Faith Leaders Voice Support for Moral Mondays
Faith leaders from across the state and from different traditions continue to speak out in support… Continue Reading
Rep. David Price (Binkley Baptist Church, Chapel Hill)Religious ideas are crucial, both to understanding this history and to dealing with its current manifestations. Realism as to people’s sinfulness and will‐to‐power figured directly in the Constitution’s checking of political power—Madison in The Federalist sounds like a good Calvinist—but taking such beliefs to the extreme can erode all trust and hobble democracy. As for current politics, as Jim Wallis asks in his new book, why should Christians believe in sinless markets any more than they believe in sinless governments?
This workshop on energy policy is also a continuation of Rev. Fletcher Harper’s plenary session (available here) at the 2013 Legislative Seminar. Harper is Executive Director of GreenFaith, a New Jersey-based non-profit committed to building environmental leadership among people of faith. He is also an Episcopal priest.
Tune in as George Reed, our Executive Director here at the NC Council of Churches, explains the legislative process in North Carolina. How can “ordinary citizens” get involved? What strategies can we use to be as effective as possible? Listen as George crams 25 years of experience into one jam-packed hour.
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.”
Sojo.netJesus was a peacemaking, blessed child of God, but he also was an “other.” Reviled and persecuted, he was the paperless son of displaced immigrant parents. The prophetic iconoclast. That guy who hung out with those people, the type most modern leaders would not associate with, except for a photo opportunity at a Thanksgiving Day soup kitchen. Let us remember on Sunday when we celebrate his resurrection, that Jesus was crucified because he was an outsider whose way of doing things scared and angered the powers-that-be.
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.
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.
Durham Herald-SunThe ballot referendum that could cement the definition of marriage as “the only domestic legal union” into the state Constitution has turned a political debate into a religious one — and is mustering people of faith across North Carolina to the polls.
Durham Herald-SunPilgrim United Church of Christ will host a community series this month on “Faith and the Marriage Amendment,” about the proposed North Carolina Amendment 1. If the ballot measure passes May 8, the only valid domestic union recognized by the state will be marriage of a man and a woman.
Read more: The Herald-Sun – Pilgrim UCC hosting series on Amendment 1
The Washington PostWILMINGTON, N.C. — As the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, North Carolina is the next battleground, with religious groups on both sides bracing for a high-stakes fight on May 8.
Against a recent string of gay-marriage victories in California, Washington state and Maryland, North Carolinians will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment on May 8, the same day as the state Republican primary.
Same-sex marriage has been illegal in the Tar Heel State since 1996; Minnesota also has a marriage amendment planned for a vote in November.
Charlotte ObserverEven in February, there’s a lot happening in the community garden at Central United Methodist church in east Charlotte.
A few of the 24 plots still have winter vegetables to harvest. Gardeners are building pea trellises and clearing the ground to start planting early crops.
Langston Denny, a prayer leader at the church, is building a new compost bin. He’s arranged for a local restaurant to give him its lettuce, coffee grounds and eggshells that would otherwise go to waste.
Central United is part of a growing movement among faith groups – in Charlotte and around the nation – that embrace environmental conservation as a way to care for God’s creation and for neighbors in need.
Raleigh News & ObserverWe would not have chosen to be a part of an issue like this, but we are. The world is watching North Carolina to see what we will do. There is compelling evidence that conspiracy to commit kidnapping and torture were committed by Johnston County’s Aero Contractors. The state should investigate these claims and determine their validity.
Raleigh News & ObserverA gathering on a hillside outside a church in West Raleigh late Sunday marked the one-year anniversary since a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., left a federal judge and five other people dead and 13 injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Organizers used the occasion to highlight a shifting focus in what has been a decades-long effort to promote legislation aimed at limiting people’s access to guns.
Instead, there is a growing focus on using churches and other faith-based efforts to promote a change in how the American culture views guns, they said. It’s also an acknowledgement that work in legislatures across the country have been met with resistance to many anti-gun measures.
In his recent Washington Post op-ed article entitled “The Values Debate We’re Not Having,” Richard Cizik highlights the disconnect between an individualist market-first ideology and the Christian calling to love our neighbors. Cizik represented the National Association of Evangelicals in the corridors of power in Washington DC for 10 years. I think he’s raising some crucial questions for all people of faith, across the political spectrum.
While it is true that central to Christian theology is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it would be erroneous to reduce the whole of Christian theology to a set of beliefs. If one surveys the gospels, then a person will find Jesus both expounding upon theology and liberating people. For those who were sick, he cured them of their sickness. For those who were blind, he gave them sight. For those who were saddened, he comforted them. Jesus gave concrete solutions to the problems that people faced in the 1st century and did not merely offer them a set of beliefs.
In one month, our country will mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks on our nation on 9/11. Many denominations, faith groups and religious organizations have prepared materials for use in community gatherings and worship services in congregations – click here for links to those resources. You will also find pastoral care materials and age appropriate resources for children.
