In response to Rep. King’s hearings on the radicalization of Islam in the United States, an organization called Muslim Advocates, based in Washington, DC, created a web site, whatunitesus.us, built […]
NCCC in the News
We're often featured in the media, especially the opinion pages. Check out some recent articles below.
Some community gardens give each person a small plot of land that is theirs to cultivate for a fee.
But at the Community Garden of Promise, they weed together, plant together, mulch together and harvest together.
“This garden means fellowship to me, and the camaraderie we have with each other,” said Caroline Martin of Kernersville. “I love working in the dirt; it gets me closer to God. It’s one of the places I can meditate and relax. And I enjoy the fact that we help other people.”
As the legislature returns to Raleigh, all eyes will be on the budget with its projected shortfall of over $3 billion. But observers expect a slew of bills on other issues as well, including one that always attracts controversy: immigration. No doubt it will be tempting for some lawmakers to try to implement Arizona’s “papers, please” immigration law here in North Carolina. But as we have already learned from Arizona, this approach is shortsighted and misguided.
Durham Herald-SunOn Sunday morning, the importance of caring for God’s creation will be preached from the pulpits of hundreds of churches. The common topic thread is part of Interfaith Power & Light’s National Global Warming Preach-In this weekend.
At Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, the Rev. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham will urge her congregation to be mindful about how they walk on the earth and to respect creation and that God has given them this beauty.
Last year, 50 congregations in North Carolina were among the 400 preach-in participants. North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, which is based in Raleigh, is a program of the N.C. Council of Churches.
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.
NC Policy WatchIn recent days, the Internet has been abuzz with revelations brought to us by “Wikileaks” of comments that were never intended to be public. Meanwhile, George W. Bush is touring to promote his new book, enthusiastically admitting that he violated international and US law. As the US government calls for accountability for Mr. Assange of Wikileaks, it must consider the applicability of its own words to other situations.
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.
The American IndependentNorth Carolina faith leaders today called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act to provide opportunities for education and citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The faith leaders’ statement issued through the NC Council of Churches is part of a national push led by President Obama to get the bill through during the lame-duck session. The current Democratic majority in both chambers might muster the votes for its passage. Republicans, who will take control of the House in January, generally oppose the bill.
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.
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.
Chapel Hill NewsChurch of Reconciliation, 110 N. Elliott Road, has been certified as an “Earth Care Congregation” by the Presbyterian Church USA’s Environmental Ministries. To become an Earth Care Congregation, the church affirmed the Earth Care pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into all facets of its church life, and completed projects and activities in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach.
Raleigh News & ObserverA coalition of North Carolina faith and justice groups marked the passage of nine years in the U.S. war in Afghanistan on Thursday with a call for peace and a vigil for dead servicemen and Afghans. N.C. Peace Action, along with the Muslim American Society and N.C. Council of Churches, held the vigil at Community United Church of Christ in Raleigh, and also rallied to redirect the money spent on war toward domestic initiatives. “We must rethink the war in Afghanistan,” said David LaMotte, program associate for the N.C. Council of Churches, which represents more than 6,200 Christian congregations from 17 denominations throughout the state.
“Brother Towns/Pueblos Hermanos” tells the story of two towns, Jacaltenango, Guatemala, and Jupiter, Fla., that are linked by immigration, family and work. It traces the path of people who travel thousands of miles from home in the hopes of making a living and being able to send money back to their families. While conducting graduate field research in Jacaltenango, Thompson realized that violence and economics had driven thousands of men and women from the Guatemalan town to Florida. His film captures that as well as the voices of people opposed to undocumented immigrants and those who are advocates for helping migrants, regardless of their documentation status.
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.
Qué Pasa Media NetworkAlthough public opinion concerning immigration reform remains divided across the country, the NC Council of Churches is working to create a more welcoming environment and to inform the public about the situation facing millions of people without papers.
Beginning in October, the Council will start screening the new film Brother Towns, a documentary by filmmaker Charles Thompson. The film describes the journey taken by Mayan populations from Jacaltenango, Guatemala to the city of Jupiter, Florida where these immigrants have brought their culture and settled over the years.
