Community Building

Congregations can overcome political dysfunction through civic engagement
18 JANUARY 2017

Can Congregations Address Political Polarization?

  Sad to say, American society has become a place of increasing deadlock and dysfunction. At the same time, American religious life, centered in its congregations, can offer a unique model for overcoming dysfunction.  Conversations take place there—in worship, in small group study, in team meetings. What if we practiced healthy, respectful conversation? Would the […]

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Video: Understanding What Muslims Mean by “Jihad”

  We all need a better understanding of Islam in America.  This video reports on a controversy over the meaning of the word “jihad,” which can mean “holy war” or simply “struggle.”  When an anti-Muslim activist started a campaign to define Islam as a violent religion, a group called “My Jihad” emerged to argue with […]

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23 DECEMBER 2016

How To Stand with Immigrant Neighbors

  Immigrants come to this country with a strong desire to experience American life at its fullest, yet they often experience life at the margins instead. What problems do they face and how can they be fixed? Problem # 1:  Lack of English Proficiency. It’s a key factor in the ability of new Americans to […]

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20 NOVEMBER 2016

Five Ways to Support the Mentally Ill

Mental illness is not just a personal issue, but also an issue for congregations and their communities. Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Despite its invisibility, it’s safe to say that every family and every congregation has members […]

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13 NOVEMBER 2016

Twinning: Pairing Up High and Low Income Congregations

Many congregations struggle with how to help persons who struggle financially (often by providing food, clothing, cash assistance) without falling into cold, impersonal patterns of relating. Can we be neighbors? The problem is that we have learned to imitate the bureaucratized social agency: Wait here; fill out this form; answer a few questions for me. […]

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20 OCTOBER 2016

Circles: Group Support for Low-Income Families

  Just as “it takes a village to raise a child,” it takes a group to raise someone out of poverty. That seems to be the lesson of Circles, a program that moves beyond individual mentoring to surround the individual with encouragement. The Circles approach stresses education and training built on a platform of group […]

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