Founded in 1991, The Faith & Politics Institute has served hundreds of members of Congress and congressional staff by offering experiential pilgrimages, reflection groups, retreats and public forums. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, we are dedicated to doing this work with the Congress because of their ties to a broad constituency and their leadership in local, national and global policy. Our belief is that our commitment to a relatively small but influential group of people will ultimately reach many.
The Faith & Politics Institute is an agent for change: from leadership that is externally focused to integrated leadership that incorporates spiritual practices and beliefs; from racial division and the exploitation of racial divides in electoral politics to racial reconciliation and dialogue; from bitter partisanship to civility and engagement. The Institute does more than create safe spaces for dialogue; it takes strategic steps to promote leadership that will have a positive impact on the tone and effectiveness of Congress, and through the Congress, the nation.
In many ways, the work of The Faith & Politics has been well ahead of its time. We have spent nearly twenty years engaging members of Congress, congressional staff and their constituents in bipartisan, interfaith dialogues. But there is much work yet to be done. This moment in history presents a tremendous opportunity for political leaders to assume an active role in setting the tone that will shape our future and to engage the public in ways that ensure our next step forward is taken together by a united people. We must not simply tolerate, but move into the tensions inherent in a democratic society. Given the backdrop of a shifting culture and resulting opportunity, The Faith & Politics Institute has set three goals to which we will commit ourselves and our resources over the next three years:
• Leading from within: Reflective leadership is effective leadership
The Faith & Politics Institute enhances the quality and effectiveness of political leadership by providing opportunities for members of Congress and congressional staff to strengthen their personal leadership through participation in spiritually grounded group dialogue and reflection.
• Leading across the divide: Race, religion and partisanship
The Faith & Politics Institute contributes to effective government by bringing members of Congress and congressional staff together in a spirit of reconciliation across lines of race, religion and political party for the purpose of working together in service of our nation and the world.
• Leading in service: Engaging the public
The Faith & Politics Institute strengthens democracy by bringing members of Congress and the public they serve together across differences of race, religion and political party in settings that promote understanding through dialogue and reflection.