Educating Religious Leaders for Faith-Rooted Social Justice Work


A Sate-of-the-Field Report By Auburn Seminary


July 2013


This report maps and analyzes the field of educating religious leaders for faith-rooted justice work in America. The scope of this report is limited to places and programs where religious leaders are intentionally educated, equipped, or trained to engage in social justice work and leadership. The findings of this report are based on more than thirty interviews of educators in the field from 26 institutions conducted in 2013.

What is Faith-Rooted Justice Work?

The Reverend Alexia Salvatierra, a veteran organizer in faith communities and an Evangelical Christian, coined the phrase “faith-rooted” in 2007 while working with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). She used the phrase to describe a style of organizing and action work that is shaped and guided in every way by faith principles and practices. As she would later write in her book (with Peter Heltzel), Faith-Rooted Organizing, “Faith-rooted organizing is based on the belief that many aspects of spirituality, faith traditions, faith practices and faith communities can contribute in unique and powerful ways to the creation of just communities and societies.”

While a consensus definition of faith-rooted organizing or faith-rooted work for social and economic justice may not yet exist, the following characteristics are lifted up by champions of the movement:

  1. This is not merely organizing people of faith, rather it is helping people of faith dig into their religious traditions and spiritual practices as grounding for the action work.
  2. Politicians or other leaders are not targets, they are children of God, and should be treated with love and respect.
  3. The point is less about winning a battle, and more about being in the ‘right fight.’
  4. Engagement holds the possibility of transforming people at an intrapersonal level, in terms of their relationships in the community while simultaneously addressing the social context which is creating them.
  5. The perspectives of poor people should be prioritized for the sake of the common good.

These practices stand on the shoulders of historical faith-rooted activism such as the civil rights movement led by figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., the Central American Sanctuary Movement in the U.S., and the farm workers movement led by Cesar Chavez, among many other inspiring examples of justice work that communities of faith have led and participated in. Indeed, faith-rooted justice work is not a new practice, it is an ancient one. What is new, however, is: (i) a burgeoning commitment to systematically teasing out and understanding the role that faith plays in justice work vis-à-vis secular practices; (ii) new contexts and new tools to engage in faith-rooted justice, such as an increasingly multifaith American society and digital organizing practices; and (iii) a blossoming of formal education programs that strive to equip leaders of faith with specific skills, practices and knowledge to engage in faith-rooted justice work.

Existing Education Programs

We’ve compiled a list of profiles of education programs in the faith-rooted social justice field separated into two categories: (i) NGO and congregation-based programs, and (ii) seminary-based programs. Please help us keep these lists up to date.

NGO and Congregation-Based Education Programs

American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute
At the University of Southern California. The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute offered a 9-month leadership program for Muslim civic leaders (ages 25-40) across the country from 2008-2013. 84 fellows in four cohorts have participated. The fellowship is on hiatus while the leadership explores the development of regional programming. While all fellows were exposed to organizing techniques as part of the program, some were more focused on social justice work and community organizing than others (who may prefer community development, governmental leadership, etc.). Partnership with Bend the Arc’s Community Organizing Residency, with five full-time Muslim organizers emerging from that relationship. Also convened meetings of Muslim organizers.

Beatitudes Society
From 2006-2011 the Beatitudes Society offered a summer-long CPE-inspired program for seminary students to practice and learn Christian-rooted social justice leadership. Students were placed in major cities at sites like Bread for the World and Sojourners. After a major evaluation of the program’s impact in 2010-11, Beatitudes adjusted its program offering and re-launched as an elite year-long fellowhip program for early career Christian religious leaders engaged in social justice work in a congregation setting. Fellows must be under 40 and within 7 years of seminary. The newest class was announced in the summer of 2015.

Bend the Arc
Bend the Arc, which formed from the merger of various Jewish social justice institutions in recent years, is working to build “a national movement that pursues justice as a core expression of Jewish tradition.” Bend the Arc currently offers three core leadership development programs: (i) the Selah Leadership Program trains Jewish leaders working in social change organizations (6 months, 1 week intensive plus ongoing learning). 275 leaders from 200 orgs have been trained since 2004. (ii) the Jeremiah Fellowship is for Jews age 22-32 in northern or southern CA or D.C. who are engaged in economic and social justice work. 200+ alumni to date. (iii) Detroit Community Leadership Initiative is a new regional offering in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Jewish Communal Leadership Program. 19 young leaders (ages 25-38) were part of the first cohort.

