For the latest information (current issue work, member congregations, event calendar), please visit the IMPACT web site.
IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together)is a grassroots initiative bringing a diverse group of congregations together to live out our religious traditions’ call for justice.
The IMPACT congregations have come together to work on the root causes of community problems. IMPACT congregations range in size from 20 to1,500 people and include predominantly black and predominantly white congregations as well as Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian, Jewish, and Islamic congregations.
IMPACT will address and achieve solutions to community problems through the basic organizing processes of listening/networking, research, and direct action meetings. Through coming together we build our power and ability to successfully live out God’s call.
IMPACT at St. Paul's - History
On September 26th, 2006, eighteen St. Paul’s parishioners joined with almost 600 other members from 20 diverse congregations to establish IMPACT and commit to the following Covenant statement:
1. Building a justice ministry network in our congregation.
2. Engaging in a listening process, training leaders, developing solutions, and taking action to improve community conditions.
3. Accepting responsibility for the financial health of the organization by contributing annually and by supporting IMPACT fund-raising efforts.
4. Voicing the concerns of the members of our congregations during IMPACT Assemblies and fully supporting the agreed upon goals.
5. Selecting leaders from our congregation to attend all IMPACT Board of Directors meetings.
Many of our congregations have traditionally done a lot of mercy(charity) ministries, helping people with direct services such as food,clothing, and shelter. Through IMPACT we will be building a justice ministry to look at reasons why people get into a place where they need help. Is there enough affordable housing? Are our schools strong? Are there enough drug treatment programs? Justice ministry focuses on ensuring fairness in the larger “systems” that affect our lives such as affordable housing, access to health care, transportation, safe neighborhoods, etc.
IMPACT congregations have been planning since 2003 to launch congregation-based community organizing efforts. IMPACT is part of the Direct Action and Research Training Network (DART)and is modeled on similar organizations in other cities. Sister organizations have won education reform, access to health care and affordable housing, implementation of community policing efforts,prevention of liquor licenses, fair wages, and drug rehabilitation programs.
1. Listening and Network Building
Congregations will engage in an intentional listening process, either with house meetings or with one-on-one conversations, designed to deepen their relationships, to build networks, and to bring problems in the community to the surface. A rally will be held to update congregations on the research and to build excitement for the Nehemiah Action Meeting.
Selected problems will be researched, and specific changes will be identified that can be made locally to address these issues.
3. Nehemiah Action Meeting
Diverse congregations will bring hundreds of people together in an action meeting to seek public commitments from decision-makers to make the desired changes. We call this the Nehemiah Action Meeting because it is based on Nehemiah 5:1-13 in which a great assembly is held to change the policy of unfair lending practices. A system of accountability will be put in place in order to insure that commitments by decision-makers are kept.
IMPACT is currently funded through congregational contributions and regional and national grants from religious organizations. We will later conduct a support drive annually to raise funds from local businesses and individuals. As a long-term strategy, IMPACT is building its self-sufficiency.
IMPACT is an organization of organizations, not of individual members.Membership by any given congregation is defined by committing to develop a justice ministry team, by having a representative on the IMPACT Board, and by paying an annual congregational contribution.
1. Justice Ministry Team
• Involving their congregations in the Listening/Research/Action processes
• Building justice ministry networks in the congregation to engage large numbers of the congregation in being a prophetic voice to DO JUSTICE
• The Team will meet 6-8 times per year in the congregation
2. Justice Ministry Network
• Come to the 3 major justice meetings per year: Annual Covenant Assembly (choose problems), Rally (update on research) and Nehemiah Action (show of people power to seek commitments from decision-makers for changes for justice)
• Bring 3 others to Nehemiah Action (often are family members)
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