Our Current Programs
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Faith Voices for the Common Good (FVCG) was founded in 2004 and received its 501c3 status in 2007. We plan and sponsor educational programs, events, and other such activities:
- to engender new ideas that re-frame progressive religious values and inspire new strategies for positive change;
- to strengthen networks of religious organizations, and
- to identify and support new religious leaders committed to creating a just, sustainable, peaceful, and more beautiful world.
Our current projects are the Axis of Friendship with Iran and the Truth Commission on Conscience in War. In addition, we are a cosponsor of the Poverty Truth Commission of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.
Through our programs, we have focused on issues of war and peace, the protection of religious freedom, and social justice. At the core of our work have been several guiding practices:
- Creative Networks and Coalitions: We form and work with existing coalitions of progressive religious people and organizations and secular progressive groups, especially unusual partners who would benefit from new cooperative ventures.
- Nimbleness and Responsiveness: We use religious values in relation to current issues to make educational interventions that further social change.
- Innovative, positive approaches to social issues: We frame social transformation in progressive religious values and use the arts and nonpolarizing strategies to promote our goals.
Our Past Programs
Gather Heart (2005-2007)
Faith Voices offered this nationwide sermon-preparation program for clergy and other religious leaders seeking a collaborative approach using internet technology to enhance preaching and educational efforts.
Hard Road Home 2008
Faith Voices organized the Bay Area Premiere of Hard Road Home, a searing documentary about Julio Medina, a drug-dealing gang leader sentenced to Sing Sing prison. Julio served 12 years and emerged a changed man. He created Exodus Transitional Community, an amazing program run by people formerly incarcerated and dedicated to breaking the downward cycle of recidivism.
EnVision: the Gospel, Politics, and the Future, 2008
Faith Voices cooperated with New York Theological Seminary on the conference June 8-11 at Princeton University The event featured 500 attendees and over 60 speakers, including Randy Balmer, Rich Cizik, Andrea Smith, Obery Hendricks, Brian McLaren, Pamela Lightsey, Brenda Salter McNeil, Jay Bakker, Lisa Sharon Harper, Shane Claiborne, and Jim Wallis.
Faith Voices worked with the Justice Collaborative of the Graduate Theological Union and the First Christian Church of Oakland to host rough cuts of director Amir Soltani’s documentary, Redemption, about those who survive poverty in West Oakland by recycling. The film screening was followed by a hearing of the Justice Collaborative Poverty Truth Commission.
Faith Voices organizational members have used the social software, Synanim, an educational technology for initiatives that can be advanced by online exchanges of ideas and the development of a creative synthesis of user ideas. In 2009, Faith Voices took Synanim offline to reengineer its administrative interface.
In past uses, the Synanim technology has demonstrated its effectiveness in facilitating online discussion and identifying the values and applications of those values among diverse religious viewpoints. The written results of the Synanim process have been used as educational documents for wider audiences, demonstrating what religious values are shared and also how they apply to public policy. Participant numbers in past uses of Synanim ranged from 12 to 13,000. Among these past uses were:
Lift Every Voice: Christianity and the Future of America, 2004
A thousand progressive Christians, including clergy and educators, gathered online to create a document expressing the values of justice, healing, peace, and care for creation. The document was posted at church websites, read from pulpits, and used as a study document in many churches in preparation for the fall 04 election cycle.
Declaration of Interdependence 2005
In response to Hurricane Katrina, participants produced a Declaration of Interdependence.
Peace Not Poverty 2005
Thirteen thousand created the final document, which final leader Kelley Ogden read at the Beyond Iraq interfaith service at Riverside Church on April 4.
Beyond Iraq 2006
The Beyond Iraq statement was presented to the general public at the March for Peace, Justice and Democracy in New York City, April 29 and at a public presentation to the United Nations on May 1.
2008 Centennial Social Creed
Faith Voices worked with the National Council of Churches using Synanim as part of a national dialogue about creating a 2008 Centennial Social Creed for churches to commemorate the 1908 Social Creed. Both creeds published in Westminster Press, 2008, Prayers for a New Social Awakening.
Staff and Board
IRS Status, 501(c)(3)