FPC’s second campaign to reduce medical debt a great success!

FPC’s second campaign to reduce medical debt a great success!

Our Phase 2 Building Beloved Community campaign to reduce medical debt in North Carolina is another success story. This campaign began May 1 of 2023 and concluded on July 31. With the help of some of our church friends in the Triangle, a total of $34,030.18 was received in donations. Those funds have already been distributed and eliminated over $7.5 million dollars in medical debt to citizens in North Carolina. Thank you so much for your generous giving.

Click here to see how the money was distributed.

Cash Bail Bond Resolution

Cash Bail Bond Resolution

May 22, 2023

To: The NC House of Representatives, The NC Senate and the Governor

From: First Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC

Copy: Ed Johnson, Stated Clerk of New Hope Presbytery

Dear Legislators and Governor Cooper,

Article XI, section 4 of the Constitution of North Carolina reads as follows:

“Welfare policy….

Beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of the first duties of a civilized and a Christian state….”

However, the State of North Carolina maintains a cash bail bond system that systematically exploits “the poor, the unfortunate,” in direct violation of the “first duty” as claimed in the NC Constitution.

The Constitution of the State of North Carolina continues to look to a Christian moral compass especially, but not exclusively, in regard to the treatment of the poor. In that regard, Christian Scripture clearly calls us to extend special compassion and consideration for the poor and needy.

The Constitution of the State of North Carolina continues to look to a Christian moral compass especially, but not exclusively, in regard to the treatment of the poor. In that regard, Christian Scripture clearly calls us to extend special compassion and consideration for the poor and needy.

a. “Open your hand to the poor and needy…” (Deut. 15:11).

b. “You shall not withhold the wages of the poor and needy laborers… You shall pay their wages daily because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them, otherwise they might cry out to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt” (Deut. 24: 14-15).

c. “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him” (Proverbs 14:31).

d. “The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people. It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses” (Isaiah 3:14).

e. Jeremiah contrasts the good King Josiah and the bad King Jehoiakim. The only criteria distinguishing them was that the poor benefited from the government of Josiah while Jehoiakim instead invested in cedar siding and gold trimming in his luxurious house. Jeremiah declares harsh condemnation on Jehoiakim: “Are you (Jehoiakim) a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father (Josiah) eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy. Is not this to know me? says the Lord. But your eyes and heart are only on your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, for practicing oppression and violence” (Jer. 22:15-17).

f. Jesus implores his disciples to benefit the poor, and to never exploit them for personal gain.

g. Jesus “unrolled the scroll and found the place that it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…’” (Luke 4: 17-19).

h. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled” (Luke 6:20-21).

i. “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

j. “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees his brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” (1 John 3:17-18).

k. “They (the apostles in Jerusalem) asked only one thing, that we remember the poor…” (Galatians 2:10).

l. “But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you to court?” (James 2:6).

Fidelity to the NC Constitution then requires changes to the current cash bail system which exploits the poor. Considerable empirical evidence demonstrates that the cash bail system is inequitable and ineffective. The cash bail system requires pretrial defendants to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to keep from going to jail. Because of economic challenges, a significant portion of these arrestees lack the 10%-15% non-refundable premium a bail agent charges, so they end up spending weeks and months in jail awaiting trial. Courts, often secured through bail bondsmen, typically result in low-income individuals agreeing to usurious borrowing terms to obtain funds. Several municipalities and states throughout the United States, and a few places in North Carolina, have successfully enacted other approaches to pretrial requirements for defendants accused of misdemeanors and some nonviolent felonies.

Additionally, the current bail bond system is more expensive financially to the State than the proposed changes offered by the NC House Bill 271.  Enacting NC House Bill 271 will save the state money.

Multiple studies, including the work of Jessica Smith, W.R. Kenyan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC School of Government, report the need for change based on four problems with the current system: public safety (wealthier individuals can buy their way out of incarceration); costs to taxpayers; fairness; and racial and ethnic disparities.

