Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Ecumenical Program for JustFaith Ministries in Albuquerque?

Gary Cook, Tricia Lloyd-Sidle, Sharon Bidwell
JustFaith Ministries has had a resounding success among Roman Catholic parishes in Albuquerque, with half a dozen or more churches having participated in the program for at least one year.  And there is good reason.  Anne Avellone at the social justice office of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has done a fantastic job promoting and supporting the program, which was the brainchild of Jack Jezreel,. JustFaith  has been available to Catholic parishes around the country for at least nine years.

But before I go any further, I'm sure there are readers of this blog who don't know much about the program. Here is a great description:
JustFaith is a scripture-based adult education program that looks at poverty and compassion through the lens of faith. Through prayer, study, and immersion experiences, participants are enabled to respond to the prophetic call to bring justice to a broken world.
And there was a nice write-up this year in the Jan-Feb edition of

The basic program, used in over 1,000 parishes and churches involving 20,000 people, is a 30-week process that empowers participants to develop a passion and thirst for justice, and prepares them for the work of social ministry.  (I say "basic," because other great programs are offered). 

In 2008, Bread for the World worked with JustFaith to develop a new ecumenical version of the curriculum to meet growing interest in the larger Christian community.  Bread for the World is now a full partner, along with Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and Pax Christi USA.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post.  We are working with the New Mexico Conference of Churches  and the JustFaith staff in Louisville, Ky., to promote JustFaith in Albuquerque.  We are just in the talking stages right now, but we some nice possibilities for our community.  There are a few options.  A church or congregation can embrace JustFaith as one of the programs it provides to its members.  Or a handful of churches can pool their resources and offer the program together.  (Some Catholic parishes in Albuquerque have done just that).

We would love to hear from anyone in Albuquerque who is interested.  (We have also introduced JustFaith to groups in Las Cruces and Santa Fe, and would like to promote the program in those communities too).

A number of  Bread members in Albuquerque (including yours truly) have participated in one or more of the programs.  We have provide you with some great testimonies.

(By the way, pictured above are Gary Cook, director of Church Relations for Bread for the World, and Tricia Lloyd-Sidle and Sharon Bidwell from JustFaith.  They all were here in Albuquerque to staff displays for the Association of Presbyterian Educators convention in Albuquerque in February).

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