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.

Support the CSA Project with Sankofa Farms

First Presbyterian, through the Creation Care Committee, is once again participating in a community supported agriculture (CSA) project with Sankofa Farms in Orange County.  The boxes of vegetables will be delivered to First Pres every Thursday afternoon, beginning May 18, and be available for pickup between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. in the church foyer. This cycle will run for six weeks, from May 18-June 22. Other pickup options include Thursday evenings at Westminster Presbyterian from 6:00-7:30, and Saturday mornings at the Hillsborough Farmers Market from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.  The cost is $35 per week for a full share and $25 for a half share. For the full six weeks it is $210 for a full share and $150 for a half share


Go now to the Sankofa Farms website, and once there, click on “Shop”.  Pay at checkout.

The website is

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, feel free to contact Tom Bacon, George or Johanna Bernhardt,

Cris Rivera, or Larry Brockman.

Share your insights with the Thriving Congregations Committee

Share your insights with the Thriving Congregations Committee

First off, there is no ‘ask’. You will not be asked to do or volunteer for anything beyond attending this session. This campaign is only interested in collecting your perspective and insight. If you are not able to make any of the available dates, please email [email protected] to let her know. We are going to be scheduling more sessions in the Fall and want to gauge interest.

Click HERE to sign up for an upcoming listening session.

We will take notes at each session and analyze contributions to hear from many voices to:

  • reflect on our current work and priorities
  • discern any needed information
  • inform our next long-range plan.

It is important that our leaders, staff, and planners hear from our beloved community as they consider our next steps. We will send a short list of questions for reflection for anyone who signs up and we will also review them at the listening session. Don’t let not being able to do “homework” keep you from signing up. 

You should voice anything you think is vital to take First Presbyterian into God’s work for us, your insights, what you see, and are called to in your heart.

NOTE:  We do want to avoid using this time to bring up complaints, list what other churches are doing, all potential options for ministry or random suggestions. If you have ideas, concerns or complaints please do arrange an appointment with a person associated with that area. After the session we can help you identify the right person. 

YOU helped save someone’s life!

YOU helped save someone’s life!

FPC held another community blood drive on Thursday, May 4. Over 20 units of blood were collected. Thank you!

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.

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

 FPC Capital Campaign: Sharon Hirsch pt

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