For many living in U.S. cities, social services come not from the government but from local churches. Based on the first census of congregations ever conducted in any American city, this book provides an authoritative account of the functioning of congregations, their involvement in social services, and their support of other organizations.
2006 | 352 pages | Cloth $69.95
Sociology | Public Policy
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Table of Contents
SECTION I: INTRODUCTION TO THE FIELD OF STUDYING CONGREGATIONS
Chapter 1: "Here is the Church; Here is the Steeple": Defining and Measuring Religious Congregations
Chapter 2: The Religious Landscape in Philadelphia
Chapter 3: The organizational behavior of the congregations in our study
SECTION II: CONGREGATIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO QUALITY OF LIFE IN URBAN AMERICA
Chapter 4: Informal Care by Congregations
Chapter 5: Formal Care—Congregations as Social Service Agencies
Chapter 6: Using Space for Good Use
SECTION III: SPECIAL CONGREGATIONS AND SUBGROUPS
Chapter 7: Black Congregations in the City of Brotherly Love
Chapter 8: Latino congregations in the 21st century
Chapter 9: Women in congregations and social service provision
SECTION IV: AREA ORGANIZATIONS THAT ENHANCE THE CONGREGATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE CAPACITY
Chapter 10: Interfaith coalitions—The Story of the Northwest Interfaith Movement (NIM)
Chapter 11: Using the congregational capacity to help the homeless—the NPIHN story
Chapter 12: Utilizing congregational volunteers: The stories of Amachi and REST Philly
SECTION IV: CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Chapter 13: The world of the clergy: Contextual necessities and leadership challenges
Chapter 14: Policy recommendations
Appendix I: Methods
Readers of my previous books, The Newer Deal (Columbia University Press, 1999) and The Invisible Caring Hand (New York University Press, 2002) may be familiar with some aspects of this introduction. I came to Philadelphia in 1986 as a visiting scholar for one year. My academic interests at the time focused on how best to provide public social services to people in need. In fact, I did not even perceive nonpublic social services as worthy of academic attention. I am still interested in how societies organize themselves to help their needy members, but I am now more aware of complementary modes to the public-run system.
I was born in Israel and trained as a social worker in the European framework that took for granted the presence of a benevolent and wise government that assumed the responsibility for addressing all social ills. It was to the government that citizens came with new social problems, and it was the government who planned and carried out the intervention. When I began working and studying in the United States, I was amazed by the limited role the United States government plays in civic life and the distrust of most citizens toward their government. I noticed that, in the United States, in the absence of a benevolent government welfare system, thousands of volunteers and voluntary organizations fill this gap and comprise an active civic life. I turned to the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) to find an academic home where the world of voluntarism and nonprofit organizations is best studied and explored. It was there that I was exposed to faith-based organizations as agents of welfare services. Little did I know that in this venue I would also meet my wife!
In ARNOVA, I also met people who studied nontraditional organizations such as volunteer fire fighters, alternative schools, self-help groups, and also religious congregations. As time passed, I was struck by the significant role religious congregations play in maintaining social care networks and community life in America. Throughout the late 1990s, I found numerous newspaper articles on the role of the American religious congregations in restoring civic life in our communities, political speeches on the importance of congregations, and legislation encouraging the participation of congregations and other faith communities in the public life of our society. Yet, I could not find any serious academic discussion about the nexus between the faith community and social service provision. My observations and those of my students suggested that these faith communities serve as the American "safety net," social arrangements that guarantee that people who are unable to meet basic needs are supported and are able to survive. The paucity of rigorous research in this area both troubled and challenged me. Consequently, I made it my academic mission to rigorously study this area and shed light on this very American institution.
