Welcome to the 2016-2017 Johnson Service Corps

The Advocate has a long-standing connection with the Johnson Service Corps, the local manifestation of the Episcopal Service Corps. We are glad this year to host the annual Pounding Party on Sunday, September 11, and to commission the Corps members at our 5 PM liturgy that day. See more from the JSC below:
JSC is a diverse, ecumenical community of young adults dedicated to service and social justice in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina.

Pounding Party at the Advocate

A “Pounding Party” is a Southern tradition where the community welcomes new neighbors by stocking their pantry with a POUND (or other appropriate quantity) of some pantry staple or useful household item. (Some examples include a pound of butter or sugar, or a liter of olive oil, a gallon of laundry detergent, etc.)

Sunday, September 11th from 2-4pm 
at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate 
8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill
followed by worship and commissioning the corps members at 5pm

Introducing JSC’s Class of 2017
Kenesha Bigelow
I am from Mebane, North Carolina. I was born and raised a Christian and my denomination is Baptist. I graduated from North Carolina State University in 2015. I majored in Sociology. I am interested in becoming a Social Worker for my profession but I have yet to decide what grad school is the best fit for me and what particular field of study I am interested in. But I know for sure that I have the passion to help as many people as I can. I really enjoy listening to music, singing, laughing and running! I also enjoy meeting new people and traveling! I hope to find a job that allows for me to travel the world someday because I’ve only been to 3 others states.
Bryan Burke
My name is Bryan Burke. I am from Oak Forest, IL, a small suburb just south of Chicago. My older sister Jayne and I were raised in Oak Forest by my widowed mother. We have two dogs named Tucker and Wilson.I recently graduated from Calvin College in 2015 with a major in History and minors in Religion and Archaeology. The son of a devout Protestant Reformed mother and a steadfast Irish Roman Catholic father, I was born and raised in the Episcopal Church as a “compromise” and I have loved the Church all my life and faithfully come (almost) every Sunday. I love to read (especially historical fiction, Russian literature, and “the Classics”), watch movies, travel, and listen to music.An interesting fact about me is that I have a deep interest in the Middle East and the history of the religious traditions of Christianity and Islam. I was a member of the Calvin College Middle East Club for three years and Club President for my senior year. I took every opportunity Calvin offered to travel to the region and went to Turkey as part of a history course and twice to Jordan and Israel/Palestine as part of an archaeological dig.
Gayle Cruz
I am from Mebane, North Carolina. I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Human Services in 2014 from Appalachian State University. I have been called to serve women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. I have been growing in this area since I was a senior in college. Today I work at the agency for domestic violence survivors in my hometown as a Court Advocate. My goal is to continue to grow and allow God to guide me and strengthen me. I grew up in a Catholic identifying family that was not necessarily consistent in attending mass or being active in the parish. I have recently become fairly interested in Taoism however I wish to explore into my Catholic roots and find the parallels between the two.
Omar Hamad
I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. My father is originally from the city of Hama, Syria and my mother is from a small Appalachian town called Newport, Tennessee. I attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC and although I took classes in a variety of disciplines, I ultimately finished with a degree in History and Religious Studies in December of 2014. I have a wide variety of intellectual interests, especially within the fields of Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern History and Politics, Islamic Studies, Foreign Language, Journalism, Comparative Religion, Sociology/Anthropology, International Relations/Diplomacy, Eastern European History/Slavic Studies, Russian Culture and Literature, and American History–especially Labor History, Ethnic History, Immigration History, and Religious History. I hope to pursue graduate studies in one or more of these fields after I complete my term of service with ESC. My non-academic interests include Urban Exploration–I have now lived in 3 of 5 major East Coast Cities (Philadelphia, New York, and Boston)–and have enjoyed getting to know the unique character of each of these cities and their various neighborhoods, eating different types of ethnic food, creative writing, attending concerts/live music events, and taking online quizzes.
Ja’Kayla Hill
