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The Episcopal Church and Domestic Poverty Alleviation


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Title: The Episcopal Church and Domestic Poverty Alleviation

The Episcopal ChurchandDomestic Poverty
The Presiding Bishops Summit on Domestic
Poverty Faith in the Balance A Call to
Action By the Rev. Christopher A.
Johnson Program Officer, Domestic Justice and
Jubilee Ministries Ash Wednesday 2009
Matthew 2537-40
  • Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when
    was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
    or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
  • And when was it that we saw you a stranger and
    welcomed you, or
  • naked and gave you clothing? And when was it
    that we saw you sick or in prison and visited
  • And the king will answer them, Truly I tell you,
    just as you did it to one of the least of these
    who are members of my family,
  • you did it to me.

  • How can we help to break the cycle of poverty?
  • How can we become a place of refuge and healing
  • the most vulnerable members of our society?
  • How might we be a prophetic voice for those who
  • themselves stuck in dead-end situations?

Executive Summary
  • The Presiding Bishop convened this leadership
    gathering envisioning
  • the development of creative ways in which we can
    work collectively on common issues,
  • the development of steps to eradicate poverty in
    the United States,
  • say a word to the nation,
  • point to possible actions at the next General
    Convention, and
  • recognize, elevate, and celebrate all that is
    done on behalf of the poor on a daily basis in
    our congregations, dioceses, and institutions.

Executive Councils Jubilee Advisory Committee
Resolution to Establish a program for the
Alleviation of Domestic Poverty
  • Resolve 1
  • Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That
    the 76th General
  • Convention commend the Presiding Bishops Summit
    on Domestic
  • Poverty that met in May, 2008, recognizing with
    gratitude the witness and ministry of all those
    who work to address domestic poverty and
  • stand with the poor and marginalized and be it

  • This call to action provides a brief
    introduction that summarizes the summit event as
  • the beginning of a process designed to engage
    the ministry of the church as a whole in common
    mission that is
  • informed by Holy Scripture and Holy Baptism.

  • A Model for Domestic Poverty Alleviation is
    introduced that follows the
  • general format of a congregational development
  • The four-point organizing language of Vision,
    Formation, Networking
  • and Advocacy that emerged at the summit is
    preserved in the model
  • under the categories of Servant Leadership,
    Christian Discipleship,
  • Partnership in Mission, and Stewardship of
  • These four categories are further divided into
    three subcategories to
  • acknowledge the complexity of the challenges
    before us and to create
  • opportunity to draw the whole of the church
    around domestic poverty as
  • a common mission.

  • The model intends to provide a relational
    structure through which an
  • effective response to domestic poverty can be
  • It does not intend to provide the details of a
    particular localized
  • response
  • nor does it intend to provide particular
    strategies that will be adopted by
  • the participants.
  • This design is to assure a broad sense of
    ownership, which includes
  • ownership by those populations it intends to

  • Stakeholders have been identified to correspond
    to each of the
  • subcategories based on the focus of their
  • A process has been recommended that outlines
    necessary action steps
  • for implementation. The details of that process
    are sufficiently loose at
  • this point so that stakeholders are free to shape
    the model based on
  • their areas of expertise.
  • The model places its faith in the balance sought
    among stakeholders
  • as ideas are exchanged and goals are established.
    The model seeks to
  • nurture faith in the balance between piety and
    action, personal desire
  • and communal responsibility.

During the summit we arrived at these four
categories as organizing tools to aid us in our
conversation. We approached these categories
using language as follows
  • Vision
  • to share the blessings we have
  • for the good of the whole to
  • remember who we are that
  • we are infinitely valuable
  • Children of God and to see the
  • infinite value of the Child of
  • God in each of our neighbors.

2. Formation
  • to remember that as Christians we are a
  • people of mission, not only overseas, but
  • in our local context as well the scope of
  • our work is not an either/or dichotomy.

