Religions, Faith and Organizing
The world’s religious traditions can be powerful resources for the struggle for liberation, but only when they are grounded in, read out of, and discovered through that very same struggle. These traditions can be, and often are, twisted and abused to justify poverty, divide people against each other, and defend unholy systems like slavery, apartheid, and religious nationalism.
The religions program at Kairos seeks to both hold up and develop the liberating understanding of religions emerging through social struggles of the poor and dispossessed, and reject and confront the forces that distort these moral narratives and traditions.
Freedom Church of the Poor
The Freedom Church of the Poor grew out of the Reading the Bible with the Poor Cohort at Kairos and is led by many of the cohort’s members. It follows a much longer tradition of church being inseparable from the active struggle for justice in our world. The Freedom Church of the Poor is dedicated to being a spiritual community of movement leaders and to providing space for spiritual grounding, reflection, and pastoral care to movement leaders.
The Freedom Church of the Poor helps identify and develop moral/spiritual leadership for the struggle to end poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, militarism, and the false moral narrative of Christian nationalism. In addition to weekly online services that reach thousands of people, the Freedom Church holds regular Bible study, and is developing ways to provide ongoing prayer and support to the church community.
- Weekly Worship – Sundays at 6:00 p.m. ET on zoom and social media platforms
- Midweek Bible Study – Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. ET on zoom
To receive weekly information about upcoming Freedom Church of the Poor services and Bible studies:
La Iglesia del Pueblo – Inspired by the Freedom Church, La Iglesia del Pueblo is a Spanish language sister church conceived and organized by Spanish-speaking leaders from the Kairos network and the broader movement. La Iglesia del Pueblo meets online weekly, and once a month joins the Freedom Church of the Poor for a bi-lingual service. It provides a similar venue for spiritual care and reflection, and space for organizing and developing moral and spiritual leadership in the movement.
Freedom Shul of the Poor – Freedom Shul of the Poor is a spiritual and political community led by and for Jewish leaders in the movement to end poverty. At Freedom Shul, we work to: 1. Connect Jewish people and communities to the movement to end poverty; 2. Provide support and spiritual sustenance to Jewish social justice leaders by building a relevant and accessible spiritual home; and 3. Introduce Jewish teachings as a source of moral clarity, inspiration, and strength toward the goal of uniting poor and low-income people across historic lines of difference.
Seminary of the Poor
“Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potential. Social action without education is a weak expression of pure energy. Deeds uninformed by educated thought can take false directions. When we go into action and confront our adversaries, we must be as armed with knowledge as they. Our policies should have the strength of deep analysis beneath them to be able to challenge the clever sophistries of our opponents.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Seminary of the Poor trains and educates faith and community leaders, as well as congregations, organizations, and denominations to build the movement to end poverty led by the poor. Educational offerings range from free, self-paced sessions to courses available for continuing education units and graduate course credit. Learners can enroll in a session or course as an individual or as a collective from an organization or congregation.
Through a variety of programs and offerings, we seek to engage and organize congregations to be part of our movement to end poverty and its interlocking injustices.
- Preachers & Teachers Bureau – Through the Kairos Center Preachers and Teachers Bureau, we look forward to the opportunity to share with your congregation or organization about our commitment to building a movement to end poverty, led by the poor. We have leaders within the Kairos network in all areas of the U.S. who preach and/or teach about poverty and the poor, the battle for the Bible, reading the Bible with the poor, combating white Christian nationalism, building a movement to lift from the bottom, as well as cultural artists ready to lead your group in a song circle or art build.
- The Just Love Collection – Join with other faith communities each February to collect a special offering to support the work of the Kairos Center. Like Paul’s collection, referenced throughout many of his letters in the New Testament, this offering is a collection from churches to continue the work of building a movement for justice. To indicate your interest in joining The Just Love Collection, email [email protected].
- We Cry Justice Congregations – Bring your congregation into an intentional relationship with Kairos Center by providing ongoing financial support and receiving educational and worship resources while engaging with a network of churches and leaders seeking justice and building a movement to end poverty and its interlocking injustices. For more information, contact Jessica Williams, Director of Ministry Education, [email protected].