DCIA considering changes to events, meetings

Aug. 20, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Durham Congregations In Action, the collaborative group of about 60 congregations of multiple faiths, is re-examining how it builds “interreligious cooperation.”
The Rev. Spencer Bradford, executive director of DCIA, said the board of directors met this summer and identified something they need to do to enliven cooperation moving forward. The details of how will be determined. At DCIA’s monthly meeting Tuesday night, members discussed several questions, including how assembly meetings can best build relationships between spiritual communities. That could mean fewer meetings, longer meetings and separate gatherings for clergy. Other discussion questions focused on developing joint service opportunities, visits to each others’ meeting places and irreligious spiritual events and ceremonies.
Bradford said that DCIA would still continue its direct work on needs of the poor, racism and violence. In the coming years, he said, they are looking at how to work together to address poverty, racism and violence. Bradford said they are also looking for kinds of interactive activities that will build bridges among spiritual communities.
Marcia Owen leads the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and its vigils for homicide victims are events that DCIA suggests its member attend. She doesn’t think relationships are built by having worship services together so much as joint activities.
“In the doing-ness, that’s where a relationship is formed,” Owen said.
The Rev. Joe Hensley of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church said that it depends on the kind of service.
“I look at CROP Walk as a great example of congregations coming together,” Hensley said. “So what’s the next CROP Walk? What’s the next Durham-wide opportunity?”
He also said that the table of fellowship is really important.
“The meetings, even though it’s hard to get people to come, it’s important to break bread together,” he said. “Maybe if we have worship together, couple it with fellowship.”
Notes from each table’s discussion were gathered and the conversation will continue at assembly meetings this fall, Bradford said.
He noted an effort by United Methodist churches in Durham of addressing poverty with weekend backpacks of food for students as a way that DCIA could collaborate.
The next DCIA meeting will be held at 11:45 a.m. Sept. 16 at Iglesia Emanuel/Durham Presbyterian Church at 2504 N. Roxboro St., Durham. The topic will be “Affordable Housing in Durham.” For information about DCIA, visit www.dcia.org.

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