The Center develops faith-led community partnerships to take what is already alive and thriving and move it more strongly and dynamically toward building Loving Community
The Center is a catalyst. The scientific meaning of “catalyst” is an agent that speeds up an existing process. This is a good way to think about what The Center does. Communities always have lots of good things happening already. We just come along side to help fan their flames, bring a different perspective, or connect them with other partners. Chemical catalysts are often fundamentally changed in the catalytic process. We also gladly embrace the ways in which we will be changed by participating with communities engaged in a transformational process.
We do this by focusing our work in four areas:
- Catalyzing Communities
We work with specific communities on thoughtfully crafted faith and community partnerships that address the root causes of health disparities
- Catalyzing Congregations
We work with faith communities to make sure they have the resources, structures and confidence to lead faith and community partnerships to eliminate health disparities.
- Catalyzing Leaders
We work with the full spectrum of leaders who are active in faith and health–health professionals, lay people who may have little formal education, religious leaders, academics, etc.—to connect them with each other and create a common language and approach.
- Catalyzing Connections
We connect the faith and health movement in metropolitan Chicago through Quarterly Meetings, Conferences and Summits, the chicagofaithandhealth.org website, and other focused meetings and gatherings.
We are learners in this work, but we have some core ideas that we try to incorporate into everything that we do.
Building Relationships: Important things happen when people connect. It is the source of creativity and provides the glue that holds people together when the work gets tough.
Practicing Our Faith: The practices and rituals of our religious and spiritual traditions give us the spirit power to make meaning out of our experience and to dare to dream beyond what seems possible.
Learning: We’ll never know all that we need to know. A learning stance enables us to stretch and lean beyond our comfort zone.
Aligning Our Efforts: Too often we work very hard and with great passion in our own circle and miss the connections that help to keep things as they are.
Hurt and Hope: We think there’s a lot of power where hurt and hope meet in our lives and in our communities. We try to figure out ways to connect communities to that power.
Loving Community: This is our goal. How is it defined? By the community.
So what does all this look like practically? Check out Our Projects to get an idea of some of the ways that we are trying to put these ideas into action.