3. Networking
  • to assess, coordinate, and
  • disseminate information about
  • various outreach efforts and
  • resources available or needed
  • to alleviate poverty in its
  • domestic context.

4. Advocacy
  • to argue and insist on justice for the
  • people of God and for creation and
  • to break away from our history of
  • charity models rather than
  • partnerships.

  • It is the interdependence of relationships that
    strikes at the heart of the
  • challenge before us as a faith community seeking
    to alleviate domestic
  • poverty.
  • The effectiveness of our engagement of each of
    the four elements we
  • will be developing is dependent upon our
    willingness and capacity as a
  • body to work for the common good. And, it will be
    out of this mutual
  • effort that we become a place of refuge and
    healing for all. The adapted
  • model explores the dynamics interacting between
    Servant Leadership,
  • Christian Discipleship, Partnership in Mission,
    and Stewardship of
  • Creation as categories that can accommodate the
    summit categories of
  • Vision, Formation, Networking, and Advocacy.

Vision, Formation, Networking, Advocacy
  • Local/Contextual
  • Consultant
  • Corporate
  • Scripture
  • Reason
  • Tradition
  • Congregations
  • Agencies
  • Fund Partners
  • Time
  • Treasure
  • Talents

Servant Leadership .
  • Will you persevere in resisting evil, and
    whenever you fall into
  • sin, repent and return to the Lord?

Revelation 211, 3-5
  • Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the
    first heaven and the
  • first earth had passed away, and the sea was no
    more. And I heard a
  • loud voice from the throne saying, See, the home
    of God is among
  • mortals. He will dwell with them they will be
    his peoples, and God
  • himself will be with them he will wipe every
    tear from their eyes. Death
  • will be no more mourning and crying and pain
    will be no more, for the
  • first things have passed away. And the one who
    was seated on the
  • throne said, See, I am making all things new.
    Also he said, Write this,
  • for these words are trustworthy and true

Mark 1042-45
  • You know that among the Gentiles those whom they
    recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and
    their great ones are tyrants over them.
  • But it is not so among you but whoever wishes to
    become great among you must be your servant, and
  • whoever wishes to be first among you
  • must be slave of all.
  • For the Son of Man came not to be served but to
    serve, and to give his life a ransom for many

More on the nature of leadership
  • This is an interesting word, healing, with its
    meaning, to make whole.
  • Perhaps, as with the minister and the doctor,
    the servant-leader
  • might also acknowledge that his own healing is
    his motivation. There is
  • something subtle communicated to one who is being
    served and led if, implicit in the compact
    between servant-leader and led, is the
  • understanding that the search for wholeness is
    something they share.
  • (Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership)

Elements of Vision discussed at the summit
  • The introduction of a major empowerment fund
    directed to combat systemic issues of poverty
  • The development of a nine-year plan that provides
    annual strategies and priorities for church-wide
    promotion and education
  • The establishment of a Domestic Poverty Task
  • The development of an overall message addressing
    domestic poverty

Christian Discipleship .
  • Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
    News of God in
  • Christ?

1 John 49-11
  • Gods love was revealed among us in this way God
    sent his only Son
  • into the world so that we might live through him.
    In this is love, not that
  • we loved God but that he loved us and sent his
    Son to be the atoning
  • sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved
    us so much, we also
  • ought to love one another

The summit assumed Eleven Essentials of Justice
  • Affordable Food
  • Employment
  • Affordable Quality Childcare
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • A Just Immigration Policy
  • Cultural Affirmation
  • Equal Protection Under the Law
  • Economic Opportunity
  • A Healthy Environment
  • Housing

Conversations around the work of Formation at the
summit encouraged the Church to
  • Develop strategic programs for congregational
    faith formation and poverty alleviation
  • Focus on lifelong learning
  • Develop Bible Study programs and theological
    education resources
  • Provide experiential programs designed to educate
    and transform participants (clergy and lay)
  • Provide domestic missionary opportunities
  • Explore how to use formation to promote the need
    for public awareness

