Mental Health and Race: Barriers, Ideas, & Sacred Work (Part III)
To read Part I of this series, click here. To read Part II of this series,… Continue Reading
Date: Good Friday – Apr. 18, 2014
Topic: The Death Penalty
Focus Text: John 18:1-19:42
Because Christians have come to understand the cross as a rich symbol of all that God has accomplished in Jesus it is sometimes easy to forget that the symbol of our faith is (or was) also an instrument of torture and execution (it is certainly more than that, but not less). The details of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion are a reminder that Jesus did in fact receive a form of capital punishment. As ethicist Glen Stassen writes, “Christians who remember that their Lord was unjustly and cruelly given the death penalty have a hard time being enthusiastic about imposing the death penalty on others.”
Date: Baptism of the Lord – Jan. 12, 2014
Topic: Racism & Reconciliation
Focus Text: Acts 10:34-43
This joining and reconciliation of people, Jews and gentiles, but also strangers and enemies of all kinds, has already begun with the work of Christ. In Christ, God invites us on the journey of reconciliation, the same journey of the church in Acts: a journey that includes the hard work of speaking someone else’s language (Pentecost), sharing food, resources, money, and space (Acts 2), transgressing social divides (Acts 10), dismantling discrimination (Acts 6:1-6), forming new intimacy and identity (Acts 11:19-26), and speaking out against injustice (Gal. 2:11-14).
Because the season of Advent is a time of awaiting the Christ child and the risen Christ, it is a perfect time to think about social justice issues. Christ’s ministry, which is explored in other seasons of the Christian year, focuses on lifting up those whom society regarded as worthless or weak, including the poor, the ill, the foreigner, women, and children. Social justice was at the core of Jesus’ ministry. Based on the Advent readings for Lectionary Year A, this guide will assist you in slowing down this season by taking 20-30 minutes one night a week to focus on social justice.
I finally had the chance to go my first Moral Monday earlier this week. Walking around Halifax Mall with our Executive Director, George Reed, I was struck by how many people we both knew. I’m deeply proud of the involvement by clergy and faith communities in particular. So many of our members are represented not only in the crowd but also in the faces of those participating in civil disobedience and getting arrested. As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we give thanks not only for the many freedoms our country offers, but in particular for the countless faithful voices speaking up and speaking out for those who are being pushed to the margins by this General Assembly.
Winston-Salem ChronicleThe Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation has partnered with the North Carolina Council of Churches to provide grants to faith-based organizations to help them supply healthy eating alternatives to their members and underserved communities.
United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church (UMMBC) is one of 20 faith-based organizations that have received a $5,000 Healthy Eating Equipment Grant. The church will use the grant to purchase much needed equipment and supplies to support the 10 gardens that now comprise the S.G. Atkins Community Gardens at Winston-Salem State University.
A leader against economic injustice and two longtime advocates on the Council’s board have received the North Carolina Council of Churches’ highest honors.
Gene Nichol received the Faith Active in Public Life Award. Barbara Volk and Sydnor Thompson II were recognized with Distinguished Service awards. All three were presented at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar which took place April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
Speaking to 200 social justice advocates, Gene Nichol delivered a powerful luncheon address at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar held April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. He received the Council’s Faith Active in Public Life Award at the Seminar for his “courageous, dedicated, humane and compassionate witness in the political arena.” Rev. George Reed, the Council’s Executive Director, introduced Nichol by saying in part, “To know Gene is to see the embodiment of Catholic social teaching about social justice and the common good.”
The NC Council of Churches, American Red Cross and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC are partnering together to provide more Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training to places of worship in select counties. To date, 183 congregations have received an award.
To learn more or to complete an application, please click here. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 24.
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.
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.
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.
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 is the purpose of education wherever it takes place, moving beyond rote repetition to provide each learner the possibility of a future better than what might otherwise be expected. Psalm 78 invites humility, gratitude, and “the exercise of power in the form of love, not of force.
The 2011 session of the General Assembly adjourned around midday on Saturday, June 18. Legislative leaders and the media are trumpeting the efficiency of the session and the fact that this is the earliest adjournment since 1973. But that is misleading since they aren’t really finished with their work. The adjournment resolution calls them back into a special session on July 13. At that time, they will take up the thorny issue of redistricting as well as controversial bills from the just-ended session which remain in conference committees and any bills vetoed by the Governor.
