Who's Afraid of Community Organizers?


(system) #1

In an article on religious leaders as community organizers, Sojourners notes the work of a Seventh-day Adventist.

When Ryan Bell took over as pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church in California, it was a withering congregation with only about 50 active members. And, he says, “We had a homeless ministry we couldn’t afford and a debt that was about to kill the church.” Bell reluctantly closed the feeding program for the homeless but resolved to find a more practical way to address the issue.

Soon he discovered LA Voice, a congregation-based community organizing federation affiliated with the PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing) National Network that was working to have the city create permanent supportive housing for the homeless in Hollywood.

The Adventist congregation threw itself into that effort, which succeeded against intense local opposition. After that experience, Bell told Sojourners, he went to the Voice organizer and said, ‘Where do we sign up to join?’” But the organizer told him that there had to be a committee of lay leaders involved. “I just groaned,” Bell remembers. “I thought, ‘That’ll never happen.’” But Hollywood Adventist is now an integral part of the LA Voice federation working for affordable housing.

Read the rest of the article, "Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Community Organizers?" here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2601