Christian Community Development Association
The Christian Community Development Association focuses on faith-based and asset-based approaches to community development. They generally work with churches to engage in their neighborhood. Through regional training programs and a national conference (with over 2,500 attendees), CCDA educates, inspires and equips clergy and lay leaders to engage in faith-rooted community development. CCDA is more focused on community needs than national campaigns.

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE): Ziegler Young Religious Leaders Fellowship
An early version of this program started in 2002. The current summer organizing fellowship is open to students, non-students, lay leaders and pastors from high school to graduate school ages. Participants learn faith-rooted community organizing techniques through “deep training, shadowing, hands on practical work to develop strong relationships with local religious communities and worker leaders.” The current version of the fellowship began in 2012. In 2013 there were 9 fellows.

Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts: Leadership Development Initiative
The Leadership Development Initiative trains teams of people of faith (mostly from Episcopal congregations in greater Boston area) in faith-rooted action skills over the course of a 9-month program. The techniques and philosophy are rooted in Marshall Ganz’s thought and adapted for communities of faith. In 2012-13, fourteen teams participated in the program, which includes discerning and then launching a specific mission program. Funding comes from the Episcopal Diocese, Episcopal City Mission (a local foundation), and individual donors.

Inner-City Muslim Action Network
The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago may be the most advanced home of Muslim-oriented social justice work in America. In 2007 IMAN offered its first organizing training, and is now honing training programs to be even more effective (a new Community Organizing 101 Training will launch in September 2013). Over the years, IMAN has developed forms of Islamic-rooted community organizing that have been influenced by the Ta’leef Collective. IMAN also opened a health clinic to support the neighborhood (40% of patients are Muslim), runs a campaign to work with owners of corner stores to offer healthier food and drink alternatives, and offers various arts programs.

Interfaith Organizing Initiative, Seminary Strategy Table
The Interfaith Organizing Initiative is a working table of denominations, religious bodies, organizing networks and funders committed to advancing Congregation-based Community Organizing (CBO). The Seminary Strategy Table of IOI was launched in 2010 to strengthen the ties between congregation-based community organizing practices and seminary training. Steve Newcom is chair of the effort. The group held a daylong strategy session in April 2013 in Chicago.

Interfaith Worker Justice
Interfaith Worker Justice, based in Chicago, trains a handful of seminary students each year (from McCormick, North Park, University of Chicago Divinity School, and Garrett) in both academic year experiences and through a summer internship program. The learning focuses on the community organizing experience and is supplemented by theological reflection. IWJ’s goal is to educate religious communities to address issues of worker justice. 3-5 day organizing training for faith leaders are part of IWJ’s offerings.

JOIN for Justice: Seminary Leadership Project
The Seminary Leadership Project in synagogue-based organizing was founded at Interfaith Funders and later housed by Jewish Funds for Justice before moving to JOIN for Justice in 2011. Over 200 rabbinical and cantorial students have been trained through their seminary course in congregation-based organizing, one in NYC and one in LA (led by Just Congregations), and field-based organizing internships in synagogues and NGO’s. JOIN also offers a year-long paid community organizing fellowship in Boston for young Jewish adults ages 21-30.

Judson Memorial Church, Community Ministry Program
Donna Schaper created this unique parish-based educational program for seminary students and recent graduates. Judson became a unique field site for religious leaders who wanted to engage in intensive congregation-based urban social justice work. In 2012-13 there were seven community ministers in the program (for a total of 48 since 2006). Critical funding for the program was provided by the Carpenter Foundation. Although the future of the program is uncertain, the program was pioneering. See “precedents” section below for mention of a survey of related programs carried out in 2009.