As I began to study faith-based organizations, I realized that most social scientists tend to shy away from faith-based organizations in general-and congregations in particular. In fact, as is discussed in chapter 1, I could not even find a good working definition of a "congregation" in the social science literature. I am still amazed by the paucity of literature on congregational involvement in social and community service provision. The overwhelming majority of the available resources is political, ideological, and if empirical, based on one or two cases. This book is based on a thorough study of one American city: Philadelphia, PA. Through a detailed and painstaking process, my team and I identified 2,120 religious congregations in Philadelphia. As is detailed in the methodological appendix, we managed to interview 1,392 of them. This was the first census of congregations in any American city. Throughout the book we refer to the Philadelphia Census of Congregations as PCC.
Each interview was conducted on the premises of the congregation and lasted at least three hours. The resulting set of data is the first to offer us a broadly representative, yet detailed, picture of what religious congregations do to enhance the quality of life in one large American city. Readers in other large urban settings will need little help extrapolating to their own cities. It will be clear to them how much of our social capital and civic energy is the result of the quiet work of congregational members.
Like any historic city, Philadelphia has its own special characteristics. It is known as "the city of brotherly love," a translation from Greek that is old enough to be politically incorrect in its gender-exclusivity. The city prides itself for introducing a few items into our national culinary repertoire, such as the Philly cheese steak, soft pretzel, funnel cake, and water ice (AKA snow-cones). It was at one time the most important city in America, the site where independence was declared and the constitution was signed. The Liberty Bell still attracts tens of thousands of tourists to town, and the historic district offers a unique American experience. One can still find the printing press used by Benjamin Franklin and the place where Betsy Ross made the first American flag.
At one time, Philadelphia was the second largest English-speaking city in the world. In the late 18th century it served as the first capital of the United States. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) was founded in 1790 and was the country's first stock exchange. But, in the past two hundred years, Philadelphia fell victim to its neighbors' success. Washington, D.C. took over as the center of government; New York City took over as the center of finance. The PHLX is still active, but very few stocks are traded solely in the PHLX and it mostly serves as a means to facilitate contact with the New York Stock Exchange and other such stock exchange outlets. Throughout the years, Philadelphia became something of a stop between Washington, DC and New York City, similar to Baltimore. But Philadelphia is still unique. As a newcomer to the city, one who had previously lived in Pittsburgh and Boston, I thought of myself as an expert in planting roots in new cities and finding friends and contacts. Philadelphia, however, was different.
In Philadelphia, you are a newcomer for the first fifteen years if not for the first generation. This is the city and region with the highest number of native-born still living here as adults. People who grow up in Philadelphia tend to stay around or come back after college and start families here. My first personal experience with this phenomenon was when my son's first-grade class teacher announced that grandparents' day would take place. When I enquired about it, I was told that most kids have grandparents living in the area. Indeed, two-thirds of the kids in my son's class had at least one grandparent attending, and some had three or four. As a newcomer, I doubled as a parent and a grandparent, as did a few other newcomers. To my amazement, in the United States, where geographical mobility is the norm, Philadelphia grandparents, parents, and children live in the same community and manifest stability and continuity.
People who have their grade-school and high-school friends living alongside them do not usually need new friends. The social networks of most Philadelphians are rich with people whom they know from childhood. Thus it takes a great deal of energy to allow newcomers to join in. Stephen Fried, who wrote an insightful book on the selection of a new rabbi by a Philadelphia area synagogue (The New Rabbi), found the same difficulties, although he only moved into Philadelphia from Harrisburg, Pa. He states:
In Philadelphia, where all newcomers are viewed with suspicion for the first, oh, ten to fifteen years. In many metropolitan areas, synagogue and church communities have such a large percentage of mobile newcomers that their diversity becomes their strength. But not here. A rabbi once told me that the problem with Philadelphia synagogues is that they have too many Philadelphians. And I knew exactly what he was talking about. It's a city that welcomes you with folded hands (p. 31).
