Can connecting your work to spiritual values make changework more effective?
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Can a deeper understanding of the connection between our inner life and our work in the world help us better execute our missions and engage more effectively in communities?
Fetzer Institute’s Study of Spirituality in America is uncovering important nuances in the meaning of religion and spirituality to people today and how this informs our behaviors and actions. During the Upswell workshop, “The Changing Landscape of Religion, Spirituality, and Identity in America,” you’ll gain insights that may help you better serve communities by connecting your changework to deep beliefs that give people hope, meaning, and purpose in life.
Sponsored by Fetzer, the groundbreaking study is being conducted in partnership with Hattaway Communications. Gillian Gonda with Fetzer and Veronica Selzler with Hattaway are co-presenting the workshop, along with one of their advisors, Dr. Omar M. McRoberts with the University of Chicago.
“There’s a growing body of data and research, and we hope this study sheds significant light on how people hold their spiritual values and the potential connection with how they engage and participate in their communities,” according to Gillian. “Those ideas are really central to the work that Independent Sector is doing with the variety of organizations that will be represented at Upswell Chicago.”
She says the workshop presents an opportunity to share interesting research and practices, and bring light to a potential framework and conceptual knowledge as changemakers return to their communities from Upswell.
“We’re excited about getting folks who work day-to-day, on the ground in their communities to step back for a minute and think about the larger values that are at play, not only for themselves as changemakers, but the constituents they have and the people they are reaching.”
The research insights they’ll share about spirituality and civic action may change how Upswell attendees reach out and work with people in communities, Veronica adds. “We’ll talk about how religion, spirituality, and identity inform changemakers’ connections with their constituents. This is part of the Fetzer’s broader work to connect the inner life of spirit with the outer life of service and action and draw that line. Changemakers can use this national understanding of spirituality in America to better connect and support people as they do their changework.”
The preliminary research they’ll present will reflect a way you can see those they work with differently, “knowing that there’s a way to motivate and be a part of a community by connecting to those inner values, how people see who they are together,” says Gillian.
“I think there are a lot of new connections that changemakers can make to who they work with and the work that they do, and I’m excited about how that’s going to show up in the conversation. This won’t just be a ‘talk at you’ session. We’ll do exercises that will help people talk about their own sense of who they are, and I look forward to the questions, the dialogue, and what will emerge.”
The Changing Landscape of Religion, Spirituality, and Identity in America is happening Friday, November 15 from 11am – 12pm.