POWER Local Organizing Committee
Who/how does this ministry serve?
POWER is a multifaith-based organizing body that works toward systemic justice for those closest to economic pain in Philadelphia, Southeastern, and Central Pennsylvania. Staff and member congregations are rich in racial, cultural, economic and geographic diversity. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) meets monthly to foster relationships between the strategy teams of POWER and St. Martin’s members. We hear reports from members active on the strategy teams. We strive to communicate POWER’s upcoming activities to St. Martin’s so many of our congregation come out for the big actions.
Who is involved?
The LOC has 12 members who attend monthly meetings. Carol Duncan and Diane Pierce co-chair this group. Jim Fairburn is secretary. Many members serve on a POWER strategy team: Elizabeth Eagles and Diane Pierce on Education Justice, Stephanie Hagan and Susan MacBride on Live Free (Justice Reform), Carol Duncan on Economic Dignity and Faith Leaders Caucus, Pam Darville and Jean Mackenzie on Climate Action. They report to the LOC each month. We all participate in Civic Engagement to learn and teach about elections. Ten other parishioners act as resource guides to our areas of concern but do not attend our meetings.
How do I get involved?
The LOC goal is for parishioners to get involved with POWER. To participate with the LOC, one needs to want what POWER offers. To learn what POWER offers, visit their evolving website. The website is https://powerinterfaith.org. Look under the campaigns tab and on the calendar. If you see something you might want to pursue, contact the Rev. Carol Duncan.
Identify some successes:
We have sent large delegations to education actions in Harrisburg (a full bus load in 2019) and the March in Bala Cynwyd (19 of us on a 95-degree day in June 2021). We have been active in voter registration campaigns, writing hundreds of postcards. We were trained over the summer by POWER’s lead Organizer in becoming more skilled at faith-based organizing.
What have been some struggles?
We need the whole congregation to join in voter education campaigns for fall 2021 and all of 2022. In 2022 the goal will be to elect local, state and federal legislators who favor a living wage, racial justice, fair and equal education and a livable planet.
Share the impact:
We are a founding member congregation of POWER and have paid more than our required dues since its founding in 2011. In 2021, our involvement with POWER's state education funding campaign led to a robust addition to the state budget that will go towards addressing funding disparities between majority white school districts and majority POC school districts.
Report from the September 2021 Community Engagement Committee Retreat