November 1, 2008
The second annual Walking Alongside workshop to address poverty in community ministries was held Oct. 17-18 at Baylor University. Forty-five participants from 13 churches and three denominational organizations attended the event, sponsored by the Baylor School of Social Work Center for Family and Community Ministries.
This year the workshop introduced new curriculum titled "Understanding Poverty," a six-week unit to help congregation members understand the complexity of the poverty situation in the United States. Last year, the workshop introduced "Legacies of Care," also a six-week unit, that addressed how societies have addressed the needs of the impoverished from earliest civilizations to the current administration.
"There's nothing out there like this," one participant said. "We've been looking for this kind of information for our churches, and it's just not there."
The "Understanding Poverty" unit includes lessons that address some of the common perceptions about the poor. Lesson titles include: "The poor will always be with us," "Not everyone deserves our help," "If they'd just get a job, they wouldn't need help," "We all have the same opportunity in America," "She can afford that and she's on welfare?!" and "What can one person do about poverty?" The unit also includes a glossary titled "Welfare 101: The Language of Poverty."
The curricula has been developed by Baylor School of Social Work faculty and students through the provision of a grant from Christ is Our Salvation Foundation to help congregations develop sustainable community ministries.
A panel presentation featured community ministry leaders and congregational social workers involved in community ministry. They included Jeremy Everett, John Garland, Carol McEntyre, Jason Pittman and Kretcha Roldan-Rodriguez.
The workshop was funded in part by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas Poverty Initiative, organized by Rick McClatchy. The initiative includes more than a dozen churches in Texas who are intentionally utilizing resources offered by the CFCM to address poverty in their communities.
For more information about Walking Alongside, contact Gaynor Yancey or Jon Singletary.
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