Faith-Based Community Organizing is a method of working with faith communities to address the problems and concerns of their communities, and in turn, vitalize and strengthen the life of congregations.
The Freedom Center for Social Justice works with individuals and communities of faith as a basis for mobilizing for justice, equality, and protections for all. All of our work is done intersectionally, and none more so than our faith-based efforts. What we have found is that when working with the church, it is nearly impossible to simply focus on one aspect in the lives of people of faith. Our faith-based organizing is centered around issues of homophobia, transphobia, and sexism within the church and within the larger community.
We focus on communities of faith because we have found through our work and research the following to be true:
- Many of the negative outcomes LGBTQ people experience are based on interpretation of Christian scripture.
- We see the Christian faith weaponized as an effective anti-LGBTQ tool within the political sphere, such that when elections come around, LGBTQ people, their families, and communities are offered up as pawns.
- So much of the harm that is being done to LGBTQ people is coming from people’s misinformed sense of morality, and this narrative is literally robbing people of life.
In 2018, we…
- Hosted our 3rd Annual Trans Faith in Action Network (TFAAN) Retreat. The Trans Faith and Action Network Retreat (TFAAN) is a safe and intimate space for trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people to have dialogue around the most pressing issues and challenges they face today. It is an opportunity to decompress, be heard, engage and collaborate with great and like-minded community.
- Hosted our Inaugural Liberating Theologies Speaker Series, a one-day experience exploring varying theologies with an emphasis on liberation and inclusion for the oppressed and marginalized. This series is an extension of our Do No Harm initiative, which works with people of faith and the broader community in North Carolina to shift culture and narratives that cause harm through interpretation of Holy Text and other religious writing.
- Co-Hosted the Uniting for Our Future Summit with the NC Faith Forward Coalition, a day-long event filled with engaging workshops by local activists and organizers. The mission of this summit was to empower affirming faith communities and our allies with radical organizing tools to reclaim a just and inclusive North Carolina. Bree Newsome, an artist and activist who drew national attention in 2015 when she climbed the flagpole in front of the South Carolina Capitol building and lowered the Confederate battle flag.
- Continued our Trans Seminarian Cohort, a yearlong leadership development program for transgender and genderqueer seminarians in the United States, co-hosted by the Freedom Center for Social Justice, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at Pacific School of Religion. Our goal is to encourage trans students during their training for religious leadership so that they complete their degrees, feel equipped to follow their vocation, and also embrace the fact that their impact as faith leaders can and should extend beyond their chosen settings for ministry and service to include the welfare of the broader communities in which they live. This is the only program that we are aware of that addresses the unique challenges and gifts of trans seminarians.
- Presented a workshop entitled “NC Churches in Ally-ship with TransWomen,” to guide participants through how to transform their places of worship into embracing communities for all women. This workshop provided trans–101 information to equip participants with the fundamental knowledge and tools they need to understand, take action for, and initiate conversations on gender justice.