Philadelphia is a city of distinct ethnic groups and as such of segregated neighborhoods. In fact, Philadelphia is known as "city of neighborhoods." Walking through the city, one can distinctly notice where one neighborhood starts and the other ends, even though with the years some neighborhoods became better integrated. The Library Company of Philadelphia published the Philadelphia Almanac and Citizens' Manual (Finkel, 1994). The 1995 edition of this book contained 395 different names of various neighborhoods throughout the city of Philadelphia from the earliest days of Swedish occupation to the present. Most famous are Manayunk, Frankford, Port Richmond, Germantown, Fishtown, Mt. Airy, Germantown, and West Oak Lane. In Philadelphia, one can also find numerous community and membership associations. Toll and Gillam (1995) provided a good overview of the many voluntary associations and nonprofit organizations in the city and the region. But, even they provided very little information regarding the local religious congregations.
Throughout the years since my arrival here, I made Philadelphia my home. I have been here for more than fifteen years, and hence, have passed the first test. I have friends in the area, and I have slowly come to learn about the city and appreciate its offerings. I am now proud to say that I can contribute to the knowledge of this city and allow people to see it in a new light. Like a true Philadelphian, when one of the city sports team seems to clinch a national title, I am moved and excited. And like the rest of my fellow Philadelphians, I learn to live with annual disappointment, be it the 76ers, the Eagles, and even a horse named "Smarty Johns."
I selected the book's title only as a tribute to an old cultural icon of the city. Long before contemplating a life in Philadelphia, I was familiar with the play and later the movie The Philadelphia Story. The Philadelphia Story (1940) is a classic romantic comedy taking place actually on the Main Line, the affluent string of Philadelphia suburbs. It was an adaptation of Philip Barry's Broadway hit play. The inspiration for the lead female character was derived from real-life Philadelphian WASP heiress Hope Montgomery Scott (1905-1995). The setting of the film is among the privileged upper-class society in Philadelphia. The heroine (played by the late Katharine Hepburn) is a self-willed young aristocratic heiress who is on the verge of a second marriage. The Philadelphia socialite has divorced her dashing, colorful, presumably immature husband (played by Cary Grant) and become involved with a calculated, cold, self-made and somewhat pompous business millionaire who comes from the city itself (played by John Howard). The plot thickens when her irresponsible ex-husband appears on the eve of the wedding, and not surprisingly, with intentions to shield her from an overambitious, cynical tabloid newshound (played by James Stewart)—a second male principal who is also vying for her love on the day (and night) leading up to the wedding ceremony. By film's end, she is rescued and persuaded to return to her playful and loving ex-husband. It is indeed a story about the life of the privileged in Philadelphia in the early part of the twentieth century. It was an elite, not a less privileged citizen, who lived lavishly in the outskirts of the city and who traveled by train to manage and run the city. It made Philadelphia an icon for aristocratic lineage in the democratic United States. It portrayed the social climbers as those who enter a temple to which they do not belong and within which they could never even properly appreciate its delicacies. In Philadelphia, with over three hundreds years of population stability, the first real American aristocracy could be observed. And yes, like in good old Europe, correct upbringing cannot be mixed with aspirations and class mobility. It made perfect sense that another Philadelphian became the queen of Monaco. After all, this is where American aristocracy belongs.
But, there are other stories to tell about Philadelphia. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the city's population was decimated. People with means migrated to the suburbs, and the city was left with the less well-to-do, with a high percentage of ethnic minority residents, and with a few committed individuals. For example between 1990 and 2000, the census (2000) informs us that the City of Philadelphia underwent a 4.3 percent decline in number of residents following a previous decade in which it lost 6.1 percent of its residents. The surrounding counties in Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery) each registered an increase in number of residents in both decades. Delaware County registered a decline between 1980 and 1990, but this trend was reversed between 1990 and 2000. Growth in the five Pennsylvania counties as a whole (3.2 percent) is keeping pace with growth statewide (3.4 percent). However, the key statistic is that a growth rate of 8.8 percent in the 4 suburban Pennsylvania counties co-occurred with a population loss of 4.3 percent in the City of Philadelphia.