I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in Spring 2016 with a Bachelor Degree in Social Work. During my collegiate years I spent most of my leisure time volunteering. Volunteering is something where I truly find my purpose and joy in doing! I don’t identify with a religion, I just try to live as a follower of Christ and keep my faith in God. I strive to learn and apply the Word of God into my life and try to do everything with love. I enjoy watching 80’s movies and reruns of the Golden Girls. During my downtime you most likely will find me journaling or reading. I would love to learn how to “rough it” and camp out and hike a trail sometime soon! I am both nervous and optimistic for what this year-long journey holds, but I know it will be a positive, transformative process for everyone! I’m excited to share this experience as a Johnson Service Corps member with you all!
Grace Martien
I am from Williamsburg, VA, and attended college five minutes away from home at the College of William and Mary. I graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology a Minor in Religious Studies. I am very excited to move to North Carolina and expand my horizons.I was born and raised Episcopalian as well as an active member in Canterbury, which is the Episcopal Campus Ministry. With that said, I love learning more about different faiths and traditions!After the Episcopal Service Corps I hope to combine my passion for religious studies and science. In my spare time I volunteer with the Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department as an EMT, run, read, climb, and spend time with friends. Lastly, I enjoy comedy tv shows, ice cream, all things cats, and being outside!
Jenitza Pierce
I’m coming to North Carolina from the Lone Star State where I have lived for about 5 years. Before my life as a Texan, I never lived in one place for longer than 4 years! I graduated from LeTourneau University in May 2015 with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. I minored in History and Political Science. After university life, I threw myself into all sorts of experiences and ventures as I searched out what I truly wanted in life. Right now, I’m just trusting God to bring every challenge and adventure into perspective.
I’m a non-denominational disciple of Christ on a mission to see and reveal Christ in everyday life. I love embracing the mysteries of this world and witnessing the diversity and beauty of all people and cultures. I’m a horror movie junkie, rollerblader, and spicy food enthusiast.
Jon Rigby
I am originally from Flemington, New Jersey. I attended college at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I studied mathematics, and graduated in May 2016. I love nature, rock climbing, reading and writing. Though I wasn’t raised an Episcopalian, I joined the Canterbury organization at my college, and was recently baptized into the church. I am excited to pursue my faith and explore new opportunities this coming year!
Soteria Shepperson
I am originally from Richmond, VA and I’ve been a resident of North Carolina for the last five years. I received a B.S. in Administration of Justice from George Mason University in 2008.Throughout my career I’ve worked to build a community identity as a poet, advocate and instructor. Throughout my journey my name has helped shape who I am.  “Soteria” draws on the Greek term symbolizing deliverance, preservation, safety, and salvation.
There have been many influences that shape my life as a child of God, including giving back to others and imparting into them. My hope is to be known for being a student of this thing we call life cultivating a ministry that lifts up the experiences of those I am blessed to work with, living into the ideals that remind us all, ” if someone has gone through it, that process of our life can be eliminated so we all won’t have to make the same mistakes.” I value family, not the perfection of it but its brokenness and the perfection that comes of it being broken. I have worked with at risk youth and those in tough places for years and have found joy in the relationships that have come from these experiences.I have been blessed by the presence of several mentors who offered their time, experience, joys, and struggles to inspire me to live in my purpose. My hope is to reciprocate those relationships through the acts of living my life in a way that can be a voice of change.
Debbie Vu
I moved around a lot as a kid (so I know how to make friends fast) but when I was 12, my parents decided to settle in Pinehurst, NC. I was so disappointed by the small town; it didn’t even have a mall! However, I discovered that my favorite author grew up in Chapel Hill and later taught at UNC-Chapel Hill. I was raised Catholic and I’ve always subscribed to the idea that everything happens for a reason. I figured that God had sent me to Pinehurst so I could go to UNC-CH. There, I studied journalism and film. I enjoy interviewing people and creating documentaries. I’ve been itching to get behind the camera again. Two years ago, I created a series of documentary shorts on body-builders. And two years before that, I went to Malawi in Africa to create documentary content for the P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water program. I’ve been blessed with so many different and unique opportunities. I cannot wait to get started with Johnson Service Corps.

