CNU MEMBERS CHRISTIAN CAUCUS

– FOUNDED 2016 –

What’s The Big Idea?

The mission of the CNU Members Christian Caucus (CNU-MCC) is to support CNU by extending the concepts and practices of New Urbanism to the Christian community.

CNU-MCC identifies a nexus of overlapping concerns and values that are central to both Christian faith and New Urbanism. They are social justice, creation care/environmental sustainability, and urbanism that begets community wellbeing and serves the common good. CNU-MCC, therefore, will prioritize its work in these areas.

MCC would not be possible were it not for the groundbreaking work of prior faith-based initiatives. The religious network at CNU has grown over the past few years through the FaithUrb list serve, the annual (yet informal) prayer breakfast, and other events. Our hope is those networking venues will be strengthened by this initiative because the CNU-MCC views itself as additive, not substitutive to those activities.

CNU-MCC is NOT an affinity group focused on advocating for its interests within CNU. In other words, CNU-MCC is not a political sub-group advocating for some set of religious concerns within CNU–which would be divisive, unwelcome, and an anathema to the spirit and mission of this group. On the contrary, this initiative is intended to provide a formal channel for Christian CNU members to serve and support both CNU and their faith communities.

CNU-MCC’s Structure and Organizing Principles 

1.  CNU-MCC is formal body with a specific identity. It is comprised of CNU members, practitioners and experts in New Urbanism, and self-identifying Christians–to keep it simple that is any individual who willingly affirms the Nicene and/or Apostles’ Creed.

2.  CNU-MCC’s mission is to support CNU by extending the concepts and practices of New Urbanism to the Christian community.

3.  CNU-MCC is an ecumenical Christian caucus, but not an inter-faith caucus. We encourage other faiths to organize CNU caucuses to reach out to their communities, and would welcome collaborating with other CNU faith caucuses if they developed, but for practical and strategic reasons the CNU-MCC is not an inter-faith caucus.

4.  CNU-MCC’s activities include, but are not limited to issuing statements, recommendations, developing resources, and entering into partnerships and coalitions with other organizations that are congruous with, and advance its mission.

5.  CNU-MCC identifies a nexus of overlapping concerns and values that are central to both Christian faith and New Urbanism. They are social justice, creation care/environmental sustainability, and urbanism that begets community wellbeing and serves the common good. CNU-MCC, therefore, will prioritize its work in these areas.

6.  Individual members can identify themselves as CNU-MCC members in public venues, however, individual CNU-MCC members cannot officially represent the caucus at meetings, conferences, etc., unless specifically authorized to do so by CNU-MCC.

7.  CNU-MCC’s activities are limited to discrete fixed-term projects. In other words, CNU-MCC members (or smaller sub-groups of members) come together to work on tasks on a project-by-project basis.  When those projects are completed the caucus is dormant until new tasks are identified and set to do.

Current CNU-MCC members include Elizabeth Moule, Philip Bess, Dr. Christopher Miller, Mike Watkins, Josh Paget, John Paget, Jay Hoekstra, David Kim, Dr. Chris Elisara, and Dr. Eric O. Jacobsen.

What Can CNU-MCC Do to Support CNU, the Christian Community, and the Common Good? 

A lively and active CNU members’ Christian caucus could do lots of creative and constructive projects based on the collective expertise of its members and their networks. For example, the CNU-MCC could produce formal statements, recommendations, and resources on urban issues that in many cases would garner more interest, possess more credibility, and thus be taken more seriously within Christian circles than similar statements, recommendations, or resources issued by secular organizations or individual experts–even Christian experts–could. In other words, Christian thinkers, leaders, and institutions often pay more serious attention when they are advocated by trusted community affiliated organizations than not.

On the other hand mainstream leaders and institutions sometimes stand up and pay attention when reputable Christian groups like the CNU-MCC join in common cause with non-religious groups. CNU-MCC, therefore, could exercise a useful role in the public square by broadening the support for CNU and New Urbanist ideas and causes.

Other examples of potential CNU-MCC activities and actions include:

– Sending the Vatican a letter expressing our mutual concerns about environmental stewardship, climate change, and social justice, and offer to share our New Urbanist toolkit with him and the Catholic Church to help address these issues.  We could do the same for other protestant denomonations.

– The World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Task Force (WEACCTF) is mobilizing Evangelicals world wide to engage with UN Habitat. CNU-MCC would be an invaluable expert partner in this effort.

– The CNU-MCC could influence and support prominent organizations like the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).  If CCDA incorporated New Urbanism into their solutions and practices for community development that would bring incredible benefit to the communities they work with.

In all of the above examples CNU benefits in many ways. CNU can expand its membership, it can also build relationships, and potentially new programs, with Christian organizations that have an affinity with New Urbanism. Given the ethnic diversity of the church, and especially the diversity of in Christian organizations concerned with community development, CNU can also increase its organizational diversity. It is worth pointing out that two of CNU’s top strategic priorities for 2016-2018 are forming partnerships and increasing its diversity.

 

For More Information

E-mail Chris Elisara at chris@center4eleadership.org, or call 760 765 2817.