Poverty is a moral outrage in our affluent society but some religious institutions and communities have resigned themselves to tolerating it or, at best, managing it. Why? Some of us are simply not aware of the realities of poverty; others may be stunned into silence by their apparent powerlessness to affect change; still others may be exhausted from addressing our own and our community’s endless and immediate needs as poor people.

The Kairos Center and Poverty Initiative seeks to equip ourselves and our religious communities with practical skills for preaching and teaching about poverty in local congregations and community organizations, including exploring how to preach about the reality of poverty in our congregation, how to talk about issues of poverty in a diversity of congregations — both affluent and economically struggling — and how to do Bible studies using the methodology of “Reading the Bible with the Poor.” The resources below come from seminarians, local pastors, and community leaders who have taken on the challenge of this topic and who are willing to share their experiences — both successes and struggles — in engaging the religious community in a movement to end poverty, led by the poor.

Author Index | Use this index to quickly find items from the Kairos Center’s Sermons, Bible Studies and Liturgies page by specific authors.

Bible Studies

Index of Bible Verses | Use this index to quickly find items from the Kairos Center archive that make use of, exegete, or cite specific verses from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Poor People’s Campaign Bible Study: Coming into Power (Luke 1:46-55) | By Ryan Felder
Poor People’s Campaign Bible Study Series #4: Collection for the Poor Saints of Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 13-15) | PDF Download | By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
Poor People’s Campaign Bible Study Series #3: A Revolution of Values
 (Isaiah 58:1-12) | PDF Download | By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
Poor People’s Campaign Bible Study Series #2: Life Abundant
 (John 10:10; Matthew 6:25-33; Genesis 1:29-30) | PDF Download | By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
Poor People’s Campaign Bible Study Series #1: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) | PDF Download |
By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
The Last Week of Jesus Christ and the Last Year of Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
The Genesis of Poverty Facilitators Outline and Text | Interactive Bible Study on Genesis 47
Lessons from History: The last days of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ | By Rev. Jenn Wilder and Rev. Vanessa Cardinale
The Politics of Christmas and the Roman Empire (Matthew 2:1-5 and Luke 2:46-55) | By Timothy Wotring
Sacred Texts: Our Responsibilities to Others (Excerpts from Torah, Talmud, Qu’ran, and Matthew) | Prepared by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

Liturgies and Prayers

Maundy Thursday Resources | Reading the Bible with the Poor Cohort
A prayer for moral resistance | By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
A Migrant Farm Workers Psalm for Today | By David Wildman
We Are Here Interfaith Litany | By Dr. Charon Hribar and Rev. Jessica Chadwick Williams
With All Due Respect, a Potter’s Field Memorial | By Rev. Amy Gopp and Picture the Homeless
The Plight and Fight Poverty Initiative Immersion Chapel Service | By Rev. Leslie Jackson, Crystal Hall, Nkosi Anderson, Rev. Thea Reggio, Suzy Ujvagi and Rev. Blair Moorhead, February 8, 2010 in James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary
Let Justice Ring Rap Benediction | By Nkosi Anderson
Prayer for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fast for Fair Food | By Crystal Hall
Romero Chapel Benediction | By Rosalind Gnatt, From the Union Theological Seminary chapel service commemorating the life and work of Archbishop Oscar Romero


“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” A Sermon Celebrating Dr. King (John 1:46) | By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy, Preached at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Brooklyn, NY, on January 14, 2018.
“The God of Secrecy” – Third Sunday after the Epiphany 2017 (Psalm 27) | By Aaron Scott, Preached at Christ Episcopal Church, Seattle WA, on January 22, 2017
Sermon at the Ordination of Rev. Emily McNeill (1 Corinthians 1:18-31) | By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Preached at Journey United Church of Christ, Glenmont, NY
Our Will to End Poverty | By Laura Rodgers of Poor Voices United
Ending Poverty Is Possible (John 12:1-8) | By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Preached at First Presbyterian Church, New Canaan, CT
We Can and Must Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18, Luke 19:45-47 and James 2:18) | By Willie Baptist, Preached at Church of the Good Shephard in Barre, VT
Post-Immersion Reflection on Genesis 41:19 | By Aaron Scott
Sermon for the Poverty Initiative Leadership School Chapel (Psalm 9:9-20) | By Rev. Shelly Fayette, Preached at the 2011 Poverty Scholars Program Leadership School, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Three Men and a Road (Acts 4:32-35 and Nehemiah 5:1-13) | By Rev. Dan Chadwick
Sermon on the Persistent Widow (Luke 18: 1-5 and Deuteronomy 24:17-18) | By Rev. Jeff Mansfiled
Re-igniting the Poor People’s Campaign | By Rev. Derrick McQueen
Chapel Reflection on Psalm 126:6 | By Rev. Rachel Barnhart
Sermon on Jeremiah 33 | By Rev. Emily McNeill, Preached at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC
Sermon on Jeremiah 33 | By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Preached at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC
The Least of These and Our Shared Future (Matthew 10:40-42) | By Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy, Preached at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem, OR
Labor Day Sermon | By Rev. Derrick McQueen
MLK Day Commemoration | By Rev. Dan Chadwick, Shared at a youth residential treatment program in Erie, PA
Sermon on Psalm 9 | By Crystal Hall, Preached at St. Lydia’s at Trinity Lower East Side Church

Other Resources

“More than Flinging a Coin”: True Compassion as a Critique of Charity (Luke 10:25-37) | By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Dr. Colleen Wessel-McCoy
Syllabus, Good News from the Poor: Preaching and Bible Study Towards Ending Poverty | A one-day course at Union Theological Seminary, Spring 2011
Lessons from the Field: My Summer at United Workers of Baltimore City | By Onlielove Alston
Notes on the Reading the Bible with the Poor Bible Studies
Interview with Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis on her theology of ministry
Presentation on King’s Poor People’s Campaign | By Onleilove Alston for Habitat for Humanity’s NYC Advocacy Program, Accompanying PowerPoint
Romero Leadership Project | A Study-work Project of the Poverty Scholars Program