A major symbolic blow to the city was announced on May 17, 2004. During the writing of this book, the census announced that on May 17, 2004, Phoenix, Arizona, surpassed Philadelphia as the fifth largest city in the country. In the 2000 census, Philadelphia had held onto its status as the nation's fifth largest city (behind Houston), although is saw its official population count dip some 10 percent from a decade earlier. Phoenix, meanwhile, surged 34 percent in the 1990s to a count of 1,321,190. The census cut the gap between the two cities even farther estimating that Philadelphia's population had fallen to 1,492,231 in 2002 and Phoenix's had risen to 1,387,670. So, on May 17, 2004, it was estimated that the Arizona city, with good weather, clean streets, safe neighborhoods, automobile-friendly architecture and roads, and plenty of space for expansion, overtook historic Philadelphia as the fifth largest city. A later estimate in mid-June 2004 found that the gap was not closed, but it was due to Phoenix's slower than expected growth while Philadelphia continued to decline. It should be noted, however, that Phoenix's growth is in large part through annexation of nearby communities a process while Philadelphia's borders are inelastic.
This is not all. The City of Philadelphia is undergoing a major campaign against blight. In Mayor John Street's first year in office, 35,000 abandoned cars were removed from the streets of the city. These cars had no active owner, no one paying registration or insurance for them, and they harbored illegal activities and were a threat to public health. Worse than this, there are currently 20,000 abandoned properties and 10,000 abandoned lots in Philadelphia. The prevalence of urban blight is very real in Philadelphia and similar to that in Detroit. Public education is expensive yet failing to meet expectations. In a summary of the Report Card on the Well-Being of Children and Youth in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer stated:
The number of first-time ninth graders graduating in four years increased from about 49 percent between 1995-1996 to 58 percent in 2000-2001 . . . each day more than 20,000 Philadelphia public school students (14 percent) are missing from school with unexcused absences . . . In the 2000-1 school year, 28 percent of students missed more than 15 percent of the total school days, and the high school daily attendance rate was just 77.6 percent. (Fitzgerald, 2002, p. B4)
In the year 2002-2003, 27 schools in Philadelphia were labeled as persistently dangerous. The only other school in Pennsylvania to be on that list is from nearby Chester. While Pennsylvania as a whole compared favorably to other states, Philadelphia alone accounted for almost half of the schools nationally labeled as persistently dangerous. While the list was cut in half at the end of the 2003-2004 academic year, the district's own report suggests that teacher assaults in 2003-2004 went up 20 percent. Clearly, the Philadelphia public school system is still troubled.
When the tax burden is increasing and the local revenues are declining, someone has to chip in and do more of the work needed to maintain quality of life. Religious congregations and other faith communities shoulder a considerable portion of the burden of the care for the needy people in America, and Philadelphia is no exception. This book documents the heroic role that local religious congregations do to improve the quality of life of people in Philadelphia. It is indeed The Other Philadelphia Story. It is a story of quiet heroes who are rarely applauded or even noticed. The heroes and heroines are almost all non-aristocratic and soil their hands in tasks unfathomable for Hope Montgomery-Scott and her contemporaries. Yet, it is a story worth telling, and one that sheds a new light on Philadelphia. And the other Philadelphia story is quite likely the other American story.
Partly normative, partly religious, and uniquely American, it is the story of local religious congregations busily ameliorating the pain, suffering, and poverty of millions. This is a story of a tapestry of congregations, 2,120 in all, spread throughout the city of Philadelphia. Almost all are busy helping people in need. Most are modest in their informal and formal services. Some have a small-scale after-school program while others may have a large-scale homeless shelter. However, taken together, we can observe a massive force, almost a social movement, of doing good locally and beyond. However, the reader should remember that congregations cannot assume the role that government plays in social services provision and caring for needy people. They are a collection of regular people willing to help, but they are not professionals. Their resources are limited, and their help is totally voluntary. The facts that they are spread out in the community, and that they are willing to help, make them so special. While their story is illuminating, they are not the answer to society's ills. They can be an important complementary player alongside the public sector and the private sector, but they cannot be viewed as a substitute for our collective social responsibility. In this respect, I concur with Farnsley (2003) who informs us that "[a]nyone who does not realize how much congregations do both for their members and for the broader community is just not paying attention. Congregations will continue to do great good, but it is not clear which ones will take on the added role of partnering with public institutions in the interest of strengthening civil society" (p. 13). It is clear that none can be a substitute for the role of government in helping the indigent and needy.