WHEREAS, the vast majority of the jail population increase since 2000 was caused by the detention of individuals prior to trial (pretrial) of which 60% to 70% were classified nonviolent minimum-security;

WHEREAS, the Class Three misdemeanor cases addressed in NC House Bill 271 do not constitute a risk of flight;

WHEREAS, at least 70% of people held in local jails are not convicted of any crime;

WHEREAS, the inability to make cash bail extracts an untold human cost on the accused due to their loss of employment, housing and, often times, family support;

WHEREAS, there are proven instances of inadequate health care for incarcerated persons, death and injury suffered by incarcerated persons;

WHEREAS, bail set for people of color exceeds that for whites by 35%;

WHEREAS, three out of four criminal cases in state trial courts are for misdemeanors that, if proved, would result in fines and/or less than a year in jail;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Durham, NC petitions the NC legislature to pass NC House Bill 271.  Additionally, the First Presbyterian Church petitions the Presbytery of New Hope to endorse the passage of NC House Bill 271.  The Session encourages the Presbytery to encourage each church session in the Presbytery of New Hope to adopt this resolution and to contact their state representatives and Senators.  Furthermore, that the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery convey this stand to every NC Representative, Senator, and the Governor.  The Stated Clerk is directed to communicate this resolution to the Presbyteries of Western North Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Salem, and Charlotte for consideration and adoption.

FPC’s Building Campaign Project to help reduce medical debt a GRAND SUCCESS! You can help, too!

FPC’s Building Campaign Project to help reduce medical debt a GRAND SUCCESS!  You can help, too!

Medical debt is the source of incredible inequities, keeping families mired in debt and impeding their ability to build assets. Plus, it adds enormously to emotional stress. That’s why First Presbyterian Church is leading this campaign as one reparations strategy. The potential to WIPE OUT DEBT for pennies on the dollar is amazing! When you make a pledge to our capital campaign, you are already supporting this project. If you have not already made a pledge, we hope you will join us in giving to our Building Beloved Community campaign!  To learn more about how this debt is eliminated, click here . SEE OUR PHASE 1 RESULTS HERE.

Our Phase 2 campaign began May 1, 2023. If you would like to give, click here. The deadline to give is July 31, 2023.

Stewardship (Pledges) Dedication Sunday

Stewardship (Pledges) Dedication Sunday

Sunday, October 23 was the deadline for the church to receive your 2023 financial pledge form.

If you missed this deadline, there is still time to submit your pledge form. Bring or mail your form to the church office as soon as you can, or from this website choose the DONATE button and complete the process online. We would love to have 100% participation from the membership this year.

Questions about FPC’s pledging process? Misplaced your packet? Contact Business Administrator Tom Bloom in the church office by email or phone (919-682-5511 x 216) for assistance.

Check out this Stewardship Moment. Thank you for supporting the ministries of FPC.



First Presbyterian Church has been blessed by the faithfulness and generosity of our members, past and present.  Throughout the years, we have remained focused on our mission: Worshipping God in community and bearing witness to God’s love and justice in the world.  Our Building Beloved Community Capital Campaign is our opportunity to advance our mission as we set our sights on our building expansion and renovation plans.

Hear what one of our members has to say about the campaign and its two mission components.

FPC Capital Campaign: Sharon Hirsch pt 1.mov

 FPC Capital Campaign: Sharon Hirsch pt 2.mov

We have spent the last several months planning, sharing, and praying for the success of our Capital Campaign. Campaign pledges are being received as we witness to the mission and ministry of First Church. Thanks be to God for the many blessings we have received and the willingness of our members to respond generously with their prayers, time and financial support.

If you have not yet done so, please return your campaign pledge form to the church office, or respond online through our church website. If you did not receive, or need another campaign packet, please contact Tom Bloom at (919) 682-5511 or email to [email protected]

The body of Christ, joined together, grows and builds itself up in love,

     as each part does its work.”  Ephesians 4:16