Values in Action E-book now available


Zachary Cole is the Values in Action Fellow for Humanist Community at Harvard. The VIA Fellowship is partially funded by a grant from Foundation Beyond Belief. The purpose of this partnership is to develop humanist service and interfaith resources for Beyond Belief Network projects, promote humanist civic engagement nationally, and develop the VIA Fellowship into a national model for humanist service.

In addition to organizing events in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I have also looked to provide my best thoughts on interfaith community service organizing through posts on the FBB blog. Earlier this year, I provided my insights on effective strategies for locating, and reaching out to, local religious communities to partner with on service programs. I also discussed some easy ways to initiate interfaith conversations at these events.

Throughout the year, I have also been busy finalizing a larger resource, the Values in Action E-Book, for groups interested in this work. I am excited to finally announce its completion!

This resource draws on over 4 years of interfaith community service organizing experience from members of the HCH staff and local community volunteers who have served on the VIA Committee. It also look to experts in the field of interfaith dialogue, such as the Interfaith Youth Core and Secular Student Alliance, and community service organizing for the nonreligious, such as Foundation Beyond Belief. Here is how the Values in Action E-Book is organized:

PART ONE is comprised of VIA program reflections, which include a series of short reflective essays composed by volunteer members of the VIA committee. They provide insight into the motivation, planning, and execution of our community service and interfaith programs.

PART TWO includes interfaith theory and resources specifically targeted for nonreligious groups and individuals. This section establishes the benefits and challenges of engaging in interfaith service and dialogue and also includes specific resources and best practices for interfaith work.

PART THREE focuses on the resources and services provided by Foundation Beyond Belief and their Beyond Belief Network, a network of over 90 local free thought organizations putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and charitable fundraising.

The Values in Action E-Book is absolutely free, but anyone who goes to download the resource will have the option to donate to the permanent meal packing station at the Humanist Hub community center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Starting in April 2014, and continuing through December 2014, the Humanist Hub is hosting monthly Interfaith Meal Packing events, where the community will come together to pack 2,000 meals and work towards mutual understanding and tolerance. Each meal costs only 25 cents so please consider donating what you can.

Please enjoy the Values in Action E-Book and I hope it is helpful for all Beyond Belief Network groups looking to organize community service events. Good luck!