Executive Councils Jubilee Advisory Committee
Resolution to Establish a program for the
Alleviation of Domestic Poverty
  • Resolve 2
  • Resolved that the Episcopal Church recognize the
    pressing challenges
  • to those living in poverty and the working poor
    throughout this nation
  • and call for new and innovative strategies to
    address issues related to
  • nutrition, employment, childcare,
  • education, healthcare, environment,
  • housing, as well as equal protection under law
    and cultural affirmation,
  • and in particular be it further

Partnership in Mission .
  • Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons,
    loving your neighbor
  • as yourself?

Proverbs 318-9
  • speak out for those who cannot speak, for the
    rights of all the destitute.
  • Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights
    of the poor and needy

Effective Partnerships are established when
people and organizations unite in support of
common mission.
  • As applied to the Model for Domestic Poverty
    Alleviation, such
  • partnerships represented at the summit would
    naturally bring together
  • representatives of our congregations, social
    service agencies, and our
  • funding organizations.
  • While each organizational culture has its own
    particular interests and
  • perceived mandates for existing, in the context
    of the Church all three
  • seek to serve Christ faithfully through their
    ministry and the programs
  • they offer.

Partnerships in Mission Congregations, Agencies
Fund Partners
The conversation on Networking at the summit
called the Church to
  • Promote and develop improved collaboration among
    stakeholders through comprehensive database
  • Establish grant-writing partnerships
  • Promote ecumenical partnerships
  • Foster partnerships among grassroots empowerment
  • Partner through shared programs for leadership
  • Explore the financial requirements for funding
    such an initiative
  • Assure the placement of benchmarks and means for

Stewardship of Creation .
  • Will you strive for justice and peace among all
    people, and respect
  • the dignity of every human being?

2 Corinthians 810-15
  • And in this matter I am giving my advice it is
    appropriate for you who began last year not only
    to do something but even to desire to do
    something now finish doing it, so that your
    eagerness may be matched by completing it
    according to your means.
  • For if the eagerness is there, the gift is
    acceptable according to what one has-
  • not according to what one does not have. I do not
    mean that there should be relief for others and
    pressure on you,
  • but it is a question of a fair balance between
    your present abundance and their need,
  • so that their abundance may be for your need, in
    order that there may be a fair balance.
  • As it is written, The one who had much did not
    have too much, and the one who had little did not
    have too little

Everyone one has a gift to offer Time
  • In this model it would be helpful to expand this
    traditional teaching in
  • light of Pauls words from 2 Corinthians so that
    stewardship, as it is applied to the work of
    alleviating domestic poverty, seeks to draw out
  • all of the resources available in a way that
    advocates an ongoing vision
  • of justice. Since all have gifts to offer, the
    challenge of stewardship is to
  • identify and receive gifts from those in
    perceived positions of power
  • equally as from those in perceived positions of
    vulnerability and need.

Everyone has a gifts to offer Treasure
Talent Episcopal Appalachian Ministries share
stories at the Domestic Poverty summit
Elements of Advocacy raised at the summit
  • Developing strategies for the utilization of
    property and buildings
  • Planning collaboration among ministries of social
  • Allocating budget funds to address domestic
  • Encouraging public statements focused on issues
    of domestic poverty to the Church, including
    General Convention, and to the Nation

Necessary Actions Steps for Implementation
  • Identify leadership to oversee each of the four
    focus areas and facilitate development.
  • Ask for buy-in from each of the organizations
    suggested, revise those listed if necessary.
  • Convene an initial gathering of the
  • Review comments from the summit event.1
  • Discuss how these four areas compliment one
    another and are interdependent.
  • Provide training for group interaction.
  • Establish measurable goals for each group for the
    period 2010-2018 based on the categories listed
    in the 11 Essentials of Justice presented during
    the summit event.
  • Form groups to develop general strategies to
    accomplish goals.
  • Form groups to develop timelines for monitoring
  • Develop consolidated list of measurable goals
    with timelines.
  • Introduce Native American response as a beta test
    group through which evaluation and revisions to
    the model can be made.

