October 17, 2012
As we -- both Interfaith Solidarity and the Occupy Movement at large -- journeyed through this past year, many things have changed. The community that makes up the Occupy Movement seems quite different now than it once was, and most of those who were part of the original Interfaith Guild of Chaplains have moved on to other stuff as their lives took them.
I have tried hard to "revive" the stagnant organization this summer but at this point with very little progress. Perhaps an idea to try many things at a same time was not a good idea.
Personally, I have come to reassess my involvement with the Occupy Movement in recent weeks as well. A big part of me is disillusioned by the way this movement has gone, even though I am still hopeful that the initial impetus that brought the Occupy Wall Street into existence can and will lead to something meaningful and significant.
Many work groups and affinity groups within the movement have also experienced, like ours, a decline in membership and activities. Simply trying to "revive" in a sense of taking the group back to a "good old day" probably won't work.
Until we build a larger membership base, and perhaps that means our future membership would be different from our original one, we probably need to downsize and focus on a few achievable goals -- as well as refocusing and refining our missions.
Although in August we have instituted a two-component structure of Interfaith Solidarity (Actions Team and Chaplains' Guild), this will be put on hold for the time being. Instead, I would like to build a singular Interfaith Solidarity core that does both actions and chaplaincy, until such a time when these two components can be separately organized.
I would also like to reiterate here that the new combined Interfaith Solidarity is for every person of spiritual convictions from all religious traditions. It is not necessary for you to be affiliated formally with any denomination or be ordained. All what I ask for are a passion for justice, a big caring heart, listening ears, an open mind ready to learn, and commitment to the spiritual truth as you understand it.
On our agenda, right now we are focusing on the Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2 and Occupy the Winter Holidays PDX (formerly Occupy Christmas PDX) in Portland. Additionally, we are working on Occupy Worship, a new community-driven web portal and blog not just for Interfaith Solidarity here in Portland but also inviting all Protest Chaplains groups around the world to join.
We are having our next organizing meeting for Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2 on this Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. I hope to see many of you there.