Excerpts from document “Brief Descriptions of The Eight IPCR Concepts”

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The eight sections below contain excerpts from the document “Brief Descriptions of The Eight IPCR Concepts”.  The complete document is accessible for free from the website homepage of The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative, at www.ipcri.net   These eight sections are also a part of The IPCR Journal/Newsletter (Winter 2010-2011 issue), which is accessible for free at the IPCR Initiative website.

A central focus of The IPCR Initiative is its advocacy for a combination Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” with ongoing workshops, and “sister community” relationships as a way of generating an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times.  Communities carrying out Community Visioning Initiatives of the kind advocated by The IPCR Initiative could choose to include workshops on these Eight IPCR Concepts, as part of their workshop offerings.  However, since The IPCR Initiative advocates for local community specific Community Visioning Initiatives, decisions about workshop offerings would be made by the local community steering committees, in accordance with needs identified by local community specific questionnaires.

[Note:  The following excerpts are from the IPCR document “Brief Descriptions of The Eight IPCR Concepts”]  The footnote numbers (in the text below) are references to the “Notes and Source References” section of the complete “Brief Descriptions…” document.]

“Community Good News Networks”

“One way to begin creating “Community Good News Networks” is as follows:  ongoing intergenerational programs—programs that bring together elders of the community with young people (ages 5-18) of the community—are created at appropriate meeting places such as local places of worship, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers, etc.  Such intergenerational programs would include the following activities:  1)  collecting and sharing good news articles, stories, etc., and making contributions to “Good News Reference Resources,” specific to local communities and regions  2)  sending notecards of gratitude and encouragement—and invitations to visit—to people who are making good news in the local community or region  3)  inspirational sharing meetings featuring “good news makers” from the local community or region.”

“Community Faith Mentoring Networks”

“While the development of a faith mentoring relationship often takes place within a particular faith community, “Community Faith Mentoring Networks” would be a partnership among many different places of worship and faith traditions, for the purpose of   1)  increasing our collective capacity to encourage and inspire individual spiritual formation—with all the beneficial consequences that follow for individuals, communities, regions, etc.  and  2)  building trust among people from different faith communities and cultural traditions.

“Applied at the local community and regional level, “Community Good News Networks” and “Community Faith Mentoring Networks” can create ongoing opportunities for people of one particular faith community or cultural tradition to experience the highest ideals of all local community specific and regional specific faith communities and cultural traditions, as representatives of such ideals are better appreciated, more easily recognized—and more numerous— in the everyday circumstances of community life.”

“Spiritual Friendships”

“One way of developing ‘Spiritual Friendships’ is as follows…  Within a particular faith community—or among people from different religious, spiritual, or moral traditions—small groups are formed which would include the following three elements:     1)  Participants (at least most participants) declare an intention to take a specific step towards achieving a goal associated with their personal spiritual growth  (By making such a declaration, participants will thereby be motivated to ‘do their homework’ before the next meeting… that is, they will, by their desire to be true to their word—and by their desire to encourage the integrity of the process as a whole—feel some sense of urgency and responsibility about making an honest effort related to their declaration.)    2)  All participants are provided with an opportunity, in a respectful and considerate small group environment, to speak about their efforts they made in the interval between meetings     3)  Participants have the right to choose how they will benefit from the small group process (they can choose to speak about their efforts, or choose not to speak about them; they can seek feedback or encouragement, or prefer no response; they can remain silent and listen, etc.)

“Questionnaires That Help Build Caring Communities”

“Organizations and communities of people often use questionnaires and surveys to identify problems and solutions, and to build consensus for collective action.

“Questionnaires and surveys as a community building tool can provide:

1)  the beginnings of a database of questions that can help build caring communities
2)  a starting point for creating preliminary surveys, as preparation for Community Visioning Initiatives  (Example:  Responses and summarized results from sending preliminary surveys to 150 key community leaders can provide  a)  evidence from local leaders of the need for a re-assessment of current priorities  b)  an aid to mobilizing a high level of interest in the planned Community Visioning Initiative  c)  starting points for workshop topics at “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”)
3)  a focal point for community and individual self-examination [Example:  “Quaker’s often use what they call ‘queries’ as a focus for individual and collective meditation, consideration and prayer—(and for) guiding Quaker seekers in their search for greater love, truth, and insight into how to serve humanity and live lives that are consistent with their core
values.”  [From the “Quaker Queries” section of the “The Co-Intelligence Institute” website (see paragraph 1, at http://www.co-intelligence.org/QuakerQueries.html ) (confirmed January 10, 2011) (Two Quaker queries:  “Do you seek employment consistent with your beliefs, and in service to society?”  “When a members conduct or manner of living gives cause for concern, how does the Meeting respond?”)]
4)  a way to evaluate a Community Visioning process, so that the most valuable learning experiences can be shared with other communities.”

