Community Building

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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20 AUGUST 2016

To Improve Your Community Project, Ask “Why?”

  If you want to improve your community project, it’s important to pose questions.  Ask early and often. Ann Morisy, a lay theologian based in London, describes visiting a church-run thrift shop located in a mining community.   After asking a series of probing questions (especially, why), the leaders decided a mid-course correction would better […]

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