If there were such a thing as a six o’clock news cast in the first century, Jesus the felon would appear walking down the street escorted by the police of his day—handcuffed—if you will. The announcer would tell us that the vandal who destroyed Temple property and repeatedly broke Jewish laws; the welfare king who relied on the generosity of unsuspecting middle class women to promote his suspicious doctrine; the man known to frequent the establishments of tax collectors and prostitutes—and claimed to be God, had finally been apprehended and was awaiting sentencing. Yes, in the minds of this first century felon’s accusers, he was little more than a common criminal.
A Reflection on Public Education in God’s World Today
Rev. Joe Brown, chair of the Council’s Public Education Committee and a Presiding Elder in the AME Zion Church, is encourging congregations across North Carolina to use a Lenten Study Guide which has been created by members of the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy.
The celebration of the Council’s 75th anniversary in 2010 was a timely reminder of the rich history behind this organization and an affirmation of the bright future ahead of it. Program associate Chris Liu-Beers has collected some of both in this slideshow that explains beautifully how the NC Council of Churches got its start as well as where it’s going.
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 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 . . .
News 14 CarolinaOutside a closed door meeting with fellow clergy and attorneys at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber, a representative from the North Carolina Council of Churches and fellow Wake school board protest arrestees talked future tactics on how they plan to take on the changing policies of the board.
Independent WeeklyLeaders in the pro-diversity movement who are battling the Wake school board majority to stop resegregation of the county’s school system, have called a prayer meeting for Monday, August 30 at 7 p.m. in Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.
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.
ICYMI: Check out our spotlight piece on Olive Branch Ministry, Hickory, to learn more about their faith-based harm reduction work serving the foothills and piedmont of North Carolina. ncchurches.org/2021/…
This Earth Month, we're calling on our network to advocate with compassion for a just & sustainable future. To support you in this hard & holy work, @NCIPL complied a toolkit with policy positions, calls to action, & how we engage in faith-based advocacy. ncchurches.org/advoc…
Make sure to register for our upcoming Legislative Seminar. Our opening worship service and award ceremony will honor Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, with the Faith Active in Public Life award. ncchurches.ourpowerb… pic.twitter.com/rG7U…
Faith Climate Action Week is coming up! This year's theme is Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between our Faith, our Food, and the Climate. Follow the link to find events >> faithclimateactionwe…
Now that all North Carolinians age 16+ are eligible to receive a #COVID19 vaccine, use the @ncdhhs resource hub to find a local provider near you to get your shot! #MySpotMyShotNC #NC covid19.ncdhhs.gov/v… #MindfulTogether
Join us next Thurs., April 22 for our Sacred Conversations event on caring for creation. We'll be discussing environmental caretaking, collective action, and our Sustainability Pledge. Register online at ncchurches.ourpowerb… @NCIPL #MindfulTogether #EarthDay pic.twitter.com/GTpI…
Read our spotlight piece on Olive Branch Ministry to learn more about their faith-based harm reduction work serving the foothills and piedmont of North Carolina. ncchurches.org/2021/… @olivebranchgals #MindfulTogether pic.twitter.com/xj2U…
Our work has led us to recognize the impact our environment has on our health and ability to flourish. Click below to read more about our commitment to being stewards of God’s good Creation through our Sustainability Pledge. ncchurches.org/phw-s… @NCIPL #MindfulTogether
RT @RogueClimate “Lets talk about the fact that the ways in which the planet has been so exploited are directly related to capitalism, to racial capitalism. Racial capitalism reflects the way in which capitalism came into being, colonization and slavery.” Angela Davis #powershift2021 pic.twitter.com/gQIH…
RT @miclegend310 At #PowerShift2021 day 3 learning from impacted residents fighting back from Cancer Alley. Grateful for this opportunity to learn and follow actions that support and protect our people pic.twitter.com/P70M…
RT @faithinplace Next week is #FaithClimateActionWeek! Join @interfaithpower on April 21 @ 1pm CT for “Sacred Ground: A Message of Hope”—a conversation with @kissthegroundoc filmmaker @JoshTickell & Statewide Outreach Dir. Veronica Kyle on @faithinplace amazing CSAs! bit.ly/Sacred-Ground… pic.twitter.com/xxX7…
RT @ecoAmerica Register for the American Climate Leadership Summit today for the opportunity to join 1000+ climate leaders including Nana Firman, Senior Ambassador of @greenfaithworld to help move America along the solutions path faster! Sign up here: acls2021.org #ACLS2021 pic.twitter.com/Rdxc…