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Social Justice

The purpose of Benson’s Memorial’s Work Area for Church & Society is to raise awareness of issues of justice and peace within our society and how we as a Christian community are called to social service, social education, social witness and social action in our local community, our state, our nation and the world. Our focus is on long-term, root causes of social injustice and suffering while we also work closely with the Work Area on Missions to identify and meet immediate needs through acts of mercy. We affirm our church’s longstanding commitment to these acts of mercy, which can produce immediate, tangible results. But we also affirm that we are called by Christ to confront the societal causes of injustice and suffering in our world.

 

Biblical Basis for Peace and Justice

 

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6.8

 

 

“…Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and did nothing for you?” And he will answer, “I tell you this: anything you did not do for one of these, however humble, you did not do for me.” –Matthew 25.44-46


Living Our Faith Series Begins May 22

Benson’s third annual Living Our Faith series begins Wednesday, May 22, and continues through July 17. Focused on social justice issues that affect the most vulnerable among us, this year’s schedule features an outstanding slate of topics and speakers:
  • May 22: "Poverty in North Carolina" with Gene Nichol, Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor at UNC and author of The Faces of Poverty in North Carolina: Stories from Our Invisible Citizens.
  • May 29: "Homelessness Among Wake County School Students" with JenniferTisdale, Project REACH Coordinator, an initiative of Passage Home to help homeless students enroll and stay in school, and Sarah Sabornie, REACH Advisory Council Co-Chair.
  • June 5: "Eyewitness to the Mideast Refugee Crisis" with Benson’s own Alex Johnson shares life story interviews she had with Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian refugees during her recent trip to Jordan.
  • June 12: "The Importance of Public Defense" with Thomas K. Maher, Executive Director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, offers insight into the crucial role of public defenders in our criminal justice system.
  • June 19: "Touching the Poor Among Us in Wake County " with John Luckett, CEO of Raleigh Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that has been serving the homeless in our community for nearly 60 years.
  • July 10: "Prisoner Re-entry: Second Chances" with Daryl Atkinson, Co-Director, Forward Justice, a nonpartisan law, policy, and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the U.S. South.
  • July 17: "Approaching Climate Change on Common Ground" with Donald Addu,Southeast Regional Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
The series will be held at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evenings in the Fellowship Hall. Make plans now to attend to gain a deeper understanding of these complex issue and explore how we are called to respond as servants of Christ.
 

Enlarging the Circle Reconciling Community

The Benson Memorial Enlarging the Circle Reconciling Community is dedicated to living with open hearts, open minds, and open doors. We recognize that all persons are created in the image of God, loved by God, and reconciled to God through Christ. We also believe that, in the words of John Wesley, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?” In that light, we are committed to welcoming, affirming, embracing, and including as part of our faith community all children of God—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, race, sex, ability, ethnicity, national origin, culture, education, faith tradition, or family, marital or socioeconomic status—treating all equally and with dignity.

 

As members of Enlarging the Circle, we are pledged to:

  • Connect and engage with people of different perspectives and walks of life, especially those who have faced and may face discrimination;
  • Accompany and support people of different perspectives and walks of life at church or other events to affirm all people’s worth and to provide safe haven;
  • Advocate with others who may not understand or accept different perspectives;
  • Amplify all people’s concerns and needs and help make all voices heard;
  • Impede efforts to discriminate; and
  • Celebrate all and rejoice with all.

Areas of Focus

Mental Health
In June 2014, Benson Memorial presented a resolution before the North Carolina Conference requesting that the Conference provide a one-time scholarship for graduate student-level research on mental health care options and make recommendations to improve treatment and care in the state of North Carolina. We are hopeful to have the resolution approved and funded at the 2015 Annual Conference.


Poverty/Children/Wage Inequality
The church has a DVD copy of the documentary film “Inequality for All,” which explores the widening income gap between the poor and rich in America. Sunday school classes and other groups are invited to use the film to study and discuss the issue. The film can be divided into three half hour sessions; study guides and discussion questions are also available. Contact John Rees by email or by phone at 919.787.5510. You can also contact Billie Carson by email or by phone at 919.896.6114.


Guns & Violence

 

Special Interest Money and Influence in Politics
Here are links to two videos on this topic:

  • How Public Power Can Defeat Plutocrats,” a look at how government has become a clearinghouse for corporations and wealthy individuals to buy the politicians who grease the wheels for lucrative contracts and easy regulation.

 

Common Cause North Carolina (CCNC) is dedicated to strengthening democracy and making government more open, honest, and accountable. CCNC advocates in the legislature, int he media, and in the public square for reforms that restore public confidence in government and its representatives. Specifically, CCNC seeks to curb undue special interest influence, promote ethics in government, and connect underrepresented voters to the democratic process. Click here for more information or email John Rees.

 

Human Trafficking

 

Energy and the Environment
John Rees has a PowerPoint presentation on Global Warming and Energy that he has given to several adult Sunday School classes. If you are interested in having John do a presentation for your group, please contact him via email or by phone at 919.787.5510.