17 JANUARY 2019

Analyze Your Community: See-Judge-Act

Social analysis must serve as a necessary first step for church action in the community. Canon Joseph Cardijn (1882–1967), a Belgian Roman Catholic priest who inspired Catholic social action groups such as the Young Christian Workers, used the phrase “see-judge-act” to provide a framework for action. The first important step was “seeing.” Working with young […]

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12 DECEMBER 2018

Small Congregations Can Make a Difference

Sometimes people ask, “What can we do?  We are a small congregation! Here are two examples of two congregations that leveraged their resources to change the community for the better. St John’s: Building Partnerships “St. John’s United Church of Christ is a ethnic church in Aurora, Illinois, that has about twenty people in worship on […]

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28 NOVEMBER 2018

Seven Steps to Interviewing Someone

Nothing beats a direct one-on-one interview for learning about the community and building relationships. Such interviews offer us a chance to get to know our neighbors in their own settings.  A basic unstructured interview may be the easiest type of interview to perform. Follow these seven steps. Access the setting. How do you “get in to” […]

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Video: Formerly Homeless Men Cook Thanksgiving Meal

At All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta, a group of formerly homeless men prepare a Thanksgiving meal for about three hundred people. The are part of Covenant Community, a residential program to stabilize the lives of men dealing with addiction. They live, take classes, and study together. Every year at Thanksgiving, they give back.

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15 NOVEMBER 2018

Recruit a “Roving Listener”

Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis offers one example of how to conduct interviews in the neighborhood. The church hired a “roving listener” to wander through the neighborhood and spend time with people he encountered. This person focused not on neighbors’ needs but on their gifts, passions, and hopes for the community. The interviewer asked […]

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31 OCTOBER 2018

Why Americans Need Congregations

We can’t survive without community, though Americans often think otherwise. As Robert Bellah has observed, American individualism—that image of the lone individual seeking self-gratification—powerfully shapes how we experience ourselves. Individualism lies at the very core of American culture. . . . We believe in the dignity, indeed the sacredness, of the individual. Anything that would […]

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