Call to Renewal

Quiz the Candidates, Then Vote!

Election seasons present difficult decisions for Christians. We're unlikely to agree with any candidate on every issue—how do we discern which candidates come closest to sharing our vision?

The biblical imperative to overcome poverty calls us to care for the widow and orphan, to welcome the stranger, and to act in justice and compassion for those who are poor. Seeking God's help, we begin with our own commitment. However, we can not accomplish this goal by ourselves. Government at all levels—local, state, and federal—has an important role in developing, promoting, and implementing public policies that can help to overcome poverty.

Call to Renewal's Campaign to Overcome Poverty identifies seven specific goals for a good society. We are not committed to any particular ideological method or partisan agenda to achieve these goals, only that they be achieved. Accomplishing these goals will require the development and implementation of specific policies. Candidates for office will have views on different policy objectives, but do they share our concern that the seven objectives be achieved?

Call to Renewal invites you to use the questions listed under each of our societal goals to determine which candidates' views are closest to your own.

A good society should achieve:

1) A living family income for all who responsibly work. Statistics show that most poor people work, often more than one job. How will you help those who work, but are still poor, to rise from poverty? Over the past decade, workers at the bottom of the economic ladder have seen their incomes decline. How will you address this problem?

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine November-December 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

The Rich Get Richer

The gap between rich and poor in the United States has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Consider these facts, most of them from a December 1999 report by United for a Fair Economy titled Divided Decade: Economic Disparity at the Century’s Turn.

• In 1989, there were 66 billionaires in the United States and 31.5 million people living below the poverty line. In 1999, there were 268 billionaires and 34.5 million living below the poverty line.

• At the end of 1999, the top one percent of households had more assets than the entire bottom 95 percent combined.

• Between 1977 and 1999, the top 20 percent of households increased its annual after-tax income by 43 percent, while the middle fifth gained only 8 percent, and the bottom fifth lost 9 percent in after-tax income.

• CEO compensation rose by 443 percent between 1990 and 1998, while average worker pay increased 28 percent, only slightly ahead of inflation.

• A worker who earned $25,000 in 1994 would earn $138,350 today if worker pay had grown as fast as the average CEO’s, according to the AFL-CIO.

• The minimum wage used to bring a family of three with one full-time worker above the poverty line. Now it doesn’t bring a full-time worker with one child above the poverty line.

• The 1996 Census report shows a poverty rate for blacks of roughly 28 percent, for Latinos of 29 percent, and for whites of 11 percent.

• Growing evidence from epidemiologists around the world shows that the greatest danger to public health is inequality of resources.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine September-October 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Loaves and Fishes

Call to Renewal is seeking 1 million people to sign our Covenant to Overcome Poverty in order to put poverty on the national agenda. It might seem ambitious or even foolish for a group as small as ours to try to multiply a few endorsements into a million. However, we're encouraged by the fact that we're not the first to attempt such a daunting feat. From the beginning, people of faith have been able to summon miraculous results from just a few raw materials and a lot of divine intervention! (See Luke 9:12-17 for details.) So we're pressing forward with enthusiasm and determination.

The signature campaign is crucial to our efforts to persuade both the media and the politicians that the issue of poverty deserves their quality time. In fact, we think that it will induce candidates from both parties not just to read our invitation to the Call's Fifth Annual National Roundtable this October, but also to attend. There we will invite them into dialogue with Christian leaders concerning how to overcome poverty.

Thousands of people have already signed the Covenant or become Call to Renewal members, committing their hearts, minds, and pocketbooks to this movement, but we need many more. Please add your "loaves and fishes" to those we've already collected. Your voice is critical to the movement. If you have not already done so, please sign the Covenant and consider joining Call to Renewal. Do it by visiting our Web site at www.calltorenewal. com or calling 1-800-523-2773. We can send you blank signature forms for all your friends and family. We're confident that with your help, including your prayers for God's blessing, we'll collect more than enough signatures - perhaps even 12 extra baskets full.

The Call to Renewal welcomes...

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine July-August 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Poor No More

To his disciples, Jesus simply said, "follow me." That was an invitation, not a requirement, because an invitation respects the freedom of the invitee to accept or decline. An invitation was extended to the country to come to "Poor No More," the fourth annual National Summit on the Churches and Poverty.

