, that they are only human – like many of us, they have families, mortgages to pay and concerns about the future, and some clergy even take on additional jobs to help make ends meet.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe issue of overweight and obesity is not new – earlier this year, it was reported that NC is the 10th most obese state in the nation for adults and the 11th most overweight and obese state for children… Through Partners in Health and Wholeness, an initiative of the NC Council of Churches, congregations in NC are taking steps to improve the health of children by offering healthier snacks at youth events and encouraging physical activity. As people of faith, we acknowledge that our bodies are God’s temple and that we must love ourselves as we love and care for others.
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.
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 . . .
Raleigh News & Observer
I appreciated the Aug. 22 article about Ben Roberts, owner of Foundation Fitness in Greensboro, who traveled between Raleigh and Greensboro challenging employees to be physically active.
When working with different groups, Roberts stresses the simplicity of living a healthy, active lifestyle. Small changes during the work day such as taking the stairs, using a pedometer to track the number of steps taken and keeping hydrated can help boost energy levels and overall confidence.
Yesterday was the deadline for Governor Perdue to sign or veto bills passed by the General Assembly in the last weeks of the session. Interestingly, yesterday she let a bill become law without her signature.Also in this Raleigh Report: Domestic Violence, Environment, Gambling, and more.
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.
Farm labor ranks as one of the top three most dangerous occupations in the United States. In addition to hazards in the fields, farmworkers and their families face unique burdens on their physical and mental health. North Carolina’s leading industry is agriculture, yet farmworkers are among the most underserved residents in the state. This colorful and easy-to-read fact sheet was designed for congregations and community groups. Download a copy today.
Greensboro News & RecordAccording to Trust for America’s Health, as reported in the News & Record on June 29, North Carolina is now the 10th-heaviest state, after ranking No. 12 just one year ago. This signifies a reduced quality of life for more North Carolinians, as research shows that persons who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It also means additional financial costs for our state.
Welcome to our worship resources for Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW). PHW is an ambitious program of the North Carolina Council of Churches designed to help people of faith to see health — their own health — as an issue of faith and to take action that will lead to healthier and more abundant living.
At the North Carolina Council of Churches’ Partners in Health and Wholeness Program, we want to help people of faith and congregations become healthier. What better way to help people become healthier than by helping them prepare healthy foods? Not only do we want to show you how to cook healthy foods at home, we want to offer you recipes to use at church events, too. Our objective with this cookbook is to highlight healthy recipes for large groups. Our hope is that you will use these recipes to help feed your parishes, that they might receive spiritual and bodily nourishment at church.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, the childhood obesity epidemic is drastically affecting North Carolina. In 2009, North Carolina ranked 14th worst in the nation in childhood overweight and obesity for children ages 10-17, with more than one-third (33.5%) of our children being overweight or obese.
Also in this Raleigh Report: Domestic Violence, Environment, Gambling, Health, Housing, People with Disabilities, Public Education, and more.
NC Policy Watch
In the 21st Century, we must no longer view Church as a semiweekly activity that occurs within the confines of a physical structure with four walls and a pulpit. Instead, we must take our message of hope, justice, unity and peace to the wider community, and, yes, even Capitol Hill! I believe that real change happens when various groups – public and private, secular and religious, progressive and conservative, privileged and disadvantaged, old and young, black and white – work together to achieve a common goal.
The summer’s “short session” of the North Carolina General Assembly convened on May 12, a continuation of the 2009 session. Its primary task will be to adjust the 2010-11 budget adopted last year, though it can also take up bills that made it through one house last year, bills coming from study commissions, and bills amending the state Constitution.
Raleigh News & ObserverAs followers of Jesus Christ, a healer known as the Great Physician, as believers in a God who loves and cares for all of his children equally, we at the N.C. Council of Churches are profoundly grateful for passage of health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Durham Herald-SunOpinion: Many of the noisy detractors who rail against universal access to affordable health care are the same folks who loudly proclaim a pious faith and claim ethical superiority on other issues. Maybe they should listen to other religious voices on faith and ethics, voices of those who spend their lives studying the scriptures and serving people seriously impacted by our current health-care system.
Rev. Deborah PattersonBabylonian captivity. I believe we are there again, both literally and figuratively. We are literally in Babylon as American troops serve in an unending war in Iraq, the new name for that land. And, working with parish nurses, daily I hear stories which attest that we are figuratively being held captive by a health system that excludes millions, bankrupts millions, and keeps millions in jobs they despise but need for health insurance. Doctors are held captive by reimbursement plans that penalize them for spending more than 7 or 8 minutes with patients. Nurses are held captive by staffing patterns that keep them working longer shifts, with more and sicker and patients to care for. Churches are being held captive by health insurance costs that prevent them from being able to call full-time pastors.
