I began my Blogs, below, with “Religion Sector 3.0” and then “Two Steps Forward – None Back,” Next, in “An Interlude,” I explored the immediate shift from flashes of race influenced violence in our society which were accompanied by isolated calls and long sought waiting for a response. Now that call is not isolated.
In addition to acknowledging these significant moments, I related how moving “forward” in these moments benefits from how Religion Sector 3.0 can aggregate the call and response in the local community, throughout the nation.
Now I return to Religion Sector 3.0 and “exploring how this makes a difference.” What are the sweeping benefits as we shift from the historic and currently dominant Religion Sector 2.0 to the Religion Sector 3.0 era?
The magnitude of this difference is a result of a designed Religion Sector, which includes the infrastructure for engaging all clergy and congregations in a region.
“A Local Official Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations,” which I wrote in collaboration with the California Institute for Local Government, lists three benefits for community leadership and institutions of all the civic sectors* of society. These also benefit individual constituents who are sharing more and more in advancing issues throughout society.
- Extending Local Agency Education and Outreach
- Deepening and Diversifying Public Engagement
- Partnering in the Delivery of Programs and Services
*government, education, non-profit, business, religion
Individual community leaders and individual constituents, are the essential “influencers” when it comes to moving “forward.” Those who want change will have to stand against systemic institutional and cultural barriers. It is only with their success at “extending, deepening and partnering” that they will be able to move forward, breaking through these barriers.
We are currently deadlocked within our formal state and national institutions and in our local modes of collective discourse. New visions will need to emerge from new perspectives which are going to depend on “extending and deepening and partnering,” so more people and a greater diversity of people share in the collective discourse.
As I stated in the last Blog, the congregation is the institution in every community with the greatest number of people, meeting more frequently and maintaining expansive communication by email and website. Those individuals affiliated with any single congregation represent to a greater and greater degree, the diversity of race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, political alliance. The list goes on.
In some congregations diverse group of congregants may not worship at the same time. In some places, a greater diversity exists in geographic clusters of congregations, even on the same block.
In the first month of my assignment to frame the infrastructure for Regional Clergy Engagement, I drove a neighborhood in a community demographically diverse. I spotted a church spire and headed that way. The pastor was in and I asked about the congregants. He related that when he arrived, they were the historic Irish population, with the addition over time of Hispanic and Filipino congregants. Each convened its own Church Council and gathered at separate worship times. He began a process of convening sessions of Council representatives, resulting in, among other things, the planning of three shared celebrations each year. Relationships had changed, misperceptions had significantly diminished, the “community” had emerged.
Within the infrastructure provided by Religion Sector 3.0, the vibrant cluster in this congregation became the vibrant clusters of congregations throughout the Peninsula. All tied together by the “cluster” of clergy framed within the infrastructure afforded by Regional Clergy Engagement. Each Regional and Area Dialogue, Discussion with superintendents of schools, city managers, state assembly members, health professionals, office of emergency services and emergency managers, etc., reflected the denomination, demographic, geographic mix of the jurisdiction and the constituents they serve.
This made a difference, whether it was engaging around the different perceptions of each other, the challenges of a community crisis, or the role of congregations in a specific projects related to a health issue, disaster preparedness and response, seniors, students academic and personal success, or land use planning. The list goes on.
The difference is the unprecedented ability to engage all the clergy, and through them all the congregations, and through them the critical portion of community constituents, and through them, their families and friends – the vast representative majority of the community. With this bandwidth, there is no limit, as the past 15 years has confirmed, to the magnitude of the paradigm shift in moving “forward.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Some factors that make it happen…
THEN: Exploring some examples of applications. Please let me know if you have a project to consider.
Rabbi Jay Miller RELIGION SECTOR 3.0
1.0 On the Town Square 2.0 Walls of Separation
3.0 Alignment: Among Congregations – Within Society
rabbijaymiller.com firstname.lastname@example.org 650.740.4411