11 Old Firsters went to the P.O.W.E.R. (Philadelphian Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) meeting on Sunday afternoon, June 5 at Mt. Tabor AME on 7th Street. They were excited about how POWER could bring the religious community to work together to make a difference in our city, particularly on education, jobs, housing, public safety and healthcare. They also could see how POWER could help us at Old First.
At the meeting, those of us present committed to bringing the opportunities we see in POWER before the Old First congregation (with an eye to deciding if we will be involved) and to try and bring 40 people from Old First to the September 25 Founding Assembly.
To that end, there WILL BE an adult forum this Sunday, June 12 @ 10 a.m.:
Where people who went last Sunday will present informally what they saw and why they think that POWER is something that Old First should be involved. Michael will be ready to answer any of your questions.
If you have heard about this organization, but don’t quite understand what community organizing is, or if you wonder what it would mean for us to take this on, here is your chance to learn more.
On Sunday, June 26, after worship, we will have a training session: “How to Conduct One-on-One Relational Meetings.”
One-on-Ones are the backbone of community organizing. They are used to initiate relationships, identify leaders and their passions, conduct research, and build strength that can then be turned towards effecting needed, concrete changes in our world.
One-on-Ones are necessary for us to begin working towards the turn out for the Sept. 25 meeting. And, if we so decide, they are also integral to our on-going participation in POWER.
But they could also be important for Old First. We are a growing church, with new people showing up pretty much every week. To get to know them, and help them find their place among us, as well as to help even long-term members past just knowing the outlines of each others’ lives, One-on-Ones could be a great help.
Michael is also excited about the help that Old Firsters doing One-on-Ones could provide him. Too much up to now, both the “welcoming newbies beyond worship” and the “identifying leaders” functions that our organization and future are so dependent on have fallen mostly on his shoulders. One-on-Ones might be a way to spread the work and involve more people in both of these activities that our crucial to the upbuilding of our faith community and the faithful effectiveness of our mission. One-on-Ones are like yeast: if you get a few people intentionally and effectively building relationships, the whole loaf rises.
On Sunday, Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr., professor of Religion and chair of the center for African American Studies at Princeton, spoke to the POWER Assembly. He explained how for the last 40 years elitist forces in American life have been actively and effectively undermined, even reversed our tradition of an expanding political, social and economic franchise. He challenged us, as the faith community, to stand together and to stand up for a bigger vision of a more equal society… a more faithful way wherein every last one of God’s children is counts. Dr. Glaude suggested that the work of POWER can remake this city so it does not serve the privileged and the powerful at the expense of the least and the last (the vast majority!).
Let’s organize so all our neighbors be taken into account. Let’s call and work for a city that is for all of us.
That sounds like Old First’s vision and mission…