As the author, I have opted to use the editorial "we" in grateful acknowledgment of the important contributions of many colleagues and friends. Two wonderful individuals significantly contributed to this book and I happily acknowledge them as cocontributors. Stephanie C. Boddie was, at the time of the study, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work, and was the research director at the Program for the Study of Organized Religion and Social Work. She conducted many of the interviews, contributed to many chapters, and is responsible for bringing many chapters together into a cohesive whole. She is currently an assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis. Charlene C. McGrew is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. Charlene cowrote chapter 8 and she helped with data analysis as well as in editing of the book. Jennifer Kang is a fellow at the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. She carried out the interviews and wrote the majority of the material presented in chapters 10 and 11.
As in my previous book, the responsibility for the theses presented here rests solely with me. My arguments represent a synthesis of many years of research on the role of religious-based organizations and especially congregations in the provision of social services. Clearly, I was influenced by discussions with the people who helped me write the book and by many knowledgeable colleagues. Although I am indebted to them, they are not responsible for any of the statements made in this book. Similarly, the mistakes are all my responsibility and my apologies for all of them given in advance.
Organization of the book
The book is divided into five key sections, each of which contains two to five chapters. In the following paragraphs each section and chapter will be listed and briefly described.
Section I—Introduction to the field of studying congregations
Chapter 1: "Here is the church; here is the steeple": Defining and measuring religious congregations within the United States
In the past decade, religious congregations have generated great interest among scholars and policy makers for their civic value. However, a lack of clarity persists in terms of their true definition and number within the United States. Congregations have been defined as religious entities with a name, a constitution, a building, and a shifting collection of people engaged in complex actions and rhetoric (Ammerman, 1997b). This is an acceptable definition, but to effectively study congregations a more precise operational definition is required, one that will enable these organizations to be clearly distinguished from other forms of religious expression. Such a definition is critical if we are to accurately estimate the total number, sizes, types, and locations of congregations within the United States today. This chapter examines the difficulties involved in defining and measuring congregations as it concurrently seeks to provide a conceptual as well as empirical definition of these institutions. It then moves to discuss the commonalities between congregations and sets the tone for understanding the studied units.
Chapter 2: The religious landscape in Philadelphia
The census of congregations found 2,120 congregations in a city of about 1.45 million residents, an average of one congregation per 700 residents. They are distributed throughout the city and are present wherever people live. As in many American cities, people in Philadelphia organize their lives according to their religion. People meet on weekends to worship and on weekdays to study, work, pray, or run the affairs of their congregation. This pattern occurs in all congregations. In this chapter, we first review the religious identity (faith and denominations) of congregations in Philadelphia and demonstrate its plurality. We show that numerous denominations are represented in the city. This is followed by the organization of religious life, that is, frequency of worship, frequency of small group meetings, and geographical distributions of congregations by different characteristics.
Chapter 3: The organizational behavior of the congregations in our study
This chapter provides an overview of the key characteristics of the congregations in Philadelphia. It gives an overview of theological affiliation and religious strictness, frequency of worship and meetings, years in existence, membership size, members' characteristics, budget, sources of income, organizational structure, staff, leadership, and relationships with the wider community. In each category, a full review of the data will be discussed and compared with two large-scale national studies: (1) A survey of local churches, mosques and synagogues representing 40 participating denominations working together in the coalition known as Faith Communities Today (FACT), which yielded data on more than 40,000 congregations; and (2) Information obtained from Dr. Cynthia Woolever (and Deborah Bruce), director of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, which surveyed 300,000 worshippers in more than 2,000 congregations.