In response to the invitation, more than 550 pastors, lay people, service-providing ministries, community development organizations, and representatives of human services departments gathered at National City Christian Church and the historic Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., for three days of worship, prayer, reflection, learning, and sharing.

Conference participants heard powerful messages of hope and determination, from the first evening's opening service led by Harvard University's William Julius Wilson and Rev. James Forbes, Senior Pastor at Riverside Church in New York, to the closing sermons on the conference's last day by Rev. Wallace Charles Smith of Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., Noel Castellanos of the La Villita Community Church in Chicago, and Mary Nelson of Chicago's Bethel New Life. Rev. Skip Long, national director of Jobs Partnership, blessed our souls with a creative spin on the Good Samaritan story titled "The Measure of Your Mercy."

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine May-June 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Call to Renewal's Fourth National Roundtable

Fifty people gathered in Washington on December 7 for Call to Renewal’s Fourth National Roundtable of Christian leaders, and it resulted in an exciting consensus about Call to Renewal’s future. Just by gracing a common table, they embodied the Call’s vision: Diverse Christians putting aside their differences to focus on overcoming poverty in this richest of lands.

The group included representatives of the U.S. Catholic Conference, Progressive National Baptist Convention, National Association of Evangelicals, National Council of Churches, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Habitat for Humanity, World Vision, Christian Reformed Church, Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, and the Assemblies of God. Also represented were Bread for the World, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Evangelicals for Social Action, Christian Community Development Association, and Public/Private Ventures, among others.

They had before them a draft document to review and discuss. Titled "A Covenant with America’s Poor," it came out of work done by the Call’s Policy Team, a group of researchers and academics chaired by the University of Pennsylvania’s John DiIulio and Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, and contained policy ideas to inject into the 2000 political campaign year.

Roundtable participants lost no time jumping into a spirited debate about the meaning of "covenant," the content of the document, its purpose, and the tone it should take. By the end of the day, a consensus had emerged that energized participants and staff alike. As later ratified by the Call’s board, there will now be a shorter covenant, substantially the same as the one being used to recruit individuals to become Call members. All national partners and local affiliates will be asked to sign it. (The covenant can be found on the Call’s Web site.)

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine March-April 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Making Poverty a Campaign Issue

A New Policy Team. This fall Call to Renewal gathered a group of experts on poverty and economics to help us formulate policy proposals to successfully combat poverty. Those who gathered in October—John DiIulio, Ron Thiemann, Ron Sider, and Wendell Primus—are part of a larger group who will regularly advise the Call on policy issues. The Call’s policy advisory group also includes such notable experts as Mary Jo Bane, Richard Parker, Brent Coffin, William Julius Wilson, Rebecca Blank, Marshall Ganz, J. Bryan Hehir, Donald Miller, and Paul Simon.

Roundtable on poverty. We convened in December the Call’s Christian Roundtable on Poverty, where we presented the recommendations from our policy advisory team to leaders of a diverse group of national denominations and church-related organizations. Representatives from World Vision, the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Association of Evangelicals, the historic black churches, mainline denominations, and many others were there. They focused on the agenda created by the policy team and reached a historic agreement to support a "Covenant to Overcome Poverty." This covenant is now the focus of our effort to get poverty in the national election-year debate.

annual summit, feb.13-16. The Call’s annual Summit, "Poor No More: A National Summit on the Churches and Poverty," will take place February 13-16. We plan to use this Summit to bring new vision, organization, and inspiration to our campaign to overcome poverty. At the Summit, we’ll present the "Covenant to Overcome Poverty" to the presidential candidates, whom we’ve invited.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine January-February 2000
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

People of Faith Overcoming Poverty

Last March Call to Renewal’s board decided it wanted a fresh expression of direction for the still youthful movement. The Call should, the board said, continue to address four related scandals and impediments to God’s shalom—poverty, racism, breakdowns in family and community life, and threats to the dignity and value of life. And it should do this while promoting a vision of collaboration across political, theological, and denominational lines. But the time is also right, the board felt, to undertake a special campaign to overcome poverty.