Rev. Cliff Frasier, First Congregational Church, UCC (Washington, D.C.)In the policy-making reform-world, we may talk about health care as a “right.” In the economic world we may talk about health care as a cost or even as a profit. [“p-r-o-f-i-t]. In the health-care-delivery world, the social-work-world, we may talk about health care as a need. But in our faith world, let us also talk about health care as a responsibility. As a moral responsibility. To care for God’s creation — for ourselves, for each other. Let us talk about not-providing-health-care as a failure in the realm of moral-responsibility. In other words, to the degree we allow within moral reasoning the category of . . . . “sin” . . . let us allow the failure to provide healthcare to be understood in just that way.
Even in 1984, the Council’s report suggested that there were “harmful effects . . . to those non-smokers exposed to the side-smoke of smokers.” Today, an increasingly strong body of research points to the fact that secondhand smoke (that which is inhaled by non-smokers in a smoking environment) does indeed pose serious health hazards. This risk is associated not only with long-term consumption but also with secondhand smoke breathed in for as little as thirty minutes.
The faith community, when true to its founding principles, has historically advocated for the common good over those of special interests. The faith community has also sought to be a voice for and a defender of “the poor, the orphaned and the widow”… A cap on medical malpractice damages would harm the common good because it would bring greater suffering upon those who have been the victims of medical malpractice. It would have its deepest impact upon the poor, who can least afford to have artificial limits placed on the compensation that might be paid to them, and it would do so to the benefit of individuals and companies of much greater financial power.
The question of raising the tax on cigarettes appears to pose a conflict between positions taken by the North Carolina Council of Churches in previous years. On the one hand, the Council has warned of the health risks associated with cigarette smoking, supported measures leading to better health and providing more accessible health care, and called for steps to limit youth access to cigarettes. On the other hand, the Council has long supported a more progressive tax structure and opposed regressive taxes.
Four years ago, the Council of Churches issued a policy statement on health care that expressed concern about the large number of North Carolinians without adequate health insurance and about the high and increasing cost of health care. Our concern is especially great for those most vulnerable in our society: the poor, children, people of color, and the elderly. At that time, we called for a national health plan that would guarantee universal coverage for health care, coupled with effective cost control, broad-based and equitable financing, and assured quality of services.
The Study Committee on Tobacco was formed by the NC Council of Churches in response to a dilemma faced by the citizens of NC. On the one hand, mounting medical evidence links the use of tobacco with numerous health problems. On the other hand, the long established tobacco economy is threatened. The tendency in NC has been to avoid or ignore the dilemma. Farmers, agribusiness people, manufacturers and distributors of tobacco products, as well as state officials, have found it difficult to deal directly with he crisis precipitated by the increasing pressure of negative health data.
Register now for the first of our Faith & Health: Making the Climate Connection Webinar Series! Join us on Jan. 28th! @NCIPL @healthandfaith #Health #ClimateJustice ncchurches.ourpowerb… pic.twitter.com/OZbi…
Join us along with @NCIPL next Tuesday, Jan. 28 from noon-1 pm as we kickoff our webinar series bridging issues of human health, climate change, & faith. You must register to receive the link -- RSVP here: bit.ly/2sRr3pI #faith #Health #ClimateChange #ClimateJustice pic.twitter.com/x5z1…
Happy to continue growing with @NCIOM in this partnership & building truly health communities together! #HealthyNorthCarolina #healthpolicy #publichealth #driversofhealth #HealthyLiving twitter.com/NCIOM/st…
"Further criminalization of #Fentanyl also drives people who use drugs away from health services and encourages them to engage in more risky drug-taking activity to avoid detection and prosecution." #OpioidCrisis twitter.com/DrugPoli…
RT @rykelongest Thank you all for making this happen. Great work by @NCDEQ @selc_org @CRFRiverkeeper @AppVoices @yadkinrivkeeper @CapeFearRiver @NCEJN @CleanWaterforNC @NCWARN @SierraClubNC @NCConservation @nclcv @NCIPL @HawRiverkeeper and so many more. twitter.com/NC_Gover…
RT @CreationCareWNC Still looking for little Epiphanies? This SALT Video about Eric Masterson, birdwatcher, immigrant, and deep listener may help. "Nightsongs" is a meditation on treasuring what cannot be seen. @saltproject @audubonsociety @AudubonNC vimeo.com/374902765 pic.twitter.com/QoGy…
RT @KHayhoe #AustralianWildFires climate denial claims, "it's arson! it's been warmer before! fire's natural!" The truth? Human-induced climate change is a threat multiplier. It takes existing risks + amplifies them beyond imagining, affecting every living thing on this planet: including us.