Religion is increasingly playing a larger role in the public sphere.
At the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Dr. Darrell Ezell talks with Rev. Will McGarvey, Director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa Council and CLU faculty, in analyzing the roles that religion plays in multiple aspects of society. Rev. Will McGarvey spoke on how faith communities can tackle some of the most pressing societal issues, such as homelessness, and take action.
McGarvey notes that many congregations are called upon to serve their communities but need to understand how to be actionable advocates in the public sphere. He notes that faith leaders in specific can be instrumental in leading policy changes for the underrepresented.
One example he cites of faith leaders taking action within their communities is of his own congregation. His congregation is seated within the San Francisco area, which has been fraught with a rising problem of homelessness. He breaks down the layers of who is affected by this socioeconomic issue, stating:
“During the foreclosure and the tightening of belts during the bank crisis, a lot of the folks that tend to be the most at risk are . . . [people] that may not have family nearby or are new immigrants. So, some of our work has been calling on Congress and our state to have better policies around comprehensive immigration reform especially with the real human costs that some of those families incurred and, at the same time, trying to remind folks that there’s a huge need for housing that’s affordable.”
This is just one way, out of many, that McGarvey and Ezell discuss on how faith leaders and faith communities can take action within the public sphere to benefit and serve the communities they are called upon to serve. Ezell discusses that the interfaith movement is trending towards a focus in improving human capital, meaning that all people have the ability to live and survive together, as well as honing in on themes of poverty, education, and literacy.
Watch the rest of the panel with Rev. Will McGarvey and Dr. Darrell Ezell above.