PICO National Network
The PICO National Network trains and equips leaders for faith-based and faith-rooted organizing through various programs. Two one-week-long national trainings are held each year (Jan. and Aug.) for leaders and clergy. The August 2013 training had 130 participants. While these trainings include faith reflection, the bulk of the content is focused on understanding power and learning campaign skills. In addition, each PICO campaign offers quarterly trainings (2-3 days each) for campaign leaders. A newer Prophetic Voices Initiative works with clergy to develop forms of religious leadership that complement campaign-driven approaches.

Religious Action Center, Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Program and Brickner Rabbinic Seminars
The Religious Action Center (RAC) is the advocacy arm of the Union for Reform Judaism. For more than thirty years, the RAC has offered an intensive year-long program for recent college grads to engage in Jewishly-informed social justice advocacy in D.C. Six to eight legislative assistants are selected each year. Participants engage in a mix of legislative activity (attending coalition meetings, meeting with members of Congress, writing press releases – 60%) and programmatic activities that create materials to educate members about the issues (40%). Many alumni become rabbis and Jewish communal leaders. The RAC also offers an occasional yearlong Brickner Rabbinic Fellowship, designed to provide rabbis with the foundation and skills to be “more effective social justice advocates.” The program has 28 alumni (from many streams of Judaism) and a new cohort is being recruited in 2014 in partnership with CLAL.

Sojourners was founded by seminary students in D.C. in the 1970’s who were frustrated with their seminary’s silence around civil rights and the Vietnam War. Today, Sojourner’s specialty is bringing the ‘social justice gospel’ to conservative Christians. Sojourners currently offers the following education and training programs: (i) intern program, year-long full-time experience including life in an intentional community (~8-10/year). Includes both post-undergrad and second career folk. 30 years in the running; (ii) Emerging Voices project strives to “support the next generation of faithful leaders articulating the biblical call to social justice.” Includes mentoring by Jim Wallis, support group, active pushing out of fellows voices, and training (started in 2011); (iii) faith-rooted organizing training: 4-5 trainings a year of leaders at the regional level who then train at the grassroots, tends to focus on Hill-based advocacy. Full version (2-3 days) by invitation for leaders with existing networks, and 1-day version at conferences, etc.

T’ruah: Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
T’ruah offers a range of opportunities for rabbinical and cantoral students of all denominations to integrate issues of human rights into their religious education through the Year in Israel Program and the Summer Fellowship in Human Rights Leadership.

Seminary-Based Education Programs

Claremont Lincoln University: MA, Religion and Social Change
Claremont Lincoln launched a multifaith MA in Religion and Social Change in the fall of 2013 with six students. The program was conceived by professors of ethics from the university’s various schools (including Claremont School of Theology, Academy of Jewish Religion, University of the West, and a new Islamic school). Helene Slessarev-Jamir and Santiago Slabodsky will teach most of the required courses to start. Includes an interfaith requirements in dialogue, leadership, and learning about other religions. Students can take advantage of relationship with the Drucker Institute.

Covenant Theological Seminary: City Ministry Initiative
Covenant (affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of America) launched the City Ministry Initiative to bring the school into a more intimate relationship with the city of St. Louis where it is located. A new MA Religion and Culture was launched. Many students help faith communities serve the large refugee population (St. Louis is the 3rd largest destination for refugee settlement in North America). “Cultural intelligence” learning was added to the MDiv curriculum. Faculty are reinterpreting what missiology and evangelism means. The initiative has also led to a major relationship building with the city’s arts community, as well as a significant emphasis on vocational discernment.

Denver Seminary: MA Mission and Justice
Denver Seminary launched the professional MA in Mission and Justice in 2012 with approximately 25 students and 25 more entering in 2013. The program is designed around evangelical approaches to justice and tends to attract evangelical students. Gary VanderPol, whose dissertation focused on evangelical responses to poverty, designed the curriculum. Students earning an MDiv can also do a concentration in Mission and Justice by taking 12 extra credit hours.

Fuller Theological Seminary
Fuller offers two areas of emphasis that feature justice-oriented work: children at risk, and international development and urban studies. Courses such as Advocacy for Social Justice and Organizing Urban Communities prepare students for faith-rooted justice work. The Just Peacemaking Initiative promotes learning and research of faith-rooted peacemaking practices. The Deep Justice initiative at the Fuller Youth Institute focuses on youth issues in justice work.