Growing up in church, it would be fair for me to say that most sermons I heard were either concerned with A) theology or B) decrying certain practices in our contemporary Western culture. Neither of these is wrong or unimportant, as theology is the bedrock of faith, and there is much to decry in the world. The one thing I rarely heard preached on, however, was issues of social justice. And when preached on, it was through standard channels—witnessing/evangelism, donating food and clothing to our church’s pantry, and giving offerings. These are all well and good, but can we do more than these traditional categories?
The Wild Goose has flown, at least for the 2011 season.
The overwhelming consensus among attendees of the inaugural Wild Goose Festival is that it was quite a successful experiment. People traveled from as far away as Scotland and New Zealand to be part of the event, and presenters ranging from Vincent Harding to Jim Wallis, musicians from Michelle Shocked to Beth Nielsen Chapman—each contributed their own sparks to the thousands of spontaneous and rich conversations that arose between the roughly 1500 people who gathered in Silk Hope, North Carolina this weekend.
DURHAM, N.C. — It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s the South.
That must mean it’s time for an old-fashioned camp meeting.
Starting Thursday, the bygone staple of the tent revival will be reincarnated on a bucolic North Carolina farm as The Wild Goose Festival. Nearly 10 years in the making, the festival is an attempt to reimagine Christianity for the 21st century under a bigger, wider more inclusive tent.
Eastern Wake NewsPoverty afflicts thousands in eastern Wake County – not just those without a job or some other source of income, but even those so-called working poor who live from paycheck to paycheck hoping to avoid a single disaster that could turn their worlds upside down.
The News & ObserverAll the conflict raging about the Wake schools for the past year and a half came spilling out Wednesday night when a panel of federal civil rights investigators heard testimony – often heated – in an East Raleigh church.
The hearing concerned a complaint against Wake Public Schools, filed with the federal education department by the state NAACP. An estimated 200 people nearly filled the fellowship hall at Martin Street Baptist Church, with speakers making emphatic points on both sides of the issues.
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.
Torture conference logoOn March 25 and 26, 2011, the Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina will be hosting a conference on torture. This two-day event aims to equip participants to understand the arguments against torture and to prepare them for anti-torture advocacy within their own communities, trusting that the greatest protection against the U.S. government’s use of torture is a shared understanding that torture is always wrong.
On February 21, 2011, a conference on “Christian Conviction and Cultural Accommodation” will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Greensboro. The conference will begin with Dr. Robert T. Osborn, former professor at Duke University, speaking on The Barmen Declaration, a theological protest against German National Socialism. Then there will be conversation on Christian witness, in the public arena, without accommodating to the prevailing culture.
Letters to the Editor, Raleigh News & ObserverI have the pleasure of serving on the board of the N.C. Council of Churches. I agreed to serve on the board because the council reflects many of my life’s values. The council’s website states: “The Council enables denominations, congregations and people of faith to individually and collectively impact our state on issues such as economic justice and development, human well-being, equality, compassion and peace, following the example and mission of Jesus Christ.”
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 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.
Raleigh News & ObserverOn Christ the King Sunday, when many Roman Catholic and Protestant churches celebrate their allegiance to God rather than country, some Triangle congregations talked about a subject rarely mentioned these days: war. They discussed the rising suicide rate among U.S. Army veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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.
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.
The American IndependentThe NC Council of Churches on Thursday strongly endorsed the right of Muslims to build a community center near the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. “We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters in affirming their right to build on a site two-and-a-half blocks from Ground Zero,” the council said in statement unanimously adopted by its governing board at its meeting this week in Greensboro. The statement comes as controversy flares around a TV ad being aired by North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Renee Ellmers.
The North Carolina Council of Churches represents 6,200 congregations in 17 denominations statewide. The North Carolina Council of Churches condemns all religious violence. As people of Christian faith, we value a teaching common to the Abrahamic faiths, which in the Christian tradition is expressed as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As Christians in a nation largely founded by religious refugees, we value the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and proudly proclaimed worldwide as a foundational principle of United States government and society. For freedom of religion to have substance and integrity, it must extend to people of all faiths.
Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn, Temple Emanuel (Winston-Salem)What is it about the rear side of a car that they are a primary location to display our affiliations: sports, political groups, rock bands, restaurants, ideologies, personal interests, vacation spots, synagogues (a very popular one here in Winston-Salem)… You see these signs everywhere.
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.
In seeking to capture the essence of the past 25 years, this history brings the Council’s story up to the present as we celebrate 75 years of ecumenical service in the cause of justice and peace. Nothing has changed in the basic purposes of the Council. However, the manner in which these ministries have taken place shows a keen awareness of the changing times and the need to be current in the most effective ways to address the issues of the day in our witness to the people of this state.
What: Clergy Breakfast on Health
When: Thursday, Aug. 26, 8:30-10am
Where: St. James AME Zion Church, Goldsboro (206 S. George St.)
Why: Discuss opportunities for clergy to improve their health as well as the health of their congregants through PHW and other faith-based health initiatives.
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.