Qué Pasa Media NetworkRaleigh – Aunque el tema de la reforma migratoria mantiene dividido a la opinión pública del país, el Concilio de Iglesias de Carolina del Norte sigue trabajando para crear un efecto positivo entre los residentes del estado y sensibilizarlos sobre la situación que atraviesan millones de personas sin papeles.
A partir de octubre se proyectará “Pueblos Hermanos”, un documental del cineasta Charles Thompson, que se enfoca en describir la travesía desarrollada por pobladores mayas de Jacaltenango, Guatemala, hacia la ciudad de Júpiter, en el estado de la Florida, donde estos inmigrantes se han ido asentado con el paso de los años y trasladado parte de su cultura.
NC Policy WatchThree students go on a hunger strike outside a U.S. Senator’s office. Two young children wave a tearful goodbye to their father, not knowing when they will ever see him again. Hundreds march in the streets of Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. And all of these events occurred because our broken immigration system continues to undermine families across the state. What lessons can we learn from this summer’s immigration debate?
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.
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.
Qué Pasa Media NetworkThe Methodists appear to be one step ahead of other religious congregations in North Carolina when it comes to the work of promoting immigration reform. One of the denomination’s main statewide leaders, Bishop Al Gwinn, was one of the keynote speakers at a breakfast this past Thursday organized by the North Carolina Council of Churches in Raleigh.
Qué Pasa Media NetworkSu principal líder a nivel estatal, el obispo Al Gwinn, fue uno de los principales oradores en el desayuno que organizó el Concilio de Iglesias de Carolina del Norte en Raleigh, el pasado jueves. El clérigo destacó las iniciativas y esfuerzos que realizan distintas agrupaciones de su denominación religiosa, pero aclaró que todavía falta seguir educando a más metodistas estadounidenses sobre un tema tan controversial.
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.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe young women who went on a hunger strike in downtown Raleigh should be commended for their courage. They only want the chance to go to college and earn legal status in this country in order to contribute fully to society.
Asheville Citizen-TimesThe title on David Lamotte’s business card sounds a little audacious: “peace associate.” But that’s Lamotte’s job with the North Carolina Council of Churches, and he’s serious about the work. Lamotte just spent two years living abroad and studying rigorously to earn a master’s degree in international relations and peace and conflict resolution. Now the former singer-songwriter who was once a fixture on the local music scene is ready to apply what he’s learned.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, has organized a wide range of church groups that have historically been involved in civil rights and social justice issues to oppose the move to neighborhood schools in Wake County. Using language heavy with religious overtones and accompanied by a comparison between ending the diversity policy and the old Jim Crow segregation laws, speakers at a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol argued that they had the moral high ground in the fight.
Raleigh News & ObserverWhen hurricanes or earthquakes hit, religious congregations know how to respond with acts of good will and charity. But what about an oil spill?
Many Triangle congregations are finding their voice.
Tonight two churches will hold vigils to pray and reflect on the BP oil rig disaster. On Sunday, the two-month anniversary of the oil spill, many Christians will attempt a daylong fast from oil in whatever way they find appropriate.
Charlotte ObserverState clergy will meet in Charlotte tomorrow to discuss the theological and practical sides of the immigration debate. Seeking to encourage constructive dialogue, clergy members are expected to discuss the controversial Arizona immigration law and how they relate with local enforcement efforts such as Mecklenburg County’s 287g program.
Raleigh News & ObserverWhat would an oil spill mean on our coast? We wouldn’t be walking on the beach or eating local fish. We’d be cleaning oil off the pelicans. Fisherfolk would not be out in their boats. No families would be rolling their provisions to the beach. We wouldn’t be marveling at the beauty of the ocean. The sea air would not be something we’d want to breathe. The rental housing market would be nonexistent.
Wilmington Star-NewsHow do you fix lunch for a hundred or so fellow worshipers at your hometown church – and still keep the dishes low in calories, salt and cholesterol? The N.C. Council of Churches might have the answer to your problem.
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.
Raleigh News & ObserverBy the time H. Shelton Smith was hired to teach at Duke University in 1931, the movement to unite Christians of different denominations was under way in New York and other places.
