Community Building

The Revival Center: From Social Service to “Mutual Aid” (Part One)

  Most socially minded congregations seek to “help” the poor through service activities such as a food pantry or clothes closet.  A better model might be the congregation as “mutual aid society” for its members.  Historically, mutual aid societies (fraternal lodges and labor unions are two examples) offered fellowship, equal participation and, more importantly, material […]

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Bridging the Class Divide: Lessons From Four Cities

  Last week we looked at a Morehouse College project in Indianapolis, Denver, Camden and Hartford that studied the relationship between congregations and high poverty urban communities.  The Faith Communities and Urban Families Project, directed by R. Drew Smith, was sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The questions they asked:  What connections exist between congregations […]

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The Congregation in High Poverty Areas: Distance and Isolation

  Urban religious leaders often express a desire to bridge the social distance between their congregation and the surrounding neighborhood.  How can this be achieved?  First, it requires an accurate picture of the landscape.  In what follows, I will address a stark description:  churches and low-income residents in geographic proximity and yet worlds apart.  To […]

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Can DIY Social Action Make a Difference?

  DIY means Do-It-Yourself.  We are in the midst of a DIY revolution.  It’s time to get directly involved to improve one’s life, or so say home improvement retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s.  Sometimes it is simply more satisfying (and less expensive) to pick up the hammer and do it yourself. Young adults in […]

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Facts About the Transgender Community (Infographic)

Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to commemorate the transgender persons lost to violence in the past year. The transgender community is so small (roughly 0.3 of the U.S. population) that only a small percentage of persons (8%) say they know someone who is transgender.  Yet the debate over gender fluidity on […]

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To Reach Fulfillment, We Need Community (Video)

Why not go it alone?  Each of us wants to be a unique individual and to determine our own destiny.  But here’s a fact:  we need community in order to achieve personal fulfillment.  It can be quite challenging to strike a balance between our individual needs and our life in community.  For Americans, individualism—that image […]

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Sexual Assault On Campus (Infographic)

Sexual assault may not seem like the most immediate threat to a young woman sent off to college this fall. Yet it’s a sobering fact that, over the course of her four-year career, a female student’s chance of being raped is approximately one in four. That’s the same chance as catching the flu in the average year (20-25%).

Safety from sexual violence, which includes not just rape but any forced or unwanted sexual activity, is a basic human right.

Spiritual leaders and faith communities—campus ministries or congregations in the university neighborhood—can take a few simple actions to increase women’s safety on campus. Everyone has a basic right to sanctuary, a safe space to flourish and grow.

The infographic below offers a few statistics and what can be done to make women feel more safe on campus.