Church-based Community Resilience

Background

Humanitarian advocacy engages faith communities in acting as agents of change in their communities.  Churches are agents of change when they bring people together, equip the faithful to live out their faith, and help people use their gifts and talents in service to others.  These actions result in creating healthier and more resilient communities.  (One of our current writing projects is the Church and Resilient Communities, which brings together the social science and theology of resilience).

Our work in community resilience builds on years of community based projects developing program support and management capacity along with service skills.  Download our white paper community-capacity-building-overview that describes our model for building community resilience.  In our view, a resilient community is one where the ability to change is an integral part of the community.  That means members of the community have access to important information about strengths and weaknesses of the community, they critically assess this information, implement adaptive changes, and learn from these changes.  Further, those engaged in this assessment, change and learning process must come from all sectors of the community, with an emphasis on those most vulnerable to change or disruption.

Resources

The training materials, tools and literature for church-based community resilience are available on this resource page.

The Virtual Lab

WEA Humanitarian Advocacy and Wheaton College Department of Psychology are collaborating on a virtual international lab that allows students (undergrad and graduate) and interested professionals to work on projects related to WEA Humanitarian Advocacy.  In some cases these projects are joint efforts of WEA and a strategic partner.  The work with World Vision on ending violence against children is a key example.

In other cases, people who work with WEA or a WEA Strategic Partner in some other field may participate in the lab as a support and technical resource for their work.  The WEA UN team work in Geneva with the United Nations Human Rights Council is an example.

In still other cases, people who work in support of WEA efforts in Humanitarian Advocacy may join the lab for assistance in their work.

The Lab uses Google Hangouts for meetings.  Access is limited to members, and is available here.

Expectations

It is expected that anyone working with the lab be a member of the WEA or a WEA Strategic partner.  Further, each person is either working on a project that has a humanitarian or social science aspect to it, or agrees to be assigned to such a project when they join the lab.  Participants should understand that there are often specific tasks or contributions related to the project that are expected from each participant.  This is a working lab, not a classroom or a place to observe the work.  In consideration of the time contributed to the lab there are no fees charged to participants.

Participants should also understand that:

  • They are expected to sign a confidentiality agreement with WEA.
  • The lab does not provide clinical supervision for therapy or counseling.
  • There is no college credit provided by Wheaton College, nor any certificates for completion.  Participants are welcome to arrange for credit for the time from other institutions. or programs.
  • Lab meetings are roughly twice a month (depending on travel requirements).
  • Meetings are conducted in English.  People who are not fluent in English are welcome to participate but would be responsible for making their own arrangements for translation.

It is important for participants to also understand that a major themes of the lab are humanitarian advocacy from a Christian perspective, and the role of faith and church in resilience.  The lab is operated from an Christian Evangelical perspective in these discussions.

For more information please contact Dr. David Boan.

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