But four years later when Smith founded the N.C. Council of Churches, the idea that Christians of various stripes could work together, especially in overcoming racial segregation, was still largely unheard of in the South.
Today, the N.C. Council of Churches is marking 75 years of activism on a broad range of issues, including racial equality, women’s empowerment, children’s health care, prison reform, farmworker rights and environmental conservation.
Greensboro News & RecordThe church is hosting a statewide clergy breakfast on immigration Thursday, the latest in a series of meetings sponsored by the N.C. Council of Churches.
The issue is a complicated one, Beverly says, but like a lot of people of faith, she is calling on elected leaders to work on an immigration process that unifies families, protects workers’ rights, and provides a clear pathway to citizenship.
The interfaith breakfast discussion, “From Hostility to Hospitality: Immigration and People of Faith,” examines both the theological and practical sides of the debate.
Associated PressThe North Carolina Council of Churches celebrates Tuesday with an evening of events at the Duke University Divinity School. The council has been a voice for social justice in North Carolina since it was formed in 1935.
Raleigh News & ObserverAs you reported recently, Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan opposes the new Arizona law targeting immigrants because it undermines public safety. The N.C. Council of Churches agrees with Dolan and other law enforcement agencies that such draconian measures are both impractical and immoral.
This law allows any person to be stopped by police if there is reasonable suspicion of being undocumented. Encouraging these fearful sentiments is wrong. It sends us backward as a nation in a time when we need real solutions to move us forward.
Eastern Wake NewsRALEIGH – As people of faith, we are greatly disturbed by reports of local law enforcement targeting Spanish-language church services in their misguided hunt for undocumented immigrants in Zebulon. All people – regardless of their immigration status – have the right to worship free from harassment and unconstitutional checkpoints. Just because someone doesn’t have the right papers for the U.S. government does not make him or her any less a child of God. It’s shameful that a country so proud of its religious freedom would unfairly target church-going members of the community.
Greensboro News & RecordFor 75 years the N.C. Council of Churches has offered a faith voice for progressive social justice and Christian unity in North Carolina. Founded by a group of white church leaders who were opposed to segregation and wanted to speak with a unified voice on issues, the council has continued its work for racial justice, but has expanded to include other areas at the forefront of social advocacy.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe N.C. Council of Churches is among the sponsors of the conference, which will begin with an interfaith meditation led by Rabbi Raachel Jurovics of Raleigh and will include the participation ofAbdullah Antepli, the Muslim chaplain at Duke.
“The idea that we would deface the divine figure is repugnant in all our traditions,” said Jurovics. Judaism, Christianity and Islam consider human beings to be made in God’s image.
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.
Wilmington Star-NewsThe Faith and Health Summit is March 23 in Raleigh to bring health care providers and faith leaders together to work toward health care reform or just to understand each other a little better.
You know, that whole conflict between religion and science? This summit also addresses those big questions in an effort to make North Carolina congregations healthier.
Governor Beverly Perdue is the main speaker at the Summit’s luncheon, and the Rev. Dr. Gary Gunderson of Methodist Healthcare in Memphis, TN will give the keynote address. Churches can check out a series of workshops on mental health, church-sponsored community gardens, health disparities, faith-based emergency preparedness and congregational health.
NC Policy WatchSo, what would comprehensive immigration reform mean for us? Imagine having a system that reflected both the realities of a global economy and our best values. Families would be stronger, enforcement would be more effective, workers would be better paid and protected, and American workers would not face discrimination from unscrupulous employers.
Wilmington Star-NewsLast week, the council sent an email to all the churches on its New Han over County database titled “Opposing re-segregation in the schools,” that encouraged church leaders to sign petitions being circulated against middle school redistricting. The organization isn’t formally planning an event in the area, said executive director George Reed. The Council is a Raleigh-based group that organizes churches in the state around social justice issues.
Raleigh News & ObserverMany politicians are saying that they want to address the root causes of our immigration situation, but they go on to talk only about increased enforcement. Of course, we are a nation of laws and the rule of law should be upheld. But experience and common sense show us that merely building a bigger wall won’t work because enforcement alone does not deal with the root causes.