Church

Keri Brown / WFDD

Karleigh King stands on her front porch, warming up her voice while her kids are down for naptime. This is her new normal, singing hymns at home, not with her congregation at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The building reopened earlier this month, but it looks a little different. Space is limited to 50 people, so there’s an online signup sheet. Every other church pew is blocked off for personal distancing. Only about a quarter of the congregation is attending indoor services right now.

Facebook / First Presbyterian Church

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court sided with church leaders ⁠— and ruled against Gov. Roy Cooper's prohibition on in-person church gatherings. After Cooper chose not to pursue an appeal of the provisional restraining order, thousands of churchgoers returned to pews across the state.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Several sheriffs across the state signaled this week they won't enforce North Carolina's ban on church services held indoors. 

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are getting ready to meet in Raleigh again next week for a session where the coronavirus pandemic will still be looming large. 

The John Locke Foundation's Becki Gray and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch consider those developments and whether it's a matter of if or now when U.S. Sen. Richard Burr steps aside as he's dogged by an insider trading investigation. 


Cooper sitting leaned over a table with reporters standing behind him.
NC Governor Roy Cooper

Hundreds of people protested Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home restrictions for churches in Raleigh Thursday morning.

Courtesy of Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Whether passing the peace, the communion chalice or the collection plate, touch is central to many church congregations. But while church members are sheltering at home, pastors and faith leaders have had to find new ways to provide their parishioners with a sense of togetherness.

The silhouette of a person in front of a broken stained glass window
Watkins Stained Glass Studio

Is it easier to turn the other cheek while packing heat? Like the Vedas, Torah and Quran, the New Testament’s verdict on violence and self-defense is a moving target.

Screen grab from an old nontheatrical film showing a young African American athlete on a field with white peers.
Courtesy of Duke University Press

Do you remember watching educational movies in elementary school? Older generations might think of the teacher setting up the 16 mm projector, while younger folks were assigned YouTube videos to watch at home.

Robert Lee IV, a descendant of Confederate General Robert Lee, speaks out against racism at the 2017 VMA's on 8/27/2017. Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, appears on stage.
Matt Sayles / AP - 2017

Robert W. Lee IV is a North Carolina minister and descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Robert W. Lee IV has made it his mission to counter the racist and problematic legacy of his ancestor by writing and speaking openly about the continued effects of racism in the U.S. 

A set of three security cameras on the side of a church all pointing in the wrong direction in Durham, North Carolina.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

County sheriff offices across North Carolina are now offering security training for churches.

Eddie Caldwell of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association said churches began asking for help after the mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C. this summer.

Image of John Heinemeier
York Wilson for Faith & Leadership

The Rev. John Heinemeier says ministers should be agitators. In fact, he calls Jesus an agitator.

Rev. Heinemeier spent more than five decades stirring things up and serving congregants in inner-city New York, Boston and Baltimore. He helped integrate churches in the 60s and 70s, bringing together Latino and African-American congregations. He also worked to develop the Nehemiah strategy for housing. He now serves as an Episcopal Minister in Oxford, N.C. 

Nancy Ruth Best and Wynolia Apple plan to get married next Sunday after being together for 23 years.
Reema Khrais

Same-sex couples are expected to head to Register of Deeds offices across the state today to get marriage licenses. A federal judge overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage late Friday.

That case was filed by a group of clergy members. They argued that not being able to marry gay couples violated their freedom of religion. This weekend, many churches celebrated the decision, including Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham.