On August 3-4, leaders, and potential leaders for Pima County Interfaith (PCI) joined together at St Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church for a leadership retreat on broad-based organizing for Pima County. Joe Rubio, national Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) co-director and Jorge Monteil, lead organizer in Denver, presented the retreat, which provoked deep discussion and involvement of participants.
Topics covered included the challenges and opportunities of post-COVID organizing; the nature of institutional relationships and interests; how to deepen relationships with member institutions; and how to cultivate new relationships.
Based on the book of Ezra, leaders learned that out of a crisis, change will happen. COVID was just such a crisis, and our goal is to change for the better. To do so, it’s important to understand the nature of society, and the difference between contracts and covenants. While PCI is a covenantal organization, much of our society functions in a contractual or transactional way.
Rather than living in a contractual world, PCI stresses our birthright, our covenant. Our covenant encompasses our obligations and responsibilities to and for each other. As a relational organization, it’s about the “who” rather than the “what,” about people and building a community.
In PCI, we have no permanent allies, and no permanent enemies. We firmly believe in our “iron rule:” never do for others what they can do for themselves. Instead, we organize based on interests, without demonizing those who disagree with us.
An interest is something we are willing to do something about, something we can get agitated about and organize around to create change. We all have interests. Our institutions have interests. We strive to identify our institutional interests to guide our work.
While PCI does much work in the world of politics, that does not mean that we are partisan. Being political is not equal to politics. Rather, we work with allies from any or no party to help us achieve our goals.
Participants left the retreat fired up and with a “to-do” list of people and institutions to analyze, meet, and develop relationships with.
A follow-up training will be held on September 21 from 5:00-8:00 PM at St Philip’s. All are welcome, whether or not they attended the August retreat. Won’t you join us? Registration flyer to follow soon.