A Reflection on Outreach to Faith Communities
The mission of RESULTS is to build the political will to end poverty and bring powerful change to our global world. This mission aligns with any faith, religion, denomination, or moral view that values compassion. RESULTS’ recent introduction of anti-oppression language is especially important in building relationships with a variety of faith and moral communities. One example of anti-oppression language is that rather than saying poor people, RESULTS introduces the preferred alternative of people living in poverty. This empowering language shows that regardless of our situation we are all humans. Introducing anti-oppression language sheds light on a larger theme within RESULTS – that we are intentional about respect and openness.
This respect and openness will continue to pave the way for interfaith and multi-denominational outreach. Earlier this fall I had the opportunity to introduce RESULTS to members of the First Baptist Church (FBC) in Indianapolis, IN, with a fellow RESULTS volunteer from Austin, Texas. Mark’s parents are members of FBC so his mother, Pat, focused on encouraging members at FBC to attend our outreach meeting. Pat was excited about the opportunity to introduce RESULTS to friends in her faith community. I believe that RESULTS showed respect by having a member of the FBC community reach out to the congregation. We ended up having a great turnout with fourteen letters written to a local legislator! With all of the opportunities in doing interfaith outreach, there are also hurdles. I see that there may be challenges with openness to new ideas, especially regarding global initiatives when faith communities in the U.S. are experiencing their own difficulties.
I believe that RESULTS can push through these hurdles of resistance to openness by ultimately focusing on our commonalities, rather than our differences. It will take all of us to finally bring an end to poverty.