Bridging The Political Divide: An Evening Video Course with Parker Palmer

faith-and-politicsAll are welcome to join this presentation and conversation at the Advocate
Wednesday, September 14
7 PM
We are in the midst of what may be the most polarizing and contentious elections in recent U.S. history. It is sometimes hard to hear a “respect for the dignity of every human being” in the thick of the rhetoric and charge. Candidates, social media and press coverage combine to effect a certain fear, division, and unease into our culture.

How do we make sense of this? How do people of faith respond? How do we remain calm and centered amidst our difference and tension, taking our roles as peacemakers and even prophets, seriously?

Educator, author, and activist Parker Palmer has a few ideas. He has written extensively on faith and democracy issues. In this course, he offers thoughtful insight into how we might approach divisive political issues with grace and grit.

Palmer believes our current political climate provides a rare opportunity to think more deeply about who we are as people and a nation. In this course, Palmer offers four video presentations:

1) We the People
2) The Art of Holding Tension
3) Our Deepest Divide
4) Taking Action

This course has been made possible by Forward Movement, The Episcopal Church, Bexley Seabury SeminaryLiving Compass, and the Center for Courage and Renewal.

#AdvocateAdvocate Be the noun. Do the Verb

Advocate button

#AdvocateAdvocate. A campaign to digitally connect the people of God as we advocate for peace, justice and mercy.

Be the noun. Do the verb.

Since The Episcopal Church of the Advocate was launched in 2003, we have become keenly aware of our triptych:

  1. The Advocate is Jesus, who ascended to God’s right hand and advocates on our behalf (I John 1:2).

2) The Advocate is also the Holy Spirit (John 14: 25-27), the prodder and comforter, promised by Jesus, who comes among us with tongues of fire and in a gentle breath, uniting us and calling us to be God’s advocates in the world.

3) The Advocate is each of us, sent forth Sunday by Sunday, to work for God’s merciful justice, to make known God’s forgiveness, peace and love.

#AdvocateAdvocate is a hashtag to be used anytime we stand, post, work, pray, protest or sacrifice in the spirit of the Advocate. Anytime we Advocate (the verb), anytime we are Advocates (the noun).

Advocate buttons are available in the Chapel bell tower. (Donations gladly accepted in the alms box.)

Eastern Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware writes:

Each social grouping –
family, parish, diocese, church council, school, office, factory, nation —
has as its vocation to be transformed by grace into a living icon of [the Holy Trinity],
to effect a reconciling harmony between diversity and unity,
human freedom and mutual solidarity, after the pattern of the Trinity.

Our belief in a Trinitarian God, in a God of social inter-relationship and shared love, commits us to opposing all forms of exploitation, injustice and discrimination….

When as Christians we fight for justice and for human rights,
for a compassionate and caring society,
we are acting specifically in the name of the Trinity.
Faith in the Trinitarian God, in the God of personal interrelationship and shared love, commits us to struggle with all our strength against poverty, exploitation, oppression and disease.
Our combat against these things is undertaken not merely on philanthropic and humanitarian grounds but because of our belief in God the Trinity.
Precisely because we know that God is three-in-one,
we cannot remain indifferent to any suffering, by any member of the human race, in any part of the world

Advocate Energy Audit This Thursday!

Thursday, May 12, at 5 PM, the Advocate will be given an energy audit.

A service provided through North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, an energy audit will teach us whether or how the Advocate is wasting electricity and water resources in our Chapel and house, and how we might do more to save and conserve those resources. This guidance will be good for our planet, and good for our budget.

We know that we conserved natural resources by adaptive re-use of our Chapel and house. We also know that even with our best effort in 2014, the 1890s chapel and 1970s era house were never designed to the standards of 21st century environmental sustainability. And we love our open windows! But maybe we can learn about how best to regulate the temperature and how some additional insulation might make a difference.

