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Journey Workshop on postsecular New York City

The group from University of Groningen in the Netherlands joined up with A Journey at The Bowery Mission last Wednesday morning.

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European scholars and students with James Macklin in The Bowery Mission Chapel

European scholars and students with James Macklin in The Bowery Mission Chapel. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

Justin Beaumont, one of Europe’s leading experts on how faith-based social services are impacting cities, brought over twenty students and two colleagues to join A Journey through NYC religions to explore postsecular New York City. It was A Journey Workshop’s first visit from an overseas university.James Macklin

The group from University of Groningen in the Netherlands joined up with A Journey at The Bowery Mission last Wednesday morning. James Macklin, Director of Outreach at the mission, guided the group through The Bowery Mission’s work with stops at the cafeteria, kitchen, chapel, administrative offices, men's dormitory, medical dispensary, and rooftop garden. Various mission personnel joined us at times to discuss their roles. At the conclusion Melissa Kimiadi and Pauline Dolle, both from A Journey through NYC religions, discussed the role of faith-based social programs in the postsecular city and A Journey's methods of sympathetic objectivity. The students were fired up during the Q & A and asked insightful questions.

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Beaumont has just published with his colleagues Working Faith: faith-based communities involved in justice which describes how faith is the prime motivation for an organized response to social and political needs in different European

Professor Justin Beaumont in The Bowery Mission garden. Photo: A Journey through NYC religions

Professor Justin Beaumont in The Bowery Mission garden. Photo: A Journey through NYC religions

contexts. He has also published the well-regarded books Exploring the Postsecular and Postsecular Cities. Beaumont and an English colleague  Chris Baker have promoted research to explore “the public resurgence of religion” as “one of the defining features of this century,which has not continued the modernist and secularized trajectory assumed during the latter half of the 20th century.” Religious folk are large contributors to democratic movements and social progress around the world. Of course, there are also undemocratic, inhumane forms of religious activity. Will our response be to try to suppress both democratic religious progressives and religious authoritarians? Does not this weaken the prospects for democratic progress?

Pauline Dolle talks about her experience with A Journey through NYC religions

Pauline Dolle talks about her experience with A Journey through NYC religions

Journey Workshops teach basic information about postsecular New York City and how the magazine has gathered its data and produced stories. The workshops run from a half-day to a week in length. A Journey has hosted workshops for Columbia University School of Journalism, Bethel University, Colgate University, NYCAMs and The Masters School. The best work of the students is featured in the online magazine.

Afterwards, Macklin invited everyone to have lunch downstairs in the cafeteria and talked and sang resonantly about his life with the hymn "Your grace and mercy brought us through." (The Bowery Mission offers free meals three times a day, 365 days a year, to anyone in need.) The group ate side by side with the homeless and hungry men and women who frequent The Bowery's services. An Indian American family marched through the cafeteria during the meal with a large chocolate cake. The mother wanted to share the celebration of her birthday with the homeless and needy. Terry, a former cocaine addict currently enrolled in The Bowery's one year residential recovery program, joked that he has gained 50 pounds since he first arrived at the mission. It was a very encouraging experience for our team and guests!

 

8 Responses to “Journey Workshop on postsecular New York City” Leave a reply ›

  • Good stuff! Journey writes an interesting piece on a group of visitors from Groningen, Netherlands to The Bowery Mission called "Journey Workshop on Postsecular New York City."

  • Like this!

  • Great news !!

    Did you discuss your strategy of "Sympathetic Objectivity"??
    http://www.nycreligion.info/?p=9128

  • Yes, we did.

    One of the great things about our enterprise is that our staff and volunteers have been trained intensively in sympathetic objectivity, have thought it through in their own terms, and can contribute to its development. So, our Deputy Director & Assistant Editor and our intern gave very original and excellent presentations on sympathetic objectivity. At the end I answered a few questions, but mainly our team carried the show and certainly deserve many encores! Thanks!

  • Could you have your staff share some of the new ideas they have had about "Sympathetic Objectivity" and add them to your website? It would be very good to hear how people are making use of and thinking with this very thought provoking idea.

  • John, Good idea! Melissa Kimiadi did write "From the Diary of our first foreign correspondent: How sympathetic objectivity helped me in Indonesia."

    http://www.nycreligion.info/?p=9662

    One of our interns wrote his thesis on A Journey and I believe included "sympathetic objectivity" as part of the discussion.

    We hear you that you want a fuller picture and examples of its use. Good suggestions that we should follow up. Thanks!

  • Great pieces on media reporting. Wish I cold take your workshops.

  • Very great. I simply stumbled upon your website.

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