Areas of Focus
Benson Memorial has been taking steps to worship and serve in more sustainable ways in accordance with our call to care for God’s creation. We participate with the Interfaith Creation Care Team, a multi-faith group dedicated to caring for the world we all share. We are conducting ongoing investigation of implementing solar panels at our church to reduce our environmental impact.
We stand in solidarity with our siblings of color and provide opportunities to learn more about and act against the racial injustices present within our society. Our Living Our Faith lecture series regularly covers topics linked with racial justice such as food insecurity, public defense, and prisoner re-entry.
Benson Memorial welcomes all, 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. Benson Memorial’s Enlarging the Circle group is registered with the Reconciling Ministries Network. We strive to promote acceptance and inclusion and create a welcoming environment for both current and prospective members in the LGBTQ+ community. The church has posted signs at the parking lot and sanctuary entrances that announce our welcoming intent by stating that we love our neighbors, regardless of how they think, love, look, or pray, and encouraging everyone to love neighbors with no exceptions.
Following the biblical call to remember those in prison, we recognize the inequities inherent in the criminal justice system and the challenges that those entangled in it face. We have highlighted this issue as part of the Living Our Faith lecture series, including presentations about indigent defense and mass incarceration. We invited William Elmore, a previously justice-involved person who founded the reentry group Wounded Healers, and Daniel Bowes, formerly of the NC Justice Center’s Second Chance project, to speak with us in a small group.
God calls us to care for the poor, and to do that we must see them and understand their issues. Benson Memorial engages with many missions that address poverty, such as Family Promise and North Raleigh Ministry. We have spotlighted this issue in our Living Our Faith lecture series, with presentations about homelessness, the work of the Raleigh Rescue Mission, and other related topics.
We believe that full participation in society without hierarchical boundaries is in line with Christian teaching, and voting is a critical part of that participation. An early Living Our Faith session comprised a panel discussing voting in the state, and the church has displayed signs encouraging people to vote.
The Bible tells us to welcome the stranger, and we are called to carry this out in our present life, as immigrants and refugees risk all to find safety and security. We sponsored and signed, along with other congregations and groups, a statement expressing concern about the humanitarian crisis taking place in our country regarding immigrants, refugees, and our own citizens. One of our members has been very involved in this issue, and she shared her experiences in a Living Our Faith presentation. Another Living Our Faith presentation involved having representatives from Lutheran Family Services talk about their work with refugees.