Iliff School of Theology: MA in Social Change
Iliff’s MA in Social Change is entering its fourth year with a new curriculum developed by Jenny Whitcher. Expected enrollment of 23 in 2013-14. This program sits alongside an older peace and justice certificate program, but the MASC is more praxis- and professionally oriented.

New York Theological Seminary: Micah Institute
NYTS offers a Doctor of Ministry in Transformation Leadership and Faith-Rooted Organizing, with roughly 10 clergy entering the program each year (30 have begun the program so far, and 10 more will begin in Fall 2013), 80% from NYC region and 20% around US. In addition to academic and theological learning, DMin candidates are exposed to significant field-based faith-rooted organizing in NYC and travel to the American South to better understand the role of faith-rooted activists during the civil rights movement.

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary: Justice and Evangelism Concentration
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary offers a concentration in Justice and Evangelism that prepares leaders for exploring new ways of doing and being church that are centered in both social justice and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that respond to the changing dynamics of the new century. Special attention is given to skills for developing ministries with and in service to people who have been marginalized by mainstream society. Participants in this concentration address the intimate link between social justice and the well-being of God’s good garden Earth, and they have access to the wealth of inter-religious engagement offered by Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union of which PLTS is a member.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College: Social Justice Organizing Program
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College launched a “track” for its rabbinic students to focus on social justice organizing and leadership, the first specialized academic track at a Jewish seminary to focus on justice organizing. The program emerged out of the Selah program (now at Bend the Arc) and features leadership training based on Rockwood’s approach. Students study Jewish perspectives on key issues like economic justice and environmental justice. They learn a variety of skills, including finance, nonprofit administration, active listening, social entrepreneurship, community organizing and nonviolent action, and learn how the Jewish community functions. Participants complete a year-long supervised field placement in justice-oriented field sites (10 hrs a week).

Starr King School for the Ministry: MA in Social Change
Starr King’s two-year MA in Social Change receives about 5-10 new students each year. Through a close and active one-on-one advising relationship, faculty work with students to create an individualized, student-centered learning experience. The program features a specialization area, 6-month internship, integrative reflection class and final Masters Project. Starr King is committed to eight “thresholds of religious leaders” (Pastoral Counselor/Spiritual Director, Teacher, Artist, Pastor/Congregational Leader, Scholar, Prophet/Social Change Agent, Preacher, Theologian). Students can take courses from GTU schools and UC Berkeley.

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities: Center for Public Ministry
Steve Newcom founded the Center for Public Ministry at United in Minneapolis to develop more holistic and praxis-based approaches to religious-based social justice leadership (see “precedents” section below for more info on Newcom’s research prior to founding the Center). He is working with faculty to introduce social justice learning into coursework and is creating justice-focused field experiences outside and inside congregations. His colleague Sue Ellers Hatley is also working to use CPE learning in community-based justice institutions.

Wesley Seminary: MA with focus on Missional Church and Urban Ministry
The Center for the Missional Church at Wesley Seminary is creating an approach to religious leadership called ‘engaged ministry.’ Under traditional taglines like urban ministry, public theology, and evangelism, the Center is working to get students and churches engaged in the community as well as being witness to their neighbors. Some students participate in special programs (see below) while others do internships in community NGO’s. Takes advantage of downtown D.C. location. Community organizing and policy advocacy are not currently integrated into these programs.

Analysis Of The State Of The Field: 9 Findings

1. A faith-rooted approach to social and economic justice is a new outgrowth of a faith-based approach, which itself grew out of secular social change practices.

  • Faith-rooted social change practices emerged from a deep desire of communities of faith to ground their efforts toward improving the world in the teachings and practices of their respective religious traditions.
  • Taken as a whole, the leadership education programs for faith-rooted justice work are relatively underdeveloped, both in terms of volume and sophistication, when compared to similar education programs in the field of secular social change work.
  • The historical development of the field of faith-rooted activism, which has roots in the fields of nonviolence and theologies of liberation, is beyond the scope of this report. For a helpful backgrounder, see the report “Putting Faith First: Traditions and Innovations in Organizing within Religious Communities” (2012) and the forthcoming book Faith-Rooted Organizing by Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel (InterVarsity Press, 2014).

