The Common Good

History

Sojourners ministries grew out of the Sojourners Community, located in Southern Columbia Heights, an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The community began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in The Post American, Jan-Feb 1973 the early 1970s when a handful of students began meeting to discuss the relationship between their faith and political issues, particularly the Vietnam War. In 1971, the group decided to create a publication that would express their convictions and test whether other people of faith had similar beliefs. What emerged was a publication committed to social justice and peace: The Post-American.

In the fall of 1975, the fledgling community moved to Washington, D.C., where both the community and the magazine took the name Sojourners. The biblical metaphor "sojourners" identifies God's people as pilgrims—fully present in the world but committed to a different order. The community lived together in common households, had a common purse, formed a worshipping community, got involved in neighborhood issues, organized national events on behalf of peace and justice and continued to publish the magazine.The community also gave birth to a variety of ministries, including the Sojourners Neighborhood Center, which from the early '80s through 2001 ran after-school and summer programs for local children.

Sojourners, September 1976Over the years, however, Sojourners went through a variety of transitions. Slowly, the household communities gave way to an intentional community (with a common rule of life). Needless to say, Sojourners has suffered its own history of division, uncertainty, and glory. Today, the community context has shifted away from an intentional model; rather we are a committed group of Christians who work together to live a gospel life that integrates spiritual renewal and social justice.

In 1995, Sojourners founded Call to Renewal, with many other partners and organizations, to specifically focus on poverty by uniting churches and faith-based organizations across the theological and political spectrum to lift up those whom Jesus called "the least of these." For more than a decade Call to Renewal convened the broadest Christian table on poverty in America. In 2006, Sojourners and Call to Renewal re-united organizationally under the name Sojourners/Call to Renewal. In October 2007, the organizational name returned to Sojourners, while the special focus on uniting churches on poverty continued to be a priority in the advocacy work of Sojourners.

Sojourners, June 2007

Sojourners are Christians who follow Jesus, but who also sojourn with others in different faith traditions and all those who are on a spiritual journey. We are evangelicals, Catholics, Pentecostals and Protestants; progressives and conservatives; blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians; women and men; young and old. We reach into traditional churches but also out to those who can't fit into them. Together we seek to discover the intersection of faith, politics, and culture. We invite you to join, to connect, and to act. Welcome to the community.


Serious researchers may also want to check out the official Sojourners Archive maintained by the Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections.