Social Cohesion and Enterprise Through Interfaith Action
Empowerment+ interfaith action groups help participants gain practical life and career skills that focus on more than just finding a job, but on a vocation that is meaningful and fulfilling.
The inspiration comes from a famous story about loving our neighbors – The Good Samaritan. Although the Good Samaritan was a foreigner with a foreign religion, his care for the man left to die by the side of the road is the example of the love that people are called to show to others regardless of their faith or background.
So, the groups are not just about receiving love and help, but also the beautiful opportunity to love and help others, including immigrants and refugees.
Empowerment+ is being piloted at Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy (UK) in collaboration with the Manchester Central Mosque and other faith partners. The overall project is coordinated by Brian J. Grim, PhD, Visiting Professor, School of Management and Social Sciences, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham/London, and President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.
Because the initiative is staffed by university volunteers, it is low cost but has high impact because it has the potential to scale up globally and equip many of thousands of volunteers to build relationships with many more thousands in university communities. One strategy to scale it up is to bring together Empowerment+ communities that will run business incubators in under-used religious properties.
The first component of the initiative is focused on pairing participants with mentors. See what young adults think of this “Launching Leaders” component.
The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) – a non-sectarian non-profit organization – is excited to work with Launching Leaders in piloting interfaith leadership groups. These groups give young adults practical tools that open doors to a life of fulfillment and success through holistic living. Group topics include developing positive habits, effective mentorship, life planning, financial fitness and breakout communication skills. The groups have a clear and practical message: “When you develop your complete self, combining proven principles with spirituality and your everyday life, you can accomplish your life’s passions.”
Volunteer mentors — people with business know-how and sincere spirituality from various religious traditions and professions — form a wider group of people who are helping Empowerment+ participants acquire the key ‘temporal’ (earthly) and spiritual skills needed to be empowered and successful in the societies where they live.
The Empowerment+ toolkit has 12-week multiple tracks, channeling participants to the most appropriate pathway for them. These include: Launching Leaders and My Job Search. Other tracks under preparation include Starting and Growing a Business, Education for Better Work and Personal Financial Planning. The Empowerment+ toolkit is intentionally designed to be used in a group (eliminating isolation), to provide practical results (overcoming desperation), to demonstrate acceptance (ending rejection), and to model the radical spiritual power of serving others (replacing spiritual anomie with spiritual groundedness).
These groups will address these human challenges by helping replace isolation, desperation and spiritual anomie with temporal and spiritual empowerment. The spiritual power of the approach is in giving those facing problems the opportunity to constructively help others in the group process.
RFBF is also grateful to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for giving RFBF a license to produce and distribute an interfaith version of a successful LDS self-reliance program operated worldwide that has helped nearly a million of their own members, beginning with a Foundational Resource.
The Empowerment+ foundational booklet and the accompanying materials for each track have been prepared to help people from any faith or belief background learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Divine, which we refer to as “the Lord” throughout the materials.
We invite feedback on the materials’ usefulness in helping participants move toward greater empowerment and self-reliance. The practical spiritual principles in the toolkit are supported by an Interfaith Appendix, with scriptures from multiple religious and belief traditions – including Humanism.
For more information, contact Brian Grim.