Bruce Hunn, building energy consultant will be our auditor. All are welcome to join him as he surveys and analyses our particular situation. No doubt, we can call learn more about energy conservation and apply our learnings to our own households, as well as to the Advocate.

The Lord’s Prayer in Arabic

1337438434-palestinian-christians-prayerfully-protest-israeli-separation-wall_1222582It is a practice of the Advocate in our Eucharistic liturgy to say the Lord’s Prayer throughout the Season of Epiphany in the language of Christians in another place. We do this in part to remind ourselves that the Body of Christ is near and far, in part to express our solidarity with Christians who are at risk because of their faith.

This year we are trying hard to say the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, holding in mind, as we pray, our Christian sisters and brothers throughout the Middle East, and especially in Palestine,  Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Here is the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, and also in a transliteration. A recording helps us to hear the words as they are read by a Lebanese-born friend, Rula Mouawad.

lords prayer in arabic

Lord’s Prayer read in Arabic:  Voice00002

Aba na alathie fi asamawat,
Li yatakadas ismoka, Li ya’atie malakotoka,
Litakon mashia toka,
Kama fisama’ kathaleka ‘ahla al a’ard.
A’atinia khubzana kafafa yawmina,
Wa igfer lana khatayana,
Kama naahnu naghfer la man akhta’a elayna,
Wa la tudkhilna fit a jareeb;
Laken najjina min ashireer.
Lia’anna laka al kowata wal majd, al aan wa ila abad al aabideen. Amin.
Arabic – transliteration

The Advocate Brings Christmas Songs and Sweets to the Men’s Community House, Thursday, December 17


For may years now, the Advocate has provided a Christmas party for the men in homeless shelter in downtown Chapel Hill. Now that the shelter has evolved into the men’s Community House on at 1315 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, (right by the UCC church off MK and Homestead Road), the Advocate’s Christmas party is moving too.

Join with folks from the Advocate and some Monday Night Folk Jammers (who practice in our Chapel each week), for songs and sweets, Thursday, December 17,  6 – 7 PM.

Questions? Contact sallie305@gmail.com.

We’ll be gifting the men with some bus passes, and any gloves that folks can bring along for cold el nino nights ahead.


First Tuesdays: Dinner for our neighbors at the Community House

The Advocate serves dinner for our neighbors at the Community House on the first Tuesday of each month.
0920-CHN-SHELTER2As we continue to develop our relationships with our neighbors east and west, the Advocate has started helping with dinner at the Community House on first Tuesdays of each month. Community House is a transitional housing program for up to 52homeless men. It is located across the parking lot from the United Church of Chapel Hill, on the northwest corner of MLK and Homestead Road.
Those who can help prepare the meal are asked to arrive by 5 PM. Those who can help serve are asked to be there at 5:45PM. IF you are planning to help in either way, please contact Sallie Moore sallie305@gmail.com.

Advocates to Join Voting Rights rally at the NC Capitol at 5:00 PM September 3.

Join with others calling for justice in our days.
If you want information about riding with others, contact Vicar@theAdvocateChurch.org.


Our Lives, Our Votes, Our Jobs, and Our Schools Matter

America’s Journey for Justice is a historic march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C. This more than 800 mile journey is an initiative led by the National NAACP. Marchers from various parts of the nation will demonstrate the need for justice for this generation and advance a focused national advocacy agenda that protects the rights of every American toward a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education.

On August 29th, NC will pick up the Journey For Justice baton. North Carolina has emerged as the “national battleground for voting rights” so the NC leg of the march will concentrate on this most fundamental constitutional right. On August 31st, on the first day of the NC Supreme Court redistricting trial, we will hold a voting rights teach-in at 7:00 PM in Raleigh. On September 3rd, we will hold a mass voting rights rally at the Capitol at 5:00 PM to demand a restoration of the Voting Rights Act and an end to voter suppression in our state. Click here for more information.

