Every Friday night, a downtown church in Raleigh, North Carolina, fills with more people than it can hold. The diverse group meets to discuss the logistics of the direct action events that have, since late April, taken place each Monday at the North Carolina State Capitol. The movement is known as “Moral Monday.”
A mix of progressive Christian leaders, college students, minimum wage workers, social workers and many others, the broad coalition of protestors are united in their concern about recent policies by the North Carolina legislature that they believe are a concerted effort to limit the civil and economic rights of ethnic minorities and those living below the poverty line. These policies include a move to make Christianity the official religion of the state, remove extended benefits for over 70,000 people, the decision to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision (which would cover an additional 500,000 people) and the repeal of the state’s earned income credit.
The following reflection was written by alumnus George Payne, who is Peace and Justice Educator at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.
It is clear that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not support military involvement in Syria. Some denounce military action because Syria does not immediately endanger America’s national security. Others contend that two dreadful attempts at nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan have left Americans war weary. And still others decry the use of force based on its limited effectiveness in deterring the Bashar al-Assad regime.There are also detractors who base their opposition on economic and political philosophy. Following a foreign policy agenda that dates back to President Washington, this group asserts that a war in Syria will not promote the mandates of the Constitution, nor will it prevent a foreign dictator from encroaching on the livelihood of American citizens. If this opposition was not staunch enough, President Obama must answer critics within his own party who prefer hard diplomacy to military action. This group believes that diplomatic overtures to China, Iran and Russia may be the only way to bring peaceful order to this crisis.
This message originally appeared as an announcement from the American Baptist Churches of the Rochester/Genesee Region
This September at the Rochester Fringe Festival, Katie Jo Suddaby will be creating Sand Mandalas in the atrium of Geva Theater! Katie Jo is the Pastor of The Baptist Temple in Brighton. When not pastoring, she can be found creating delicate works of art by arranging thousands of tiny grains of brightly-colored sand.
Using her own designs, but employing Tibetan Buddhist techniques, Katie Jo crafts intricate works of art that are not to be missed. For the Fringe, Pastor Katie Jo will work a back-breaking 50 hours crouched over a rotating glass table. Come see the work take shape any time after 5pm on weekdays and after noon on weekends, September 19th through the 28th at Geva. (The works will be on display at Geva Theatre during the two days of Annual Gathering.)
More information at http://rochesterfringe.com/shows/show/sand-mandalas. Hope to see you there!
The following article was written by Roula Alkhouri, who recently earned her D.Min. from CRCDS. She has been Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Batavia since November 2007. She moved from Bend, Oregon, where she served for seven years as associate pastor. Roula is the first Syrian woman ordained into ministry. Roula is married to Mike Stuart who is also an ordained Presbyterian minister. Their daughter Sophia is the joy of their lives.
I write with a heavy heart about the conflict in Syria. Even though I grew up in Syria, I have been away from Syria for over 20 years. So, I write about the conflict in Syria with the disclaimer that I am somewhat of an outsider because I no longer reside in Syria and cannot possibly fully appreciate the suffering of the people of Syria right now. Yet my Syrian roots run deep. My parents, my sister, my niece, and most of my extended family still live there. I also feel a need to speak a prophetic word that comes from my Syrian Christian faith and my commitment to following the way of Jesus which I believe is a way of justice through nonviolence and love.