An Overview Statement on Religion Sector 3.0 – Highlights

My role as Religion Sector Specialist began as the result of the initiative I directed…under the auspices of the Peninsula Community Foundation, now part of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. 

Initiating the position…provided the same sweeping transition as the initial designation of the position Superintendent of the County Office of Education.  My experience was basically, and remarkably, to be designated in the region as “the superintendent of the religion sector.” …I was able to broadly link people and resources.  …This position enabled me to guide a comprehensive communal discourse which examined and advanced concepts …impacting the nature of (a) the Religion Sector, (b) the relationship between the Religion Sector and the Civic Sectors, and (c) religion in society.

… I have recognized that this new Religion Sector 3.0 “Operating System” enhances each facet of constituent and community engagement, extending outcomes to new and greater scales….  

Regional Clergy Engagement (RCE)

My first assignment was to ascertain the methodology for constructing the database of every clergy person and congregation in a region.  Although this did not exist in any county in the nation, the mechanics were…there, and the database of all 440 clergy was in place within a few months. 

Building on Regional Clergy Engagement (RCE), the Foundation had two objectives, (a) the mutual engagement of all clergy, and (b) the collaboration between all the institutions of the civic sectors and all congregations, on the widest range of community matters.

As those 10 years progressed, the Peninsula clergy and civic sectors’ leaders realized more and more that they were truly experiencing the new Religion Sector 3.0 era.  This landscape enabled all concerned to move forward… beyond the barriers imposed by the common misperception of a “wall of separation” between “religion and state” and the attitude that “state” included all aspects of the civic sectors – government, education, human services and business. 

The historic image [persists]of the “separation” – among congregations of different religions and between congregations and the institutions of the society…[The] alignment found [further] definition through the communal discourse in 31 Regional Dialogues over the 10 years.  The Dialogues were the forum for the mutual engagement among clergy…and clergy and the leaders of the civic sectors…

Systemic design replaced ad hoc.  Alignment replaced misalignment.  Appropriate and efficient replaced …the misperceptions of inappropriate and ad hoc [inefficient] experiences…

…In as much as the county-wide database was critical in framing the initial infrastructure platform, as the consultant in other regions, I demonstrated that the existence of that database is not a prerequisite to projects for engaging all clergy and congregations.  The methodology derived in compiling the first database provided the know-how to engage all clergy…

Multi-Faith Awareness

Since the beginning of this project, people have shared privately with me their lack of a common and comfortable language for discourse on religion. 

I shared this observation with superintendents and city managers.  They acknowledged that for professional staff, in their academic training and in the institution required diversity training, religion was not included among race, gender, nationality, etc.  As part of …my role as the regional Religion Sector Specialist, I began conducting training in Multi-Faith Awareness for…each sector. 

The three sections within the curriculum review:

1 of 2

Clergy Social Capital (CSC)

Civic Sectors’ Leadership Religion Sector Social Capital (CSLRSSC)

One clergy Dialogue topic, “Clergy Social Capital,” focused on how clergy could enhance these relationships and impact their community engagement.  What became apparent were the limits on the time available to each clergyperson … they now recognized how this limitation impacted their ability to establish essential professional relationships with the key civic sectors’ leaders…

…It clearly diminished what had now been confirmed as the viability of (a) the greater effectiveness of clergy and (b) their collaborative power and that of congregations on behalf of strengthening community and individual lives.

… I designed a formula that would enable clergy, in 30 hours a year, to know and be known by each of their … leaders of government – cities, county, state – and education…

This also included establishing relations with the clergy serving the ten closest congregations.  The lack of this relationship was consistently stated by clergy…

I initiated the workshop series, “Clergy Social Capital,” which provides clergy with the components and technical assistance to make these connections in a time frame more than consistent with the benefit to them, the congregation and their congregants.

The technical assistance guided them through their initial calls, what to say and even what not to say, to firmly secure that continuity of mutual relationship…

This personal connection is also the foundation for framing collective clergy connections and the civic sectors’ leader’s collective clergy engagement through models of “coffees with clergy” and “Congregation Based Constituent Engagement” (CBCE).

There is a parallel curriculum, “Civic Sectors’ Leaders Religion Sector Social Capital,” which utilizes “A Local Official’s Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations.” …which I authored for the California Institute for Local Government.

For two decades, I have experienced the positive outcomes of conversations based on Multi-Faith Awareness within government, education, health services, business, and religion. 

In those situations, with an individual who was at a loss as to how to have a discussion on religion, it reflected issues of attitude, knowledge, and language.  In every case, their personal capacity and the collective value of the discourse shifted 180 degrees … Their personal comfort, knowledge and contribution extended further as they shared in collaborative efforts with colleagues and with their institution staff. 

Moving Forward

We share in a society which promotes the strengthening of community by increasing the level of collaborative consciousness through Cross Sector Collaboration…

I look forward to exploring how you can benefit from enhancing the scope of (a) awareness of Religion Diversity and (b) incorporating the Religion Sector in your Cross Sector Collaboration…

Rabbi Jay Miller   Religion Sector 3.0

 www.­rabbijaymiller.com   jaymiller@blueconnect.org   650.740.4411

1.0  On the Town Square   2.0  Walls of Separation  

3.0  Alignment: Among Congregations – Within Society