In addition to work related to the five priorities of the diocesan mission strategy, the Diocese of North Carolina is involved in other areas of advocacy through a number of ministries:
COUNCIL OF ADVICE ON PUBLIC POLICY (CAPP): The Council of Advice on Public Policy serves as an advisory board to the bishops on public policy issues of the day through the lens of “What can the church do about this?” The work of the council is to conduct research, draft letters, engage in quiet diplomacy with elected leaders and rally allies to show up in support for shared causes of concern, all of which assists diocesan leadership in speaking out on the issues of the day and anticipating legislation and other matters of public policy where they might articulate and advocate for the gospel values that Jesus preached about and taught: love of neighbor, care for the vulnerable, justice for those who are oppressed.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The work of the Bishop's Committee on Affordable Housing focuses on affordable housing in North Carolina, especially for lower-income families, the lack of which is at crisis levels. The committee believes it’s critically important for everyone, and in particular people of faith, to be informed and to know affordable housing is a vital part of infrastructure, every bit as much as roads and bridges. Without access to affordable housing, investments in transportation and infrastructure will fall short of creating vibrant communities.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: The Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence was created for exactly what its name implies: the work of reducing gun violence in all its forms. The focus of the group is on issues where the Diocese of North Carolina might affect change, either in a leadership role or in partnership with others. Some of these areas include the development of resources to educate and assist churches in developing safety plans; education around the role of mental illness, behavioral health challenges and other factors in gun violence; and the development of a long-term plan to build a sustainable infrastructure to position the Diocese for ongoing calls to action, programs, education and advocacy.
IMMIGRATION: Both the Diocese of North Carolina and the broader Episcopal Church have consistently supported compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that respects the dignity of individuals, the sanctity of families and our scriptural mandate to care for the strangers among us. The Diocese continues to collect and share resources designed to explain the Diocese's and the Episcopal Church's stances on immigration and immigration reform and for better understanding the complex issue surrounding immigration and how our scriptural tradition sheds light on those issues.
MONEY BAIL ADVOCACY: For several years, the Diocese has worked to increase awareness of and call for the reform of our country's money bail system. The work is a collaborative effort between the Bishop’s Committee on Prison Ministry; the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee and the Chartered Committee on Lifelong Christian Formation.
PRISON MINISTRY: The Bishop's Commitee on Prison Ministry was created to raise awareness of the need to bring Christ's light into North Carolina jails and prisons. The committee works in partnership with several organizations, including Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries, Yokefellow Prison Ministry and the Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women.
REFUGEES: The work of diocesan refugee ministries focuses on supporting needs of those beginning a new life in the United States after being forced to flee their home country. This is done through the support of local refugee resettlement agencies engaged in the work, education on what it means to be a refugee and the challenges refugee status can present, and advocacy for refugees in local communities and around the world.
SANCTUARY: It is part of the church’s mission to serve as a safe space for persons at risk of being treated inhumanely, and to call those in positions of power to use their power in just and merciful ways. Churches may do this work in a variety of ways, beginning with getting to know our immigrant neighbors, receiving the gifts they bring, and offering spiritual, emotional and material support to them and their families. Befriending immigrant neighbors may also lead churches to advocate for legal reforms and, in some cases, to offer sanctuary by sheltering someone at immediate risk of being deported. For those considering offering such shelter, the Diocese works to provide the resources needed for a thorough discernment process.