“Community Visioning Initiatives for Peace”

“In 1984, the non-profit organization Chattanooga Venture [Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)] organized a Community Visioning Initiative (“Vision 2000”) that attracted more than 1,700 participants, and produced 40 community goals—which resulted in the implementation of 223 projects and programs, the creation of 1,300 permanent jobs, and a total financial investment of 793 million dollars.6

“Well organized efforts to identify problems and brainstorm solutions are a universally recognized approach to problem solving which is commonly used in family, community, business, and government settings in every part of the world.  The more comprehensive Community Visioning Initiatives (the “Vision 2000” initiative mentioned above took 5 months) carry out a series of meetings which focus on five particular areas: identifying challenges, prioritizing challenges, identifying solutions, prioritizing solutions, and creating action plans.  Combined with ongoing workshops and much formal and informal educational activity, these meetings, though only a part of the Visioning Initiative, may last 4-6 months.  These more comprehensive Community Visioning Initiatives require steering committees, preliminary surveys or assessments, workshops, task forces, collaboration between many organizations, government agencies, businesses, and educational institutions—and seek to build up consensus in the community for specific goals and action plans by encouraging a high level of participation by all residents.”

“Spiritually Responsible Investing”

“The way we ‘invest’ our time, energy, and money has a direct impact on the ‘ways of earning a living’ that are available.

“As J.C. Kumarappa expresses it in his book ‘Why the Village Movement?’:  “A buyer hardly realizes he owes any
duties at all in his everyday transactions.”7  (And yet), ‘… every article in the bazaar has moral and spiritual values
attached to it….  Hence it behooves us to enquire into the antecedents of every article we buy.’8   But, as we
ourselves well know, the task of inquiring into the moral or spiritual history of every article we buy (and, similarly, the task of inquiring into the consequences of our ‘investments’ of time and energy) is becoming increasingly complex… and is, for most of us, simply beyond our capacity to accomplish.

“This level of complexity in our everyday circumstances should not discourage us to the point of abdicating our roles as responsible stewards of our time, energy, and money—for that would only increase the distrust and violence we are, hopefully, trying to minimize.  Instead, we can make it a priority to careful channel our ‘investments’ of time, energy, and money into activities which are in accordance with our spiritual convictions or core values (as indicated by a full disclosure of information, which is readily available)—and which are in accordance with circles of activity that are closer to the community we live in [‘The smaller the circumference, the more accurately can we gauge the results or our actions and (the) more conscientiously shall we be able to fulfil our obligations as trustees.’9]

“Ecological Sustainability”

“’The energy invested in a particular thing, during its life from cradle to grave, is called the ‘embodied energy’ of that object.  The amount of embodied energy that an item contains depends on the technology used to create it (the origin of materials inputs, how they were created and transported, etc.), the nature of the production system, and the distance the item travels from inception to purchase.’10  ‘By supporting items and processes that have lower embodied energy, as well as the companies that produce them, consumers can significantly reduce society’s energy use.’11  ‘If many people can learn to find contentment and quality of life while consuming much less, this limiting of desires at the “root” will save much trouble trying to respond to the symptoms as they materialize worldwide. This is part of the “spiritual teachings” element which often gets overlooked….’12

“… Energy descent pathways, community visioning initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, sister community relationships, spiritually responsible investing, peacebuilding, reconciliation, relocalization, green job training, permaculture, community supported agriculture, local currencies, ecovillages, accountability indicators, and community revitalization are among the many practical and appropriate responses to the challenges of our times.

“’The transition from an unsustainable fossil-fuel based economy back to a solar based economy (agriculture and forestry) will (require making best use of) the embodied energy we inherit from industrial culture.  This embodied energy is contained within a vast array of things, infrastructure, cultural processes, and ideas….  It is the task of our age to take this great wealth, reconfigure it, and apply it to the development of sustainable systems.’”13

“IPCR Journal/Newsletters”

“A collective effort by even a small community, to apply the seven previously mentioned IPCR concepts, would easily identify, develop, and create enough—

‘good news makers;’ descriptions of inspirational sharing meetings featuring ‘good news makers;’ examples of questionnaires that help build caring communities; results at various stages of community visioning initiatives; examples of carefully channeling our ‘investments’ of time, energy, and money; examples of how we determine the markets that supply the ‘ways of earning a living’; statistics associated with ecological footprint analysis; successful practices associated with building ecovillages; practical ways of applying the principles of permaculture; examples and descriptions associated with: energy descent pathways, relocalization projects; village support centers; village industries, cottage industries, and home industries; community supported agriculture and community supported manufacturing; community land trusts and co-housing projects; community revolving loans; ecological tipping points; fair trade practices; extended producer responsibility; barter networks and local currencies; energy farms; achieving zero waste; building civic skills and building community; inspiring role models; service-oriented initiatives; right livelihood employment listings; accountability indicators and statistics; model project case studies; apprenticeship programs; workshop and conference information; volunteer work; commentary; essays; letters to the editor; ‘community journal entries’; resource reviews; and, in general, “things people can do in the everyday circumstances of their lives….”

— and links to other service-oriented organizations, initiatives, and projects—

to justify a monthly publication of an IPCR Journal/Newsletter….”

[End of excerpts]

With Kind Regards,

Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The IPCR Initiative

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