For many people working on humanitarian causes, spirituality is the force that compels them to be engaged with the world. They may have a ministry to serve the poor or be an activist fighting for human rights. They may be Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or not adhere to any particular tradition. What they share is an engaged spirituality.
From our first project following the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles, CRCC’s research and training programs have sought to understand and support faith leaders committed to improving their communities. CRCC continues this work today by studying the lives and work of exemplary people committed to advancing human flourishing across the globe. The following page includes stories of such people, created by CRCC’s researchers and journalist fellows. From the individual stories, CRCC aims to define and establish a field of “spiritual exemplars” and understand how engaged spirituality operates in their lives. This endeavor is supported by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton Religion Trust.
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Above, Maggie Gorban ministers to children in a slum on the outskirts of Cairo.
- AudioRussell Jeung: He Started A Movement to #StopAAPIHateThis radio documentary was originally produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. To hear this and other profiles, subscribe to The Spiritual Edge podcast …Topics: Christians and Christianity, COVID, Engaged Spirituality, race, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- AudioIsmael “Melo” Moreno: A Voice of Opposition in HondurasThis radio documentary was produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. To hear this and other profiles, subscribe to The Spiritual Edge podcast in your …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Engaged Spirituality, Latin America, Spiritual Exemplars
- AudioDean Issacharoff: A Former Israeli Soldier Questions His Country and FaithThis radio documentary was produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. To hear this and other profiles, subscribe to The Spiritual Edge podcast …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, National and Cultural Identity, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- CommentaryCommunality: A Possible Solution to Environmental Protection“An individual does not exist,” Jaime Martínez Luna, a Zapotec intellectual (pictured in yellow jacket), told me as we shared coffee in his kitchen in the small mountain village of San Pablo …Topics: Community Dynamics, Engaged Spirituality, Environment, Latin America, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleMunther Isaac: What Would Jesus Do at an Israeli Military Checkpoint?This article was originally published by Religion Unplugged, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. BETHLEHEM— In the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, a stained glass window depicting …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Religious Leadership
- CommentaryStudent Reflection: Researching Healing Justice with Dignity and Power NowBy Addison Baker Addison Baker is an undergraduate student at The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Addison spent time researching the Black Lives Matter movement, along with healing modalities and …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Race and Culture, Southern California, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- ArticleTaizé: A Musical Monastic Community, Formed in Response to a Global Crisis, Faces New OnesThis article was originally published by America Magazine, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. “Iedere nacht verlang ik naar u, o God” (My spirit yearns for you in the …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Engaged Spirituality, Europe, Meditation and Prayer, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars
- CommentaryEthnographic Journalism on Engaged Spirituality: Reflections and Lessons LearnedAs part of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s project on Engaged Spirituality, I have been able to work on four in-depth profiles of “spiritual exemplars,” people who work to …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleCarmen Santiago Alonso: In Oaxaca, Indigenous Farmers Mourn Catholic ActivistThis article was originally published by Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. OAXACA, Mexico (RNS) — At Carmen Santiago Alonso’s funeral on Feb. 7, the …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Community Organizing, Engaged Spirituality, Environment, Latin America, Race and Culture, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleMônica Francisco: Two women of opposing faiths unite to protect sacred Candomblé spaceThis story was originally published by Christian Science Monitor, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Mônica Francisco and Mãe Seci Caxi do not see eye to eye about God. Ms. Francisco, …Topics: Black Church, Community Organizing, Engaged Spirituality, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleTom Goldtooth: From Indian bar bouncer to humanitarianThis article was originally published by Indian Country Today, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. BEMIDJI, Minnesota — The offices of the Indigenous Environmental Network are located in the corner …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Environment, Spiritual Exemplars
- VideoDr. Christina Puchalski: COVID-19 Highlights Spiritual Needs In Health Care
“Pessimism, cynicism, despair—these words are not in the vocabulary of spiritual exemplars such as Sister Rosemary and Jean. Instead, I kept hearing the words hope, compassion and love. What really struck me was their entrepreneurial spirit in the face of poverty and trauma. Perhaps visionary action is an antidote to paralyzing anxiety and fear.”
— Donald E. Miller, Countering Pessimism and Despair: An Encounter with two Spiritual Exemplars
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- Hebah FarragAssistant Director of ResearchHebah Farrag manages the center’s research and evaluation projects while engaging in research focused on religion, social change and new spiritualties.
- Donald E. MillerDirector of Strategic InitiativesDonald Miller focuses on global religious trends, genocides of the 20th century, and the role of religious NGOs in addressing issues of moral concern.
- Arpi MillerContributing FellowArpi Miller is a sociologist who studies secular and faith-based immigrant advocacy and accompaniment.