2. Faith-rooted justice work is an emerging field of practice.

  • A consensus understanding of the uniqueness of faith-rooted justice work has not yet emerged. Best practices are still emerging. Disagreements may be generational (e.g. community organizers vs. digital organizers) as well as tactical (faith-based organizing vs. faith-rooted organizing).
  • Many leading practitioners are zealous about their methods, creating a guru-like ecosystem. A generously collaborative environment has yet to emerge.
  • There is no serious study that proves the unique role or impact of faith communities in bringing about change. Yet anecdotally, and through qualitative assessments like Jeff Stout’s Blessed are the Organized (2010) and the 2004 Res Publica report, there is a shared sense among practitioners that Americans of faith have an enormously powerful role to play on many issues of justice.
  • Practitioners of faith-rooted justice work engage in a variety of practices, such as: community organizing; digital organizing; community development (or asset-based development); policy advocacy; lobbying at the national level and local/state level (by denominations, other NGO’s, etc); direct service (soup kitchens, shelters, etc.); public re-framing of language and messages; and movement building work.

3. The field of educating leaders for faith-rooted justice work is just beginning to blossom.

  • There are four different types of sites with such education programs (these programs are detailed in Appendix A): (a) congregations with deep experience in justice work that offer an education program, e.g. Judson Memorial Church in NYC; (b) justice-focused religious NGO’s with an education program, e.g. Sojourners, CLUE and the Religious Action Center; (c) non-seminary religious leadership training programs with a focus on social justice, e.g. The Beatitudes Society, JOIN for Justice, and the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute; and (d) seminaries with justice-focused educational offerings.
  • All educators interviewed for this report envision pedagogies that combine action with reflection, praxis with theory, field experience with theological reflection. A few educational efforts have successfully integrated these two aspects of learning, but most educational programs could strive for a better balance. In most NGO’s, field experts impart their experience through apprentice-like methods or internships, with limited attention to questions of formation, spiritual practices, or theological reflection. In seminaries, theory and reflection take up most of the learning, with praxis-based learning receiving more limited attention. Educators have yet to share curricula, develop a shared educational vision, articulate competencies, debate best practices or create standards of excellence.

4. How we got here: faith-based NGO’s led the way by pioneering education programs to equip religious leaders for social change work.

  • Leading NGO’s, as opposed to seminaries, have been training their own practitioners. These programs took on the form of year-long internships, short-form trainings, and fellowship programs. Until recently, such programs rarely offered theological reflection or other formation-oriented forms of education.
  • Early pioneers (10+ years of experience training leaders) include Sojourners, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), the Religious Action Center, the Christian Community Development Association, a network of Jewish NGO’s that became Bend the Arc and JOIN for Justice, and the Inner-city Muslim Action Network.

5. Seminaries are deeply committed to social justice work in their mission and language, but most seminaries show little commitment to educating and equipping religious leaders with the necessary capacities or skills to carry out social justice work in congregations or other organizations.