The result is a new mission statement for the movement. In addition, the Call to Renewal is testing the use of the descriptive phrase "People of Faith Overcoming Poverty" to replace "Christians for a New Political Vision." The following statement reflects how the Call hopes to arouse the imagination and energy of Christians:

Our Mission

Call to Renewal’s mission is to invite the churches and other faith-based organizations to join together in a biblical commitment to overcome poverty, dismantle racism, promote healthier families and supportive communities, and reassert the dignity of each human life.

  • We strengthen the capacity of existing church-based efforts for spiritual renewal, social responsibility, and moral politics.
  • We help to build upon old, and create new, networks of cooperation among churches and faith-based organizations at both the local and national levels.
  • We build partnerships with other faith communities, nonprofit organizations, business, labor, and government.
  • We forge a unified, faith-based, and nonpartisan voice on the most critical public issues that could shape a more fair and just society for us all.

Our Campaign

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine November-December 1999
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

By Faith and Hard Work

This summer was a significant step in the Call to Renewal’s evolution, as we welcomed new staff to take us forward into the future.

We’re pleased to introduce the new Call to Renewal staff members:

Mike Bruinooge of Grand Rapids, Michigan, began in June as the National Coordinator of Call to Renewal. He will be overall staff coordinator and point person to assure that the work of Call is accomplished. He has been seconded to Call to Renewal by the Christian Reformed Church, a partnership for which we are grateful. Mike previously worked for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee for 20 years. He was Africa regional director, disaster response administrator, and most recently planning and evaluations manager.

Mike grew up in Japan in a Christian Reformed Church missionary family. He graduated from Calvin College, Rutgers University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also worked as a staff person in the New Jersey state legislature. He sees this position with Call to Renewal as a coming together of the various streams in his life—public policy, social justice, bridge-building, and ecumenism.

Rev. Alice Davis of Washington, D.C., is our new National Organizer. She will be the lead person for our public events—including roundtables and summits—and will work at the national level with other organizations, leaders, and constituencies. She comes to us from Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where she has been executive director of the Family Life Center Foundation and minister of community outreach. Despite their loss, Shiloh’s pastor, Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, and the church as a whole have given her their blessing in her new ministry, for which we are also grateful.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

A Year of Transformation

‘When you put yourself in a situation where you have to depend on God, your faith will grow." These words from Doug VanderMeulen explain why he and more than 60 other young people from across the country have decided to spend a year living, ministering, serving, and learning in America’s inner cities. These young "urban missionaries" are participants in a program called Mission Year. This grassroots youth movement was initiated by Call to Renewal and founded by Tony and Bart Campolo. In just its second full year of operation, the program has brought together young people from more than 20 states who are giving a year of their lives to do ministry in some of the places it is most needed.

Mission Year missionaries form teams of six or seven young people who live and work together in inner-city communities. The program is designed to be an experience in Christian discipleship and service. Missionaries are nurtured spiritually while being empowered to make an impact on their communities. Participants give their time and energy to four primary activities: neighborhood outreach, personal/team development, volunteer work, and participation in local churches.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine July-August 1999
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

From Meeting to Movement

At the National Summit on the Churches and Welfare Reform, the strategic concept of a new federation that can magnify the voices of thousands of local and national faith-based organizations was greeted enthusiastically. The call to bring together people and organizations working to overcome poverty and heal the sins of racism is resonating throughout the country.

Both at the Summit and since, we’ve been asked for information on how to affiliate. At a two-day retreat in mid-March, the Call to Renewal board took steps to implement this new federation. We are eager to build on the momentum created by the Summit that was, in Rev. James Forbes’ words, a "meeting for a movement."

Underlying these decisions is our call to help mobilize and focus the moral energy of the faith community to lead by example and to offer a prophetic voice for spiritual transformation and social change. By bringing the nation’s faith-based organizations and church-anchored ministries into a new national network and voice, we will be stronger than we are separately or denominationally. Together we can motivate the nation to confront the pervasive poverty and persistent racism still present in the richest and most diverse country on earth. In asserting the moral importance of the common good, we can truly be a call to renewal in our society.

Structurally, Call to Renewal will become a federation inviting individuals, congregations, local community-based groups, national organizations, and denominations to affiliate together, each bringing their particular identity, strengths, and resources. Spiritually, we will covenant with each other and before God in this mission for spiritual renewal and social justice.

The goals toward which the Call to Renewal federation will work are:

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine May-June 1999
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Pages

Subscribe