During an era marked by protests for racial justice, a global pandemic, political polarization, and religious decline, some religious communities have rediscovered the importance of cultivating local partnerships to build social capital and address common concerns. Such work takes many different shapes: protests, neighborhood collectives, civil society associations, acts of hospitality, political advocacy, finding community-based solutions to problems, and many others. For example, some congregations and religious leaders in Edmonton, Alberta work with the city to help facilitate Abundant Community Edmonton – an asset-based approach to community development. In Detroit, Michigan, the Church of the Messiah has become an incubator for business and social entrepreneurs in the neighborhood, building resilience and social capital in the process.
The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Religious Leadership invites presentations from religious leaders and scholars with experience or interest in rebuilding the social fabric of neighborhoods and communities. Presentations can follow one of two possibilities: (1) Presentations can offer an analysis of trends and/or important political, theological, or social-scientific considerations for how religious institutions understand and seek the common good. What theoretical and theological frameworks help build social capital and participate in cultivating whole and healthy neighborhoods? (2) Presentations can tell the story of one particular neighborhood and community, offering the wisdom and experience of one approach to seeking the peace and welfare of a neighborhood.
Due to the likelihood that we will be online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we are prioritizing presentations of research that can tell the stories of particular cities or regions, and learning from different ways in which religious leaders have learned to build social capital or how regional or theological particularities have shaped their understanding of their work and vocation. Presentation Proposals should include:
- Working Title
- 300 word abstract that describes the context, argument, and primary conversation partners for the presentation (such as: analytical, theoretical, theological, or political framings for the presentation)
- A description of the media used for the presentation
- Short bio of the author(s)
- Paper/Presentation Proposals are due December 1, 2020. Please send proposals to: email@example.com
Collaborative and multiple-author presentations are encouraged!
*Given the uncertainty about conference travel and meeting in large groups in April due to COVID-19, conference planners are preparing an online format for the Annual Meeting. A decision regarding the format and schedule about the online meeting will be made by mid-January 2021.