Section II—Congregational contribution to quality of life in urban America
Chapter 4: Informal care by congregations
A major part of congregational contribution to quality of life is done informally. Clergy and members are all part of social networks outside the congregation, and these networks become available for other members upon request. For example, information about repairmen or trusted physicians is shared informally. Furthermore, when a member has a special problem or is in need of counseling, the clergy is often the person to be consulted and to generate support. This chapter will bring case examples as well as data to illustrate the importance of informal care and its impact on stabilizing communities and enhancing trust and mutual support.
Chapter 5: Formal care—Congregations as social service agencies
This chapter will provide a review of the formal programs offered by congregations in Philadelphia. It will assess the importance of congregational support in various areas of life, as well as assess which population in need is most helped by congregations. It will also review the social change efforts of congregations, and assess the replacement value of congregational work for the community. The PCC data are contrasted with my previous study and with other studies dealing with social service provision by faith-based groups.
Chapter 6: Using space for good use
One of the assets that congregations can offer their neighbors and cities is building space. Congregations usually aspire to build a place of worship and make it large in order to be accommodating and noticeable. Often the pride of a faith group is embodied in the edifice they posses and maintain. Buildings can be assets and sources of joy and pride, yet at the same time, they can be liabilities. In this chapter we will use the concept of "broken windows" and the "tragedy of the commons" to make the case for the congregations' investment in their properties as a means of enhancing community preservation. We then show that congregations not only contribute indirectly to the community, but also open their doors to a flux of social activities that are non-religious in nature and that enhance the quality of life.
Section III—Special congregations and subgroups
Chapter 7: Black congregations in the City of Brotherly Love
African Americans are claimed to be the most religious ethnic group in America. The Black church played an impressive role in the social and political life of Black people in America. At the same time it was the only place where African Americans could gather for mutual aid and support. This chapter discusses the history of Black America and religion, and also chronicles the history of Blacks in Philadelphia. Amid this background, we discuss the Black congregations, which are the majority of congregations in Philadelphia. We compare their capacity and social service involvement with that of non-Black congregations. Our findings show that they provide relatively more care than their non-Black counterparts.
Chapter 8: Latino congregations in the 21st century
The 21st century brought with it the realization that Latinos surpassed Blacks in being the largest minority group in the United States. This finding is in sharp contrast to the lack of scholarly attention to the Latino church. I was contracted to produce a series of three reports about the 109 studied Latino congregations in the Philadelphia Census of Congregations. Based on these reports, this chapter will discuss the Latino community in the United States and how it differs from the Black community. The chapter then will account for the organizational characteristics of Latino congregations (especially comparing the few very large Catholic churches with the many very small Protestant churches). Finally, our analysis of the Latino congregations' involvement in social services will be discussed.
Chapter 9: Women in congregations and social service provision
The role of women in American congregations is a topic that has gained attention in the past twenty years. The majority of work has focused on leadership and clergy roles and the willingness (or reluctance) of denominations to ordain women. In this chapter, we report on women as members, lay leaders, and clergy in Philadelphia congregations, and we assess the factors that explain the rate of women assuming any of these roles. We find that regardless of the advancement of egalitarianism in many areas of society, and regardless of the fact that women are still the majority members in congregations, they are a minority among clergy in the United States. Finally, we study how the gender composition of members, lay-leaders, and clergy explain the congregations' involvement in social service provisions. In this respect, gender composition of members, lay leaders, and clergy made little impact on the congregational social service involvement. A variety of explanations are provided to account for gender's minor impact in this domain.
