This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.
The good works of holy disciples have always been a point of pride for religious organizations. While it might seem like a touchy subject in today’s polarized America, faith can provide opportunities to contribute, even for those with non-traditional views.
The church is nothing without people, and many of those responsible for inspiring a return to community service are young people. Spurned by what they feel is a commercialistic approach to faith — the televised megachurch approach — new church leaders are opening up to new ideas and promoting community involvement for people from all walks of life.
Here are a few great examples.
Project Gateway delivers career training in Africa
South Africa has struggled with civil unrest for many years, but like so many places, its people are vibrant and eager to rise above the conflict. Many have left the country to seek careers elsewhere.
Whether they choose to stay or emigrate, Project Gateway offers real-world training that can change lives. The Christian service organization provides shelter and safety, trains attendees in computer literacy and even offers programs on the fashion industry.
City Bible Forum builds homes in Mexico
The team from City Bible Forum isn’t even concerned about what faith you are. This new-age Christian group takes a literal approach to the term “forum,” as their website is an open discussion. Part of what they do is inviting whoever wants to go to come and build homes in Mexico. That’s not so hard to get behind.
If you’d like to travel to a beautiful island, make new friends and help some friendly people at the same time, Healing Haiti could be a good fit for you.
This Christian organization organizes missionary trips to Haiti at a reasonable price that makes it accessible for everyone. Not only that, but they offer different packages for groups, families and individuals.
The Christian Left
You can’t turn on the news these days without hearing about the Christian right, but is there somewhere a Christian with liberal beliefs can belong? The answer is yes. The Christian Left has made it their mission to fight for a progressive view in the world of Christianity by supporting many feminist and LGBTI+ events.
Jewish Service Corps organizes year-long projects in 11 countries
JSC fellows can partake in service works around the world. Destinations include China, Argentina, Israel, Russia, Turkey and more.
St. Christopher’s Inn
Offering a safe place where all are welcome is a virtue that spreads across any faith. The St.
Christopher’s Inn offers just that, as well as rehabilitation services to those in need. Residents can receive primary health care, spiritual counseling and chemical dependency therapy. The “Brothers Christopher” keep the Inn as a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.
Keeping Kids Fed Through the Church
Multiple schools and churches in Vermont have teamed up to distribute bags packed with a week’s worth of lunches to local schoolchildren. Recipients can look forward to fresh produce and the occasional book or toy in their bag. The program relies 100% on local funding and help from volunteers.
Islamic Relief USA
Regardless of your religion or belief, this humanitarian aid organization is willing to help. They support literacy and health and distribute foodstuffs worldwide. Currently, they are working with flood survivors in Afghanistan.
The Sikh religion is less well known than more prominent western faiths, but this group is working to give marginalized Sikh children a voice. The New York-based operation works to end bullying in schools and promote freedom of religion for all people.
Since the beginning of recorded time, faith has been a force for improvement in the community. Our community has grown from a local one into a global one, but there is still work to be done. Rather than let the media define your relationship with faith, choose to be part of a positive movement with one of the groups mentioned here or the hundreds like them.