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Seattle University


Strengthening Faith-Based Responses to Social Issues

Puget Sound Interfaith Network for Public Theology begins its work

August 2, 2017

The School of Theology and Ministry’s Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs took a key step forward in enhancing faith-based responses to our most pressing social issues when the Puget Sound Interfaith Network for Public Theology began its work last month.

The 13-member cohort, comprised of local religious leaders and community partners, held its first meeting July 6. Center director and faculty member, Manuel Mejido, opened the meeting by outlining how the network is instrumental to the Center’s efforts to foster more effective faith-based responses to the most pressing social problems, such as homelessness and the affordable housing crisis. 

The network members will meet periodically to discuss issues of capacity building among faith-based organizations, and will be in dialogue via Canvas and videoconference with the Center Scholars, who assembled for an Inaugural Symposium on Homelessness in April and are conducting research projects around faith-based responses to homelessness. On April 25-27, 2018, scholars and Network will present their respective research and capacity-building work at a second symposium at Seattle University, with SU faculty, staff and students, and other community partners in attendance. 

At the interfaith network’s first meeting this month, Mejido highlighted four objectives that will orient the group’s work: 

  • Identify the capacity needs of faith-based organization
  • Provide guidance on the development of community education programming
  • Ensure that the research of the Center Scholars speaks to the local reality
  • Enhance the skill set of religious leaders to serve as public theologians 

“The wealth of experience in the room made for a rich and wide-ranging conversation that began with a questioning of the very framework from which faith-based organizations tend to approach issues such as homelessness,” said Mejido.

Visit the Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs webpage to learn more.