  • A survey by Steven Newcom (United Theological of Twin Cities, MN) in 2007 of 60 seminary leaders found that while seminaries were skilled at “talking the talk,” they had little to no practical training available for their students in social justice ministry. Change-making techniques, practices for applying religious teachings and wisdom to contemporary social issues, and even spiritual practices that help sustain justice work were absent from most seminary courses on social justice. More recently, leading seminaries began offering field-based internships and hiring practitioners as adjuncts to address this gap.
  • In 2005, Charles Foster and his co-authors noted in Educating Clergy that “…the null curriculum [of seminaries they visited] – what seemed most absent – was some attention to the dimensions of public spiritual leadership, especially those spiritual practices associated with the historical concerns for justice in both Jewish and Christian traditions…in our surveys of students, alumni and alumnae, and faculty, only small numbers of present and former students chose ‘engagement in social justice and advocacy’ as one of their five most formative experiences during seminary from a list of twenty possible choices (pp285-6).
  • As early as 2005, seminaries began offering new degree programs like the MA in Social Change. Such degrees are now offered by Iliff School of Theology (Denver), Denver Seminary, Starr King School of Ministry (Berkeley), Claremont Lincoln University (Claremont, CA), and the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE, in Chicago).
  • Other seminaries offer MA specializations, certificates, and fellowships that equip religious leaders for social change work. Such programs are offered at Wesley Seminary (Washington, D.C.), United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Chicago Theological Seminary, and St. Paul School of Theology (Oklahoma City).
  • There is one nation-wide effort to encourage seminaries to adopt the specific praxis of congregation-based organizing. The Interreligious Organizing Initiative has a seminary steering committee that strives to introduce congregation-based community organizing into seminary curricula.

6. Faith-rooted justice education networks need support: connections between seminaries and NGO’s are emerging and need to be strengthened and broadened, and connections across faith lines need even more attention.

  • In the Jewish world, strong connections exist between non-Orthodox rabbinical schools and the Jewish social justice NGO ecosystem. The Beatitudes Society, which works with progressive Christian seminary graduates, has also developed strong ties to seminaries and denominational structures.
  • Some seminaries allow their students to earn field work credit at regional social justice NGO’s. Anecdotally, seminaries report increasing demand among students to do field work or CPE with social justice NGO’s.
  • Directors of programs that educate religious leaders for social justice lack awareness of related programs outside their own faith community.
  • Of the four precedent reports reviewed for this project (see Appendix B), none of the authors knew of the works of the others.

7. There is excitement about the possibility of bringing together leaders from the field and the seminary to advance the cause of faith-rooted social justice education.

  • Social justice educators in the field expressed a strong desire to create a more interactive, mutually beneficial environment of partnership with seminaries and with others educating religious leaders for social justice. They are hungry to have access to seminary students and to deepen the academic and theological grounding of their work. Some seminary educators interviewed also expressed a strong desire to participate in such a network.

8. No institution is examining the national picture of equipping religious leaders for justice in order to build the field.

  • Certain individuals, like Alexia Salvatierra who provided significant consultation for this report, maintain a deep connection to the field and its history. But no institution has taken on that responsibility. Many early educational pioneers of the field, such as Steve Newcom (Minneapolis), Donna Schaper (New York City), Anne Howard (Santa Barbara), Peter Heltzel (New York City), Mary Nelson at SCUPE (Chicago), and staff at Sojourners (D.C.), are justifiably focused on their particular education programs. Seminaries that are starting to offer related degree programs are also focused on the success of their own institutions.
  • The seminary steering committee of the Interreligious Organizing Initiative takes a national perspective, but is focused largely on the specific tool of congregation-based organizing rather than the larger toolbox of faith-rooted social justice practices.

9. Models for congregation-based justice work merit and need more attention.

  • As part of any effort to improve the state of equipping religious leaders for social justice work, special attention should be paid to the needs of congregational leaders.
  • Anecdotally, many pulpit clergy are at a loss of how to introduce social justice practices to their congregation. They feel much more confident in their pastoral and preaching skills than in their social justice leadership skills. Many congregational leaders desire to bring such work to their congregation, but fear the repercussions, e.g. alienating particular congregants. In some cases, the motivation for engaging in justice work may be rooted in a desire to revive a weak congregation.
  • Among NGO pioneers of faith-oriented justice work, controversy exists about the most effective, and most faith-rooted, ways to work in and with congregations. A variety of models exist: some models require participation of the entire congregation, some focus on the role of religious leaders, and other models work with small groups of motivated congregants within a congregation. Often, models of engaging congregations are attached to a particular NGO or a particular organizing ideology.

