Congregational Engagement

Focus Area – Civic Engagement and Community Organizing

EHF’s Congregational Engagement team works with churches to encourage voter participation, ministry outreach, civic involvement with communities around health-related issues, and work with communities to create new ministries that are centered around building relationships and organizing communities.

“If we who are Christians participate in the political process and in the public discourse as we are called to do — the New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society — the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle: does this look like love of neighbor?” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

EHF works with community organizations and more than 150 churches to build relationships and strengthen community coalitions. Through this work, we hope to engage individuals and build connections that transcend difference. This goal reflects our belief that healthy communities are created when diverse people join together to develop community-driven, people-centered, health-oriented systems. Through organizing communities, not only individuals, but entire communities can come together to address any issues that affect where they live, work, play, and pray.

Support for Congregations
EHF’s Congregational Engagement team can support your church and their work in Organizing Communities by…
– Offering trainings to help engage congregations with Faithful Voting and census outreach.
– Introducing leaders to local, statewide, and national efforts with which they can become involved.
– Providing up-to-date information for leaders to share with their congregations through workshops, newsletters, and bulletin-inserts.

Stories from the Diocese of Texas
The examples are articles found in our bi-monthly e-newsletter, Congregation Connection, which tell stories of congregations in action, partners with expertise in the area, and general related topics.

Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Action from the Episcopal Church – EHF congregational engagement officer Willie Bennett’s conversation with Alan Yarborough, Office of the Bishop, Church Relations Officer about opportunities for Civic Engagement presented by the 2020 Census and elections.
Out of the Church & Into the Neighborhood (Video)- Rev. Miles Brandon shares a story from their church’s community engagement work, and the impact it has had on the congregation’s efforts to get involved.
Raise your community’s voice through voter registration and engagement – Explore what it means to be a Texas Voter Deputy Registrar and how your congregation can get involved with voter engagement.

Additional Resources
The resources below are a variety of local and regional community organizations. We currently work alongside these organizations and are familiar with the value of their work.

Central Texas Interfaith (CTI)
CTI is an organization of institutions in the Austin and surrounding area that trains leaders to organize their communities through their congregations. It has worked with participating Episcopal congregations to engage their communities around issues important to them such as; parental involvement in schools, crime, police/community relations, immigration, and increasing voter turnout. CTI is part of the IAF Network.

The Metropolitan Organization (TMO)
TMO is an organization of institutions in Harris County that trains leaders to organize their communities through their congregations. It is working with Episcopal congregations to engage their surrounding communities on issues such as; parental engagement, voter education, gun violence, and Hurricane Harvey, and immigration.

Texas Impact
Texas Impact is a statewide religious grassroots network of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Texas Impact exists to advance state public policies that are consistent with universally held social principles of the Abrahamic traditions.

Texas Rural Leadership Project
TRLP is a non-profit corporation with the mission to create and deliver engaging, effective leadership development opportunities for rural Texas. TRLP’s strategic intents are to be recognized as the premier leadership development resource for rural Texas and to build capacity for long-term growth and sustainability.

Mi Familia Vota
Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities. It’s mission is to build Latino political power by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructures, and through year-round voter engagement.

Houston in Action
Houston in Action is an initiative made up of people and organizations who have come together to advance our community forward through our respective and collective work to build a stronger Houston through a culture of civic engagement.