Blog

31 MARCH 2017

Where To Go on Mission Trips?

When initiating a short-term mission trip overseas, the most important decision may be the first: where should we go? Here are two possibilities: Take advantage of a personal connection.  This may be someone who knows the community because they have been there, either as a tourist, as part of a mission trip, or because of […]

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25 MARCH 2017

Five Toxic Approaches To Using Volunteers

We all know the importance of volunteers for the success of any community project. Yet inappropriate attitudes and behaviors can spell the failure of any volunteer effort. Marlene Wilson, a specialist in volunteer training, offers these toxic gems[1]: Program director does all the work for the team.  The problem could be a lazy team, but […]

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10 MARCH 2017

Saving Energy: 5 Starting Points for Congregations

Where climate change is concerned, congregations can make a difference. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that if 300,00 houses of worship cut their energy use by 10%, they could: Save 200% for other uses Make available 5.4 kilowatt hours electricity without additional cost or pollution Prevent 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to […]

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Video: Black Churches Are Going Green

This video calls the Black church to see the connection between climate change and social justice.  “Climate change is disproportionately effecting black communities.  Black children have higher rates of asthma.  Typically, you have a lot of food deserts.  You have individuals who don’t have access to healthy food,” says Tyson Lord Gray, an Environmental Ethics […]

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Transgender Facts (Infographic)

Facts matter.  I’m reposting this infographic in light of a Trump Administration decision to remove protections for transgender students’ use of bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Spiritual leaders and congregations can become allies of transgender individuals by getting to know them and their stories and by advocating for their safety.  Everyone has the right […]

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16 FEBRUARY 2017

Supporting Immigrants Right From Baptism

A Catholic priest serving a culturally mixed parish, with both native-born and immigrant members, found a way to strengthen support for newborn immigrants in his charge.  The key:  linking that support to the rite of baptism. Father Dajean served six rural Mississippi parishes—four Hispanic and two Anglo that were both geographically and socially distant. The […]

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Church mission trip to Dominican Republic
9 FEBRUARY 2017

How Mission Trips Challenge Us

Do mission trips really do any good, or are they simply “faith-based tourism” masquerading as meaningful engagement? In point of fact, such trips can help Americans challenge long-held cultural assumptions. Short-term mission is hugely popular among American congregations. Sociologist Robert Wuthnow estimates that 32% of American congregations sponsor short-term overseas volunteer trips every year.[1]

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Catholic Campaign for Human Development immersion experience to learn about poverty
1 FEBRUARY 2017

Learning From the Empowered Poor

These days we don’t talk to each other enough, especially across economic class. If you wanted to talk with someone who is poor, where exactly would that happen?  Growing up middle class, high school might be the last time you walked alongside people who haven’t shared the perks of your income strata. Then college and […]

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Video: How To Have a Respectful Conversation

  How can you have a respectful conversation with someone about a really divisive issue without coming to blows?  Is it even possible?  The Minnesota Council of Churches hosted a series of “Respectful Conversations” about an upcoming marriage amendment.  Before the start, they offered the following video on the “do’s” and “don’t’s” of respectful dialogue.

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