Faith and Community Leaders Collaborate on Common Issues at Annual Conference
Nearly 80 faith and community leaders from around the state gathered in Greensboro for the Faith & Community Conference on Feb. 28. This was the seventh statewide faith and community development gathering held by the Institute for Emerging Issues’ Faith and Community initiative, formerly known as the Rural Faith Communities as Anchor Institutions (RFCAI) program, and the initiative’s first return to in-person gathering since 2020.
Community members gathered together to network, collaborate on solutions to common problems, and exchange best practices for care and resiliency for themselves and their communities.
Breakout conversations were organized around the topics of food ministries, serving rural areas, disaster work and the environment, faith leadership and race, and workforce, economic and business development. Others connected in smaller groups around more personal and particular concerns and ideas.
“As a reporter covering postsecondary access to education and faith, I am always curious about the intersection between these two crucial institutions in our communities,” said Hannah McClellan, a reporter with EducationNC. “During the conference, I was encouraged by the many reminders of just how many people—and people of faith in particular—across the state are working to fill needs and address problems in order to make our schools and communities better and more equitable for all.”
Later this year, the Faith and Community initiative plans to host several regional meetings across the state for similar community development and capacity building, as well as continuing to host online peer network groups throughout the spring and summer. More information about these events will be available soon.
“Through these various forms of gatherings, we offer space for mutual learning and sharing to facilitate partnership opportunities, technical assistance, community leadership capacity building, as well as place-based and issue-oriented coalition building,” said Faith and Community Initiative Leader John Parker. “We encourage faith and community leaders to develop diverse networks that are multicultural, intergenerational, multi-faith, and across sectors that support healthy and thriving communities.”
IEI’s Faith and Community initiative connects faith leaders with local and statewide leadership on emerging issues across North Carolina. To learn more about the Faith and Community initiative, visit the IEI website. To receive email updates from the Faith and Community initiative, sign up for their newsletter.