Faith Community Steps Up

In Great Recession, Midwest, Social Change on June 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I am currently doing some research on the decline of the social contract and how we can improve America’s safety net. It doesn’t take long to discover that faith communities are increasingly the ones filling the gaps for families in need, often stepping up to provide vital services for those whose unemployment has run out or are not eligible for other social programs.

I often think of faith communities as kindly social service providers. What I forget is that they can also be agents of social change. What would the civil rights era have been without churches and faith leaders?

Enter the Greater Cleveland Congregations, an interfaith coalition working for change in the Cleveland community. I am blown away by their vision. Just take a look at their mission statement, which includes the word POWER!

According to the organizers,

The mission of GCC is to work together to build power for social justice. GCC unites people across lines of race, class, religion and geography to promote public, private and civic-sector actions that we believe will strengthen and improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods.

Maybe the Great Recession will create the catalyst needed to mobilize our communities. Research seems to back up this idea; according to a study released by UC-Riverside, the economic crisis has inspired or revived campaigns for economic justice among consumers, homeowners, and unemployed workers, as well as among a variety of public sector workers and their clients.”

Our elected officials act as though they are powerless to solve the problems of the day. It is easy to feel powerless just watching them drone on and on about deficits and budget cuts while ignoring the economic suffering going on across this country. This coalition reminds us that we are not powerless. It is time people to reclaim their power, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.


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