Recommendations For Future Work

  1. Study and research the needs of religious leaders with respect to their social justice leadership. Survey outcomes of existing education programs. Create assessment tools that allow educators and religious leaders to analyze their faith-rooted justice leadership, knowledge and skill-sets.
  2. Explore models for social justice work in congregational settings, from multiple faith communities, to improve our understanding of how congregational communities can successfully engage issues of social and economic justice.
  3. Convene leaders from seminaries and faith-rooted justice NGO’s to strengthen the ties between and among leaders within these two communities. Develop a network of seminary educators and field NGO staff to improve collaboration in the field. Explore the possibility of developing a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) -style, competency-based approach to justice ministry (“Justice Ministry Education”).
  4. To strengthen a growing field, Auburn Seminary should pilot its own social justice leadership education programs for religious leaders who are passionate about faith-rooted justice work, based on Auburn’s particular experience in multifaith education, media-based leadership, digital engagement, and the Auburn Leader traits. Leaders from multiple settings (pulpit, NGO, media) should participate.

List of Individuals Consulted for This Report

Alexia Salvatierra, consultant to numerous faith-rooted justice organizations, provided initial and ongoing mapping and guidance to this project. In addition, each of the following individuals were formally consulted on the topics included in this report.

American Jewish World Service (NYC): Lisa Exler, Senior Program Officer, Experiential Education; and Rebecca Wasserman, Director of Campaigns and Organizing

American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California: Nadia Roumani, Founder.

Beatitudes Society: Anne Howard, Executive Director

Bend the Arc (NYC): Jason Kimelman Block, Senior Director of Leadership Initiatives and Rabbi-in-Residence; and Stosh Cotler, Executive Vice President

Christian Community Development Association (CCDA): Bethany Dudley, Education & Curriculum Director

Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis): Gregory Perry, Director of City Ministry Initiative

Denver Seminary: Gary VanderPol, Director, MA Justice and Mission

Echoing Green (New York City): Linda Kay Klein

Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena): Mark Lau Branson, Homer L. Goddard Professor of the Ministry of the Laity

Iliff School of Theology (Denver): Jenny Whitcher, Director, Masters in Social Change program

Inner-city Muslim Action Network (Chicago): Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director; Alia Bilal, Executive Associate; and Zeinab Bakhiet

Interfaith Worker Justice (Chicago): Sung Yeon Choi-Morrow, Student Programs Coordinator

Judson Memorial Church (NYC): Donna Schaper, Senior Minister

Leadership Development Initiative (Boston), connected to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts: Duncan Hilton, Director of Programming

McCormick Theological Seminary (Chicago): Deborah Kapp, Professor of Urban Ministry and Interim Dean of Faculty

New Organizing Institute (Washington, D.C.): Katie Ellis, Director of Training

New York Theological Seminary (NYC): Peter Heltzel, founder of Micah Institute and co-author of forthcoming Faith Rooted Organizing

North Park Theological Seminary (Chicago): Richard Kohng, Paul De Neui, Soong-Chan Rah (faculty)

PICO National Network (Washington, D.C.): Joy Cushman, Campaign Director

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Wyncote, PA): Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Director, Social Justice Organizing Program

River City Community Church (Chicago): Ivan Gonzalez, Pastor

Seattle Pacific University: Tali Hairston, Director of the John Perkins Center

Sojourners (Washington, D.C.): Elizabeth Denlinger Reaves, Intern Program Director/ Administrative Director; and Jenny Smith, Sojourner intern 2012-13

Starr King School for the Ministry (Berkeley): Gabriella Lettini, Professor of Theological Ethics and Dean of Faculty; Betty-Jeanne Rueters-Ward, Adjunct Faculty

United Theological Seminary (Minneapolis): Steve Newcom, Founding Director, Center for Public Ministry

Uri L’Tzedek (national) Shmuly Yanklowich (founder)

Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, D.C.): Doug Powe, Professor of Evangelism and Urban Ministry; and Sam Marullo, Assistant Director of the Center for Public Ministry

Reproduction and Feedback

This report may be shared and quoted, with attribution, in print and electronically. The report and the information therein may not be sold. Feedback about the report, including errors, omissions, and praise, should be directed to Auburn’s Dean, Rabbi Justus Baird. Auburn expresses gratitude to the educators listed above for giving generously of their time to share information and wisdom.

© Justus Baird and Auburn Seminary 2013-15.

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