Churches in the Triangle
February 1, 2010 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for churches in the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) that have a big impact in their communities.

I'm compiling a list of influential churches in the Triangle area. I'm looking for churches, any denomination, that contribute significantly to their neighborhood and/or are influential in politics. I mainly want to know what churches are active participants in local elections and governance, as well as other political action. (This could be a negative or a positive attribute. I'm interested in both.)

If you have personal stories, I would be happy to hear them. Also, if you don't go to church but have lived in the Triangle a long time and have read about influential churches, I would love to hear about those churches as well.

Thanks in advance!
posted by pecknpah to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pullen Memorial Baptist under the amazing W. W. Finlator was one of the most courageously liberal churches in North Carolina for decades, desegregating its pews in 1958 and announcing "unqualified acceptance" of gay and lesbian Christians in 1992.

Binkley Baptist in Chapel Hill has taken similarly unpopular political stands.
posted by mediareport at 8:10 PM on February 1, 2010

Best answer: My church, First Presbyterian in Durham is considered to be very influential in local community issues, especially things like helping the homeless downtown, racial/ethnic/religious harmony, rights and opportunities for recent immigrants, and gay rights. We don't take an active role in elections (that's illegal) but we certainly advocate within the community for the things that matter to us (that's not illegal).
posted by hydropsyche at 3:46 AM on February 2, 2010

Best answer: I was going to mention First Pres, Durham as well.

Very influential in another way is Summit Church, (Southern Baptist), which began Hope for Durham, which (I think) in turn kicked off Durham Cares.

Durham Mennonite has also been highly involved in anti-war and poverty relief causes.

I've also heard a lot of good things about Watts Street Baptist, Durham, although I'm not as familiar with the details.

Until two days ago I was a pastor in Durham. If I can help with what you're working on, feel free to drop me a line. If I don't have the information you need, I probably know who will, especially for Durham. For that matter, Spencer Bradford at Durham Mennonite is the executive director of Durham's Congregations in Action, which brings churches together to work on poverty relief and other social justice causes. He would be a great person to talk to in order to get the big picture for Durham, and he's very personable.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:26 AM on February 2, 2010

Best answer: Immaculate Conception in downtown Durham is very, very active with the local (and rapidly-growing) Hispanic population, sometimes providing services (like translation) that the city doesn't (or can't on a large enough scale). (The priests used to wear beepers -- maybe they still do -- because the cops would beep them to come translate all the time.) It also serves most of the Catholic Duke people, so there's a lot of social action there.

Of course the Divinity School at Duke is very, very active in the community, as are its individual members.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:53 AM on February 2, 2010

Best answer: St. John's MCC is influential among the gay community.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 8:20 AM on February 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! If you know any churches that contribute negatively to their community, please let me know as well. If not, these churches are exactly what I was looking for and a good start to my list.
posted by pecknpah at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2010

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