Friday, December 5, 2008

Community Organizing and Lutherans

Two weeks ago, Rev. Lucy Kolin, a Lutheran pastor from Oakland, stood in front of Congress and, with the support of a thousand congregations across the country, asked Congress to prevent the foreclosure of 2 million homes.
How is it that a pastor from a small congregation on the west coast ended up leading a protest in Washington D.C. and being interviewed on CNN? Community Organizing.

A few years back the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland started a listening campaign with the help of People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO), a community organizing network. The congregation discovered that its parishioners were deeply concerned by the fact that housing in Oakland was prohibitively expensive, meaning that parishioners were being forced to move away and the surrounding community was in a state of decline. With the realization that members of the congregation had a common cause, and grounded in the conviction that you can't serve your neighbor if you don't have any neighbors, the congregation began researching, conversing, and connecting, so that now their demands for affordable housing for all people have been heard by city officials all the way to United States Senators. All of this because they decided to listen to the concerns of the members of their congregation.

1 comment:

Ben Colahan said...

The Rev. Lucy Kolin is the small white-haired lady holding the microphone in the very center of the picture--a lot of power in a little package!