It is the common misperception that the US Constitution calls for a “wall of separation” between religion and state. The previous Blog “Two Steps Forward – None Back” reviews the reality of the religion and “state” alignment based in the Constitution.
When moving beyond that misperception, the barrier to collaboration with clergy and congregations will vaporize.
The next move for you, and in bringing along your associates, is mastering a few basic factors which guide the journey into the Religion Sector. You, as an influencer in the civic sectors, along with the clergy, as influencer in their sector, will both benefit from an overview of the Religion Sector 3.0 landscape of religion in society.
You may actually be further ahead in recognizing the arrival of the Religion Sector 3.0 era, if even simply from engaging with these Blogs and this website. You can provide the lead for associates and for clergy in traversing the shift from 2.0 to 3.0.
Someone I worked with early on related to me after participating in an organizing meeting – “I knew they were in 2.0, but I didn’t yet know what the 3.0 would be for them.”
There is a lot of guidance in a “A Local Official’s Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations,” which I co-authored. I often use the “Guide,” replacing “Local Official’s” with a Post-it with “Educator’s” or “Health Professional’s” or any other community leader.
Section 5, “Involve and Prepare Local Agency Staff and Departments,” recommends involving associates, regardless of your realm, in conversations from the outset, gaining their perspective, in general, and their sense of how specific outcomes might benefit from opening up an “appropriate and efficient” path to these assets.
Within the “Guide” it highlights that:
Education and training in Multi-Faith Awareness (for example, including a faith component in diversity training) will help fill what is often a vacuum on this topic among agency staff. Such education provides county and city departments with insight and skills to more effectively engage with and serve the diversity of faith in the community.
The first critical step is setting up your own infrastructure which enables you to establish with all clergy that you are committed to a mutual continuity of relationship. Seeing clergy as constituents in your realm will benefit from the three components that are the foundation for any process of Constituent Engagement. In this case:
- Database – clergy and congregations – all or sortable by delineation or project specific subset,
- Spectrum Engagement – denominations, demographic and geographic,
- Relationship Formation – Structurally and Person to Person.
For the first two, I am available for any technical assistance in the design of these components.
The third is where success happens or does not happen, long term and across the spectrum.
Interestingly, you will gain four-fold in initiating the clergy relationship formation.
A. Securing the clergy relationships for you,
B. Giving your associates access to an entirely new scope of beneficial relationship – this is all clergy, not just the self-selecting clergy who possibly they seek or seek them,
C. Providing clergy newfound relationships with civic sectors’ leaders,
D. It will also include, as they will attest to as remarkable for them, mutual clergy engagement with clergy associates with whom they have no contact – remarkably, and to make the point, this consistently includes clergy who are in congregations within a few miles of them.
What’s Next: Some factors that make it happen…Part 2 – An essential prerequisite – Your ability to become fluent in speaking “Multi-Faith.”
After That: Some examples of applications. – Please let me know if you have a project to consider – firstname.lastname@example.org