New York, NY — On Sunday night, Freedom Church of the Poor, an online church plant founded by the Kairos Center, one of the anchor organizations of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, hosted its inaugural anniversary service. This week, one year ago, the Kairos Center launched Freedom Church of the Poor, an interfaith movement building space using the Bible and other sacred texts to liberate people’s theology from the distorted moral narrative of Christian nationalism. This work is especially urgent because in the last year, religious freedom and the Bible have been used to justify various hate crimes, harmful policies and other attacks against marginalized people. In that time, Freedom Church of the Poor has met consistently each week with like minded organizations in order to offer a platform for impacted populations and movement leaders. To commemorate the one year anniversary, Freedom Church of the Poor hosted leaders from across the movement to look back at this first year and discuss the importance of the church politically, culturally, and professionally.
Kairos Center Coordinator of Religions and Programmings Adam Barnes said, “Freedom Church of the Poor represents so much of what the church should be in times like these. Religious leaders across all faiths historically spoke out against oppression and advocated for liberation. Today, we see many religious leaders opting to be chaplains for empire rather than prophets for God, and rationalizing violence against the most marginalized. I am proud that Freedom Church of the Poor has been able to push back against these forces and offer a healing, inclusive movement building space for those who have been hurt by them.”
The speakers for the event were:
Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign,
Arelis Figueroa, New York Poor People’s Campaign,
Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, Delaware Poor People’s Campaign
Reverend Melanie Mullen, Director of Reconciliation, Justice, and Creation Care-Episcopal Church
Pauline Pisano, New York Poor People’s Campaign
Min. Savina Martin, National Union of the Homeless and Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign
Dr. Wess Daniels, Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies, Guilford College
Dr. Adam Barnes, Kairos Center
Rev. Jessica Williams, Kansas Poor People’s Campaign
“Freedom Church of the Poor has been a desire for the Kairos Center for a long time,” said Kairos Center Director Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to remain physically apart, Freedom Church of the Poor has offered a place for us to gather in spirit as a community in order to continue this work.”
A recording of the service can be watched here: https://fb.watch/4oXUUIITt9/
The Kairos Center, housed at Union Theological Seminary (UTS), is a national organization committed to building a movement to end poverty, led by the poor. Drawing on the power of religions and human rights, we are a center for movement strategy, coordination, and education among the poor across all lines of division. Among other projects, we co-anchor the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC).