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Interfaith Community Organizing: Emerging Theological and Organizational Challenges

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Chapter Summary

Interfaith work in the United States takes diverse forms: from grass-roots collaboration on projects such as feeding the homeless, to locally-sponsored interfaith dialogues, collaborations sponsored by national denominational bodies and shared work on federal 'faith-based initiatives'. This chapter profiles the characteristics and dynamics of a particular type of interfaith work, done under the rubric of 'broad-based', 'faith-based' or 'congregation-based' community organizing. For reasons detailed below, it terms this form of interfaith and religious-secular collaboration 'institution-based community organizing'. By drawing on results from a national survey of all local institution-based community organizations active in the United States in 2011, the chapter documents the significance of the field, its broadly interfaith profile, how it incorporates religious practices into organizing, and the opportunities and challenges, both theologically and organizationally, that religious diversity presents to its practitioners and to North American society.

Keywords:institution-based community organizing; interfaith community organizing; organizational challenges; organizing activities; religious composition; religious diversity; religious practices; theological challenges; United States

10.1163/9789004246010_003
/content/books/b9789004246010_003
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