Public Education Advocacy and Faith:

Why the Church Should Care

Information from the online forum event held on September 16th, 2020.

Watch the Replay Here.


Feedback Form–Please complete after watching the Video!


We hope everyone who joins us will take these 3 actions today:

  1. Share this event on Social Media using #LeadWithLeandro.
  2. Take the Pledge to Vote for Pro-Public Education Candidates on November 3rd and share!
  3. Ask The NC General Assembly to #LeadWithLeandro! NC Kids are counting on us!

Event Outline

On Wednesday, September 16th, we began at 7pm with a welcome and introductions. We heard comments from Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Each speaker spoke for 10 minutes, and then we had questions from the audience. The video is linked here.

We are people of faith who value the lives of children as Jesus did. We hope in this time of listening and learning you will be inspired, informed, educated, and motivated to become advocates for our children through support of public education.

Event Goals:

Resources To Learn More

This event was designed to be an introduction to a conversation about the church’s role in supporting public education in NC. We hope you will take the time to explore more and become an informed voter and community supporter for Public Schools in our state.



Our Moderators for the Forum are Tom and Rev. Lib Campbell. Lib is a Retired Elder in the United Methodist Church, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Mark’s UMC in Raleigh. Her retreat ministry is Tending the Garden of the Soul. She writes at: Lib and Tom Campbell have been married for 55 years. They have two children and four adult grandchildren. Lib has been a grade mother in the public schools, a PTA co-president with Tom, a substitute art teacher and a chaperone extraordinaire. She graduated from Ayden High School, a Pitt County Public School, in 1964.

Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Tom Campbell, is creator, producer and host of NC Spin, a statewide political talk show that has aired for over 22 years. Now seen on UNC-TV, Tom invites political leaders and thinkers to discuss, in balanced debate, the issues that affect North Carolina. His editorial opinions can be read in newspapers across the state in his weekly commentary called “My Spin.” Tom was on the air play-by-play announcer for football games in Wilson and Pasquotank County Public High Schools, and part of the ace pit crew for the Broughton High School Band.  He graduated from Rose High School, a Pitt County Public School, in 1963.

(Photo by Fran Dickenson Photography)


Rev. Paul Robeson Ford

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Highland Ave, Winston-Salem, NC

The Reverend Paul Robeson Ford is the 11th Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church (Highland Avenue) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Rev. Ford was born and raised in New York City and grew up at the Riverside Church under the leadership of Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. He answered the call to ministry in 1997 and was licensed to preach the Gospel at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa in 2002. He holds standing as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College and a Master of Divinity Degree from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Rev. Ford is a Candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theology at the University of Chicago, where his research interests focus on developing a theology of liberation for the situation of mass incarceration in the United States. 

Faith in the City by Knollwood Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC

Christian Ethics Today Journal Article by Rev. Ford “Equity: The Divine Imperative” (begins on page 7 linked here)

Lynn Edmonds

Outreach Director, Public Schools First NC

Lynn Edmonds is Outreach Director for Public Schools First NC and Great Schools In Wake. She has worked in public education advocacy for 10 years, first as a volunteer and then with Public Schools First NC beginning in 2013. Lynn graduated with an associate’s degree from Peace College, what is now William Peace University in Raleigh. She has served on multiple PTA and civic boards, including her current at-large position on the Wake County Board of Library Commissioners. A native North Carolinian, Lynn and her husband attended and graduated from Durham Public Schools. They have two children who both graduated from Wake County public schools.

Kris Nordstrom

Senior Policy Analyst, NC Justice Center’s Education & Law Project

Kris Nordstrom is a Senior Policy Analyst with the North Carolina Justice Center’s Education & Law Project. Kris has been the lead researcher and author of numerous research reports, policy briefs, and commentaries focused on education policy and its impact on advancing economic and social justice.  Prior to starting work with the Justice Center in April 2016, Kris spent nine years with the North Carolina General Assembly’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division, where he provided budget analysis and information to members of the General Assembly on public education issues. Kris holds a Master of Public Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and BA in Economics from Wake Forest University.

Forum Planning Team

Forum Cosponsors

We are grateful to each of these Cosponsors for their help in promoting this event to communities across NC and beyond.
Network For Public Education
Edenton Street United Methodist Women
NC Conference United Methodist Women

Baptist Women in Ministry NC

NC Association of Educators

Read Write Spell

The American Association of University Women, Raleigh/Wake County Branch

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