January 15, 2015 under Faith Based Work

FPWA Launches Faith and Justice Fellowship Program

In early January, FPWA held a Faith and Justice Clergy Breakfast at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem. The breakfast brought together participants of the FPWA Faith and Justice Fellowship Program with more than 100 faith-based leaders from across the city to discuss ways in which the faith community can address social injustices, and play more of a leading role in advocating for their communities.

The Faith and Justice Fellowship Program, launched in collaboration with the New York Theological Seminary (NYTS), aims to provides its participants with enhanced skills that will enable them to be more effective advocates on behalf of those most in need, and to help promote NYC as a place of equal opportunity for all. The Fellowship Program trains faith leaders to develop their abilities to become prophetic witnesses for fair social policies and equal justice. Fellows participate in a series of theologically based courses, seminars related to understanding civic engagement from a theological and biblical perspective, and group retreats centering on personal formation and reflection.

Speakers at the breakfast included Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered a powerful key note address, as well as remarks from Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler, Senior Minister of Riverside Church, and Rev. Dr. Dale Irvin, President of NYTS. Rev. Irvin stated he was “thrilled to partner with FPWA in the launch of the Faith and Justice Fellowship.” He further added, “Now, more than ever it’s imperative that the faith community equip themselves with the tools necessary to address social injustice.”Two years ago, FPWA committed to a vision to become an even stronger advocate for the most vulnerable and the agencies and institutions that serve them, and that it would strive to build a city of equal opportunity where one’s success is not determined by his/her neighborhood. Historically, faith-based institutions and faith leaders have been at the center of responding to human needs, both through direct service and by raising their voices to challenge policies and change conditions. Recognizing the critical role these leaders play in their communities, FPWA saw a great opportunity to advance the strength and voice of moral authorities. It is of this idea that the Faith and Justice Fellowship was born, with the goal of identifying and preparing faith leaders to be more effective advocates on behalf of those most in need.

Six Fellows are part of the inaugural cohort and they include: Danny Diaz, Faith Organizer, Retail Wholesale Dept. Store Union Organizer, Micah Institute NY Theological Seminary; Rev. Brian Ellis-Gibbs, Pastor at Queens Baptist Church; Rev. Que English, Senior Pastor at Bronx Christian Fellowship Church;Rev. Keith Johnson, Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church; Rev. Keith Roberson, Senior Pastor at Southern Baptist Church; and Rev. Mark Williams, Associate Minister/Elder at Bethel Gospel Assembly.

For more information about the Faith and Justice Fellowship, please contact FPWA Director of Faith-Based Initiatives, Rev. Joel A. Gibson at jgibson@fpwa.org.