Section IV—Area organizations that enhance the congregational social service capacity
Chapter 10: Interfaith coalitions-The Story of the Northwest Interfaith Movement (NIM)
Social service coalitions have the ability to garner needed resources in an efficient way—members share information, skills and goods to meet the needs of their clientele. Coalitions of congregations have the added aspect of bringing their particular strengths as religious organizations to the delivery of needed services. This chapter examines the services, structure, and mission of the Northwest Interfaith Movement (NIM), an alliance of 36 Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish congregations in Northwest Philadelphia, committed to providing quality services in the areas of child care, after-school programs, and long-term care for the elderly. Furthermore, this chapter presents the unique aspects of the organization in these areas. It also examines the relations NIM holds with other organizations in the community and lessons it can offer social service providers regarding advocacy and direct services to children and the elderly.
Chapter 11: Using congregational capacity to help the homeless—the NPIHN story
Homelessness has been a social issue that has touched every major city in America. Particularly in Philadelphia, the rate of those leaving shelters is alarming and the situation of many is dire. Among those sectors that have stepped up to address this problem is the faith-based one. A marked characteristic of congregations in Philadelphia and across the United States has been their generous offering of space for area social service organizations. This chapter examines the use of space by congregational members of an interfaith network, the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (NPIHN), for meeting the shelter and basic survival needs of the homeless. The network is also analyzed for its organizational characteristics and services, details that can contribute to the growing knowledge among academics and practitioners regarding the nature and impact of religious organizations. This case study will shed light on unique aspects of interfaith coalitions and their capabilities.
Chapter 12: Utilizing congregational volunteers—the stories of "Amachi" and "REST Philly"
Congregations are known for their ability to recruit volunteers for socially approved causes. Based on this relative advantage, two local programs have come up with an innovative idea of recruiting a cadre of eight to ten volunteers from each church to provide difficult and demanding social services. When a group of congregational volunteers are participating in such a program, they serve as social support for each other and as quality assurance. Amachi is a program that recruited at least ten volunteers from each of sixty participating churches to provide Big Brother/Big Sister services to children of prisoners. REST Philly is a program that works with prisoners while in jail and then proceeds to help them in the community. Each participating congregation recruited some eight volunteers, who were trained to meet the various needs of ex-prisoners. The chapter discusses the two programs, their philosophy and application, and assesses their success in meeting their own expectations.
Section IV—Conclusions and implications
Chapter 13: The world of the clergy—Contextual necessities and leadership challenges
As a result of the institutionalized separation of church and state in the United States, local religious congregations are not publicly assisted and operate alongside the state. In fact, unlike other nonprofit organizations, they have been barred from accepting public money either as a grant or via a contract for supporting their core mission: religious activities. Consequently, clergy salary, building maintenance, program costs, and social ministries are funded primarily by members. Furthermore, the role of clergy, as compared to the leadership of other nonprofit organizations, is more diffuse and challenging. Clergy responsibilities may range from leading worship services to fixing leaks, from running social ministries to managing the accounts of the congregation, and from counseling a wide range of human needs to representing their community on political platforms. This poses organizational challenges that are uniquely American and uniquely congregational. However, these contextual differences and organizational challenges are not widely discussed in the literature. Certain contextual constraints and historical developments pose special challenges that are unique to the role of clergy when compared to either other leaders of secular nonprofit organizations or clergy in Europe. For example, in the United States, more people attend religious services than in most modern democracies, and the religious diversity is larger than in any other country. This chapter focuses on the unique strategies American clergy employ to confront their distinctly American challenges.
Chapter 14: Policy recommendations
The various findings of this study call for a change in the way we look at congregations as social service providers. While they are the foundation of social capital and civil society in urban America, they are not and cannot be a substitute for public policy. The sharing arrangement between the sectors has been tilted too much towards faith-based social service delivery, and the findings of this book suggest that in a city like Philadelphia, congregations can assist but not replace governmental units. Additionally, we provide policy implications for the congregations' relationships with each other, the government, and the for-profit sector.