We seldom write about Sojourners, the organization, in this space. Instead I write about the issues of faith, politics, and culture that we seek to connect. But some significant changes have just occurred for us organizationally that I think you will want to know about.
First, a little history. Sojourners was founded in 1971—35 years ago—by a little group of seminarians at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago. Right from the start, the original mailing list of index cards in a shoebox began to grow quickly as we encountered people across the country and around the world who were hungry to connect their faith to the fundamental issues of justice and peace in their times. The original name of our publication, The Post-American, changed to Sojourners when we moved to Washington, D.C., in fall 1975. We remain today in the same neighborhood where we began in the nation’s capital, having recently moved into the newly renovated Tivoli Theatre building in our own Columbia Heights neighborhood. The life of the Sojourners community has changed in many ways over the decades, but it has always been defined by the mission of articulating a biblical vision of social justice—writing, speaking, and mobilizing; challenging the church, the media, and the government with a progressive Christian message.
Eleven years ago, we 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.” While disagreeing on many other issues, we all agreed on the biblical priority of the poor and wanted to come together around a common mission to overcome poverty. But to do that, we needed a new organization for that specific purpose, one that didn’t have the history of any existing group.