Speakers at seminar include U.S. “homelessness czar” Philip Mangano
Office of Urban Initiatives at Fuller Seminary hosted
“Homelessness, Faith, and Practice” at Fuller’s Pasadena campus on March 29.
faculty, staff, and students along with the Pasadena community and even police
officers had the opportunity at the event to learn about the ways national,
regional, and local leaders have integrated their faith and social practices to
help address homelessness.
primary speaker was Philip Mangano, who served as the nation’s “homelessness
czar” as executive director of the United States Interagency Council on
Homelessness from 2002 to 2009.
speaking at the event were Joe Colletti, who is the executive director of
Fuller’s Office of Urban Initiatives, and Sofia Herrera, co-director of the
office and a research assistant professor at Fuller.
of Theology Dean Howard J. Loewen offered welcoming comments and introduced
Herrera as the first speaker.
spoke primarily on the differences between charity versus justice.
usually do charity work when they have extra money or time, whereas for some,
when they hear about an injustice they feel they have no other option than to
react and do something about it, she said.
helps bring transformation to an entire community,” Herrera said.
Herrera came Colletti, who engaged the audience with a call to think about how
to end homelessness instead of just managing it. He also shared how he started to
integrate his faith with his outreach when he first began working with the homeless.
the end of my day, I would stop and consider how God was present with me during
the day,” he said.
ended the evening by recounting that, when he first became executive director
of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, President George W. Bush
challenged the nation’s ten largest cities to restructure the ways they handle
shared that he looked at examples of Roman Catholic priests such as the nineteenth century's Father
Damien, who worked in outreach to people with leprosy living under a
government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokai in Hawaii.
Damien helped bring order to the chaos on that island,” he said. “Although the
residents were still treated in an inhumane way, there was order to their
existence—and this aided the restoration process necessary to help people have
a normal life.”
Seminary’s Office of Urban Initiatives is affiliated with the Institute
for Urban Initiatives, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that consists of
several community-based and faith-based institutes that respond to the
economic, housing, and social needs of neighborhoods, cities, and counties from
local community, regional, national, international, and