The promise of faith‐based social services: Perception versus reality
ABSTRACT This article explores the tenets that support the history of faith‐based social services in the United States and highlights the role of faith‐based organizations, which have a long and respected tradition in service provision. These tenets are rooted in the religious and secular precepts of duty, obligation, charity, responsibility, participation, community, and justice. As basic as these concepts are, the 2001 political debate about extending public support of faith‐based services has proven to be divisive rather than unifying. The concepts and practice of, and experience with, faith‐based services provide an important perspective by which to view and assess the 2001 Bush initiative to expand the use of faith‐based groups in the provision of social services. There is an inherent danger in raising expectations about the ability of faith‐based groups to meet social service needs and to do so “better” than other nonprofit or government agencies. Based on this review of the purposes, history, and current capacity of faith‐based groups, implications are identified and future scenarios offered in regard to an extended role of religious groups in service provision.
- SourceAvailable from: Rick CsiernikJournal of Spirituality in Mental Health 08/2013; 15(1):34-46.
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ABSTRACT: Interest in faith-based organizations has increased substantially since the Bush administration made them a priority in the presidential campaign of 2000 and established a special office in the White House to promote their involvement in government supported human services. The primary goal of this initiative is to encourage faith-based organizations, usually understood to mean congregations, to engage their members in supporting services to those most in need. While most research on faith-based organizations is limited to the past decade or two, very little is known about how they operate. This case study of Community Ministries of Rockville, Maryland (CMR) is designed to address this issue. CMR differs from most faith-based organizations in that it neither represents a single congregation nor the traditional faith-related social service agency like Catholic, Jewish, or Lutheran Social Services. The case study features the twenty-five year history of the Executive Director of a faith-based human service organization supported by twenty congregations. It concludes with the identification of major challenges and lessons learned.