Rev. Jonah Kendall, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church (Durham)Where are we with this? Have we ever used our faith to challenge and disrupt? For on this Ascension Sunday when we’ve been called by Christ to proclaim a message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins, that is God’s love for all, when we have heard in Acts about Paul and Silas, about how the proclamation of this love can lead to imprisonment, we’re invited to ask ourselves how our lives show forth Christ’s Gospel, a Gospel that precisely because it proclaims a love and well-being for all is radical and disruptive.
Dr. H. Stephen Shoemaker, Myers Park Baptist ChurchFor the love of Christ controls us, lays claim to us, compels us, grasps us at our deepest being. This is the heart of Christianity for Paul: the love of Christ permeating and shaping our lives, sweeping through us as breath carrying oxygen to every cell in the body. Paul’s words in this passage are more than prose; they are incantation.
Religious liberty is sometimes called the “first freedom.” While this is not the place to debate the relative worth of our many freedoms, the simple fact is that, when you begin to read our Bill of Rights, what you read first are the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment. Many of us in the religious community feel that religious freedom is a hallmark of American liberty and that it has made possible a vibrancy and diversity in religious life unlike that in most other countries, without the religious turmoil found in many parts of the world.
Disagreements about the proper role of religion in public schools divide local communities and fuel national controversies. Across North Carolina and the United States battles are being fought over school prayer, the celebration of religious holidays, sex education, Bible courses, evolution and creationism. The voucher movement is fueled, in large part, by the opposition of religious conservatives to public education. Many members of Congress are pressing for a constitutional amendment that would permit organized prayer in public schools.
Fifteen years ago the N. C. Council of Churches’ House of Delegates adopted a statement on the subject of Christians, churches, and politics. This statement is an update of that earlier one, repeating some of the same points but also elaborating on some new ones. Once again we raise the question, should church groups be involved in politics? What is appropriate or inappropriate in this area?
The statement sets forth some guidelines on some aspects of religion and politics which reflect the perspective of the N. C. Council of Churches and which we commended to the denominational bodies which comprise the Council’s membership. The guidelines offered do not cover every aspect of the subject, but touch upon several which seem urgent at the current time.
The history of the North Carolina Council of Churches is the story of persons, religious leaders struggling to respond in faith to the signs of their times. Sometimes the signs could be clearly read; at other times they had to be discerned through a glass darkly. The records show that the leaders would prefer to be measured in terms of the fullheartedness of their responses rather than the accuracy of their discernment, in terms of their deeds rather than their words. This document outlines the first fifty years of the Council’s work in North Carolina.
2021 is the year for drawing districts in each state after the completion of the US Census. Check out the @LWV's blog on encouraging people to speak up about the drawing of fair maps. Read now >> lwv.org/blog/redistr… pic.twitter.com/4KMR…
ICYMI: Rob Schofield from @NCPolicyWatch highlights five hard truths that need to be addressed about violence against the AAPI community and other people of color in this commentary. Read more at the link >> ncpolicywatch.com/20…
Read Steve Ford's new Raleigh Report on H.B. 446, a new voting rights bill: "'Safeguarding Voting Rights,' introduced March 31 as House Bill 446, would protect popular voting options and in general encourage citizens to have their say at the polls." ncchurches.org/2021/…
ICYMI: Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, a scientist & Christian, says we are at a "love your neighbor" moment, when Americans can get vaccinated to help protect the vulnerable from severe illness and death. Watch now: youtube.com/watch?v=…
"We lost 88,000 people in the 12-month period ending in August 2020.'" (@NPRHealth) npr.org/2021/04/01/9… Please hold the #harmreduction community close and learn more about how you can get involved by visiting our website at ncchurches.org/progr…. #MindfulTogether
Happy Easter! Today we find comfort in God's love that heals and nourishes our spirits. As we celebrate Easter again in the midst of COVID-19, let's continue to hold each other close from a distance as we await the moment we may hold each other close in person once again. pic.twitter.com/2BHP…
RT @foe_us HUGE WIN! Thank you @POTUS for giving NOAA the funding it needs to protect the ocean & coastal communities from the climate crisis. @NOAA, use these new dollars wisely – don't add more industrial fish farms to our public waters! #DontCageOurOcean washingtonpost.com/w…
RT @mocleanair The U.S. has released most of the GHG that are in the air now. We need a #USFairSharesNDC to set a fair, just, and ambitious goal to slow down global warming: 195% emissions reduction by 2030, to keep us in line with the #1o5C climate goal. #ClimateJustice foe.org/usa-fair-sha…
RT @RepDeborahRoss The offshore wind industry is projected to invest nearly $140 billion in the U.S. by 2035 for the manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of offshore wind projects.
RT @RepDeborahRoss Yesterday, @RepDavidRouzer and I led members of the NC delegation in a letter urging BOEM to promptly and responsibly advance lease sales of wind energy areas off our coast. NC has the potential to be a leader in offshore wind generation capacity and manufacturing. pic.twitter.com/QDFn…