Supporters from around the state and nation including National NAACP President and CEO Cornell W. Brooks, will crossover into North Carolina through Richmond County and march through Moore, Hoke, Cumberland, Harnett, Wake, Franklin, and Warren Counties, many of which used to be protected under the Voting Rights Act. On September 7th, the march will continue into Virginia and onward into Washington, D.C. with plans to arrive at our Nation’s Capitol on September 15.

Help Mobilize Today

Share the Facebook eventflyer, and video of today’s news conference on social media using the hashtag #JusticeSummer and #JusticeJourneyNC.

For questions on how to volunteer or support the Journey For Justice, email forwardtogether@naacpnc.org or call (919) 682-4700.

On Thursday, August 20th, there will be a youth mobilization conference call at 8:00 PM at (530) 881-1212, code 762-504-921#. All young people or those who work with young people are encouraged to join the call!


Forward Together, Not One Step Back!

-=-=-North Carolina NAACP · PO Box 335, Durham, NC 27702, United States
This email was sent to lisa.fischbeck@gmail.com. To stop receiving emails, click here.
You can also keep up with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II on Twitter or Facebook.-=-=-

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Advocate Helps Sponsor Campaign for Better Bus Service for Rogers Road

March for Better Bus Service, Saturday August 15, 2:45 pm.
Assemble at Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar St, Chapel Hill.
Better Bus Service for Rogers Road Campaign Update


Two miles. That’s how far you’d have to walk if you live in Rogers Road and need to take the bus home after the HS Route stops running in the early evening. Two miles, in the dark, at the mercy of weather, on the side of busy roads. This is what Justice United leaders heard when they teamed up with residents to talk about doing something to improve bus service to their neighborhoods.

Join Rogers Road residents and members of the Chapel Hill Transit Partners to walk the two miles from the Eubanks Road Park and Ride to the Rogers Road Community Center in symbolic recognition of the limited service on the HS Route.

At the conclusion of the march, Transit Partners will be publicly asked to make a commitment to do everything in their power to support the HS service increase proposal.

Logistics: We will carpool from the Rogers Road Community Center to the Eubanks Park and Ride. Transport will be available to help all return to their cars following the completion of the action.

RSVP: ross.devin@gmail.com

Over the last five months Rogers Road residents have worked with RENA, Habitat for Humanity, the Church of the Advocate and Justice United to create a proposal to increase the service frequency and hours of the HS Route.

The proposal was developed and ratified by the Rogers Road community through two canvassing actions that reached over 100 households each, one community meeting, and outreach at the Unity in the Community celebration. 134 Rogers Road residents and 26 UNC students who volunteer at the Rogers Road Community Center have signed a petition in support of the proposal.

On April 28 leaders presented this proposal to the decision making body, Chapel Hill Transit Partners, who delegated the proposal to Chapel Hill Transit staff for analysis. The Transit Partners will reconvene in late August to review the Transit staff’s analysis and potentially make a final decision.

Advocate Hosts Johnson Service Corps Commissioning and Pounding Party August 30

The Advocate is glad for our connections through the years with the young adults of the Johnson Service Corps. Part of the Episcopal Service Corps network, Johnson Service Corps members live together in an intentional community, learning community and leadership skills while working in a non-profit placement in Durham/Chapel Hill.

The Advocate is excited to host the commissioning and pounding party for the 2015-2016 Johnson Service Corps members, Sunday, August 30.

The Commission will take place in the context of our 5 PM liturgy, and the Pounding Party will follow at 6:30 PM.

Pounding Party is a southern tradition; bring a pound of something to help the corps members set up their new home! 

The dinner will be a potluck, so please bring a side dish or dessert to share.  

Learn more about the Johnson Service Corps in a brief video featuring some familiar people and scenes from the Advocate HERE!

All are welcome and encouraged to come celebrate the new corps members: Allie, Ashley, Helen, Jordan, Jahkazia, Jessi and Loui.