Necessary Actions Steps for Implementation
  • Convene Native American leadership from beta test
    group during 2010-2012.
  • Repeat step 3.
  • Establish budget to accomplish goals.
  • Test goals and timelines established by overall
    strategy team against those determined by beta
    test group.
  • Note variances and weigh importance of those
    variances to strategies.
  • Convene focus group leadership to receive Native
    American plan.
  • Initiate planning discussions with other target
    populations during 2011-2012 to design models.
  • Review contents from step 3.
  • Apply learning from Native American model.
  • Repeat step 6 for new target population.
  • Convene focus group leadership to receive new

Stakeholder Commitment for Domestic Poverty
Executive Councils Jubilee Advisory Committee
Resolution to Establish a program for the
Alleviation of Domestic Poverty
  • Resolve 3
  • Resolved, that the Church as a special focus in
    the new triennium,
  • recognizing that many of the poorest counties in
    the United States are
  • among Native Peoples living on reservations,
    gives priority to our
  • sisters and brothers of this land whose
    population has increased while disparities in
    income, economic security, health and health
    care, and
  • quality of life continue unabated,
  • and be it further

Executive Councils Jubilee Advisory Committee
Resolution to Establish a program for the
Alleviation of Domestic Poverty
  • Resolved, that a program be
  • developed at Church Center,
  • reporting to Executive Council, with
  • measurable goals for an advocacy
  • program to federal, state and local
  • governments to reduce poverty in
  • these counties, and measurable goals
  • to build capacity and sustainable
  • communities through development
  • initiatives working with local dioceses
  • and tribal governments, and that a
  • minimum funding level of 400,000
  • per annum be made available from
  • the General Convention for these initiatives, and
    be it further

Resolve 4
  • During the 2010-2012 triennium 400,000 per annum
    has been
  • requested in this resolution. Funding for this
    initiative will underwrite
  • two categories of expenses those which serve to
    develop strategic
  • relationships out of which common goals are
    established and those
  • through which targeted capacity building for
    local implementation and
  • development aimed at poverty alleviation can
  • Funding for strategic relationships for the
    purpose of establishing
  • common goals. The Model for Domestic Poverty
    Alleviation has two
  • emphases a meta narrative that establishes
    timelines and outcomes
  • that intend to be responsive to issues of
    domestic poverty experienced
  • by all categories of people and a beta narrative
    that establishes the
  • same criteria with a particular focus on Native
    American Poverty
  • Alleviation.

Domestic Poverty Alleviation Model
ImplementationOverview of 2010-2012 Triennial
Budget Proposal
  • Expenses associated with developing strategic
  • 2010 2011 2012
  • Gatherings 140,000 110,000 150,000
  • Consultants 40,000 30,000 30,000
  • Total 180,000 140,000 180,000 500,000
  • Expenses associated with capacity building for
    local implementation
  • development
  • 2010 2011 2012 Total
  • Domestic Program Dev. 60,000 60,000
    60,000 180,000
  • Native American Program 160,000 200,000
    160,000 520,000
  • Total 220,000 260,000 220,000
  • Summary Total 400,000 400,000 400,000

Executive Councils Jubilee Advisory Committee
Resolution to Establish a program for the
Alleviation of Domestic Poverty
  • Resolve 5
  • Resolved, that primary coordination be in the
    Advocacy Center,
  • particularly the Office of Jubilee Ministries and
    Domestic Justice, The Office of Native American
    Ministries and the Office of Government
  • working with the Executive Council Committee on
    Indigenous Ministries
  • and in partnership with other appropriate offices
    from the mission Centers and other bodies as may
    be identified such as the Episcopal Church