How to Start a ShalomZone Near You
Generally, the process takes a year and begins with an Information Meeting conducted by a representative of Communities of Shalom. This session provides an overview of the four-five months for seven all-day sessions (standard format) ShalomZone Training® program, and in-depth answers to specific questions about the Shalom approach to asset-based community development. A short PPT presentation is available when a representative cannot be sent. To request an Information Meeting, contact the National Shalom Resource Center at Drew University. email@example.com
Interested parties build Shalom Teams consisting of congregational members, community residents, agency representatives, coalition members, partner organizations, and community leaders (about 8-15 people representing the diversity of a particular community).
When there are at least three prospective sites in a given geographical area (a city, district, annual conference or region), applications can be submitted to the National Resource Center.
Once these three Shalom sites are endorsed by a judicatory, an Initial Consultation can be scheduled with the three potential Shalom teams.
During the Initial Consultation, if there is sufficient commitment to the process of becoming a ShalomZone, the five training days can be scheduled (usually over a five month period, totaling 30 contact hours).
Prior to and during the ShalomZone Training program, the following points will be accomplished:
1. Identify a potential ‘zone’ of Shalom in your community based on geographical or demographic boundaries. A ‘zone’ can be four square blocks in an urban neighborhood or one long country road. It can be defined by a zip code, census track, village or section of a town. The important thing is that it can be located on a map so that assets of the community can be identified and aligned.
2. Use your ‘prophetic imagination’ to envision your chosen site as a ‘beloved community’, a ‘bright city on a hill, a zone of shalom, or a preferred state of community life. Describe its ideal qualities in one paragraph.
3. Engage others in prophetic imagination. Ask them three questions:
- What is your vision of Shalom (community health, healing, harmony, wholeness, prosperity and peace) in the community where you live?
- What blocks this from happening?
- What steps can be taken together, across many social and cultural divides, to realize the vision?
4. Recruit a Team based on shared interests in the six threads of Communities of Shalom (see Shalom Acrostic). Involve members from at least two or three churches and other faith communities in your area. At least one should be a United Methodist Church (that can seek endorsement from their Annual Conference and be eligible to receive seed funding from their General Board of Global Ministries). Also involve local community leaders and representatives of a few agencies to round out the team. A Shalom Team should consist of 8-25 people and include as many people from the community as possible, including youth. It should reflect the diversity of the area in which it will work.
5. Take a tour of the Communities of Shalom website and invite others to do the same
6. Apply for ShalomZone Training® from the National Resource Center at Drew University. Once there are at least three committed Shalom Teams in place in a region, an initial consultation can be schedule and a five month training program provided.
7. The specific issues a Shalom team will focus on will depend on the specific neighborhood needs and resources. A Community of Shalom may focus on creating affordable housing, reducing gang violence, providing job training, or planting a community garden, etc. Each team will work out their areas of focus as part of their training. Once a Shalom Plan is created and approved, your new ShalomZone is part of the international network.
For further information, contact the National Shalom Resource Center: firstname.lastname@example.org 973-408-3848