“Houston: Confronting Poverty from the Heart of Faith” event promotes economic justice


Houston, Texas – August 6, 2014: FaithAndReason® (www.faithandreason.org), an operating arm of the D.L. Dykes, Jr.­ Foundation, is partnering with more than a dozen Houston-area institutions and nearly two dozen renowned activists, experts and academics to host a ground breaking 3-day seminar this September. The seminar, titled “Houston: Confronting Poverty from the Heart of Faith” will take place at both South Main Baptist Church (4100 Main Street) and Congregation Beth Israel (5600 North Braeswood Boulevard), and will run from Thursday, September 18 through Saturday, September 20, 2014.

At its core, the event asks the question, “Why, in a city of incredible wealth, are so many of us poor and what can we do about it?” Presenters, operating in rotating panels, will confront, analyze and respond to this question, many incorporating aspects of modern religious value systems and tenets into their discussions of economic justice.

The inspiring and energizing presenters come from across the United States and include world-renowned experts such as John Dominick Crossan (Professor Emeritus, DePaul University, historical Jesus scholar and author), Peter Laarman (former director, Progressive Christians Uniting; justice activist and strategist), Dr. Amy-Jill Levine (Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Department of Religious Studies, and Graduate Department of Religion) and Joerg Rieger (Wendland-Cook Professor of Constructive Theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, scholar and author).

“The idea of inviting religious leaders and grassroots justice activists to come together and then stay together in spirit-filled work against systemic poverty is tremendously exciting and filled with promise,” says presenter Peter Laarman. “I’m hoping that what happens in Houston will inspire similar efforts in urban centers throughout the country.”

The seminar will also offer an array of Texas-based presenters who will provide valuable insights into the economic justice challenges unique to the Houston area. These presenters include (but are not limited to) Rev. Ralph West (Pastor of Church Without Walls), Keri Day (Assistant Professor of Theological and Social Ethics and Black Church Studies, Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University), Steve Klineberg (Professor of Sociology, Co-Director, Kinder Institute for Public Research, Department of Sociology at Rice University), Sherry Merfish (lawyer, political organizer, activist and progressive) and Laura Perez Boston (Executive Director, Fe y Justicia Worker Center, Houston).

The event is made possible by multiple sponsoring institutions, including (at time of press release) South Main Baptist Church; Congregation Beth Israel; Rothko Chapel; Plymouth United Church; Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research; Covenant Church; the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston; Fe y Justicia Worker Center; Foundation for Contemporary Theology; the Texas AFL-CIO; ACLU of Texas; Texas Appleseed; Texas Freedom Network; Church Without Walls; Brigid’s Place; Workers Defense Project; Texas Organizing Project;Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University and the Joe B. and Louise P. Cook Foundation of Temple, Texas.

Registration is required. Event registration information and event details (including comprehensive presenter and sponsor lists) are available at: http://www.faithandreason.org/index.php/main/seminar/houston. Student and need-based scholarships are available.



Press Releases

Press Releases

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