Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse is an affiliate of FAITH IN ACTION.
Faith in Action was founded in 1972 under the leadership Father John Baumann, a Jesuit priest who had learned community organizing in Chicago. Faith in Action began as a regional training institute to help support neighborhood organizations in California.
With guidance from Dr. Jose Carrasco and Scott Reed, Faith in Action developed a new congregation-community model. In this model, congregations of all denominations and faiths serve as the institutional base for community organizations. Rather than bring people together simply based on common issues like housing or education, the faith-based or broad-based organizing model makes values and relationships the glue that holds organizations together.
These innovations have resulted in the development of a network of powerful, long lasting community organizations. Today Faith in Action has 44 affiliated federations and 8 statewide networks working in 150 cities and towns and 22 states. More than one million families and one thousand congregations from 40 different denominations and faiths participate in Faith in Action. In 2018, Faith in Action changed its name from PICO National Network to reflect its growth into a national, faith-based organizing effort.
Faith In Action describes themselves in this way -
"We believe in a society free of economic oppression, racism and discrimination in which every person lives in a safe and healthy environment, is respected and included, and has agency over the decisions that shape their lives.
We believe organizing is the best way to address the spiritual and material crises facing our society. It is the best tool we have for standing up to corporate interests profiting from racial and economic oppression and environmental destruction. To create a new society based on equity, sustainability, and love we need to build strong multi-racial people-led organizations that relentlessly press for social change.
Faith in Action has a unique role to play in building a larger movement for change. This contribution flows from our capacity to engage large numbers of people through trusted community institutions, speak prophetically about the moral dimensions of political choices, and bring people together across race, class, religion, urban/suburban/rural, and region to make progress on racial and economic justice.
We’re facing a moral crisis over whether we all matter and belong, what voice we have over the decisions that shape our lives and communities, and what obligations we have to one another and to our planet. This crisis is global, but it is especially fierce in the U.S. due to how anti-blackness, White Supremacy, and patriarchy have shaped our society (hurting both communities of color and White communities); our legacy of genocide against Native people; our cultural diversity; the influence of large corporations over our lives and economy; and the myths we’ve told ourselves about small government and self-reliance.
The struggle over the direction of the country is not just about economics or politics. It is a spiritual struggle over who we are and how we are connected. Many people, especially younger people, have lost faith in institutions and have distanced themselves from traditional religious congregations. But people are still searching for spiritual connection and purpose. Through our organizing work, we believe individuals will be able to say “as a result of my participation in Faith in Action, my life is better and I see the world and myself differently.”
The Rev. Alvin Herring is executive director of Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. An ordained Christian Minister with over 30 years of experience in ministry, Rev. Herring is constantly working to put faith back into the public square by expanding the idea of faith far beyond 11 a.m. on Sunday. For Herring, this means leveraging the Faith in Action network and its leaders to use their faith traditions as catalyst for change.