Building Common Ground

One of the most important goals of the Call to Renewal is to unite Christians who traditionally have not worked together, on the issue of poverty. We are using the metaphor of a "roundtable" to describe a new partnership. These local roundtables are not a new organization, but a table that can bring people together for common action.

Organizing these local roundtables is a central part of the development of the Call to Renewal network. It is an opportunity to build new relationships and connections, to engage in vital discussion about the church’s responsibility to the poor. It is a chance to discover new ideas, to explore common ground, and to profile some of the best faith-based programs in the community. An active roundtable can strengthen the voice and impact of the churches in the debate and process of welfare reform in their community and in the deeper biblical mission of overcoming poverty in our society.

Bringing together the right people for planning a roundtable is critical to its success. Representatives from the key Call to Renewal constituency groups—evangelicals, Catholics, historic black churches, Pentecostal, and mainline Protestant—should form the core of the table. Service providers, advocacy groups, local officials, and the business community then round it out.

In many communities, some of these groups already meet together; in very few are they all together. Call to Renewal is becoming the opportunity and the catalyst to bring together a full table. These new multisector partnerships working together can make a significant difference in most communities.

It is important to identify someone who will act as a convener of the roundtable. This person should be someone well respected in the community who is able to transcend the barriers and help to bring the various sectors together.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1998
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