| || Religion |
Welcome to the Religion section of CPN. Our cases include congregation-based community organizing, interfaith projects, inner-city and suburban ministries on homelessness and parenting, and the use of the prophetic Old Testament tradition among African American churches to empower communities.
Organizing Communities: The Christian Right and Education Reform. (1996) This essay looks at the range of community organizing techniques employed by the Christian Right to accomplish their goals around education policy, and explores the implications of these for the education reform movement.
by Wendy Togneri.
Stories & Case Studies
Baltimore's Commonwealth of Schools. Baltimoreans United for Leadership Development, or BUILDthe largest mainly black local organization in the countryhas crafted an ambitious plan for revitalizing public schools, called the Baltimore Commonwealth. The plan combines a remarkable incentive plan for high school graduates with a strategy for wideranging devolution of power and responsibility to teachers and the community. Moreover, it represents a potent redefinition of the very function of schools, reviving the old tradition which saw education as the instrument of democracy itself, teaching young people to be full, active participants in the life and decision-making processes of their communities. It draws on the power of the African-American prophetic tradition, even as it builds ecumenical coalitions with mainly white congregations and institutions. Story and case study plus.
"Base Communities: Citizen Action at the Grassroots," is a study of religious "base communities" in Baltimore. Base Communities are small, intimate peer groups of a dozen or two dozen people, in which participants can evaluate the day's struggles, commiserate with one another's failures, celebrate success, and plan for the next day's fight in larger public arenas. Excerpted from Harold A. McDougall's Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community. Case study plus.
East Brooklyn Congregations Build Nehemiah Homes. "Come, let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace." With these words from the Book of Nehemiah, local ministers drew upon the prophetic Old Testament imagery of the the black church tradition to inspire grassroots action and move the mayor of New York City to support what has since become an innovative housing program for cities around the country. East Brooklyn Congregations represents the values-based style of organizing of the Industrial Areas Foundation, which sees community organizing as not just advocacy but as schools for public life and public leadership development. Case study plus.
Good Shepherd Alliance Combats Homelessness in Loudoun County, Virginia. Confronted with the problem of homelessness in this northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., local ministers started to build upon the relationships that they had with civic organizations, local businesses and developers. They eventually created an alliance that mobilized assets from every part of the community, involved the homeless in running the organization, worked with the county, and nurtured independence and self esteem through vigorous efforts to keep work and training opportunities available. President Reagan honored them with a Private Sector Initiatives Citation. Stories.