Kendall Clark Baker
My 45 years in pastoral settings all over the United States have given me the unique experiences and insights to address the topic of this book. Here are six examples that relate directly to the bookâ€™s theme:
1. Beginning in 1990 and throughout my 12 years as senior pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in San Bernardino, California, I developed the role of â€œorganizing pastorâ€ and led the church in a process through which it came to understand itself as an â€œorganizing congregation.â€
2. As founding leader of Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), a two-county wide organizing project affiliated with People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO National Network, formerly called Pacific Institute for Community Organization), I experienced firsthand the faith-based organizing model as an agent for change through unprecedented ecumenical and interfaith partnerships that came to be recognized as a political force to be reckoned with in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Coachella Valley.
3. In the PICO National Network, in regional and statewide and national arenas, I have trained clergy and organizers and theological students on the faith-based organizing model and have led in the development and implementation of a network-wide clergy strategy.
4. Since moving to Seattle in 2004, I have participated in Sound Alliance, an organizing project of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). I have shared with organizing staff in conducting local Leadership Institutes. As a member of Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ I led a listening campaign and coordinated the congregationâ€™s participation in the Sound Alliance Founding Assembly at which we presented our Agenda for the Common Good to Governor Christine Gregoire and state legislators.
5. My doctoral program at Princeton Theological Seminary focused on reflecting theologically on the practice of ministry. This equipped me to apply abstract concepts (e.g. kingdom of God) to practical political realities in church and community and to help clergy colleagues in applying organizing techniques to building their congregations.
6. In serving as pastor of six congregations of the United Church of Christ since being ordained in 1964, I have been committed consistently to ecumenical and interfaith activity aimed at working cooperatively to strengthen the larger community.