“Cooperate and No One Gets Hurt” Workshop Announcement

I’m presenting a 10-hour workshop for the Presbytery of San Francisco, which will be held at their new Education Center April 11 – May 9, Thursdays 7-9pm.

Titled “Cooperate and No One Gets Hurt,” the event will be an exploration of cooperative models and best practices, as well as the ways in which cooperatives like food co-ops and worker-owned enterprises connect with scripture and Christian teachings. We are seeking to share the resources of our many faith communities to change the lives of those in need. All are welcome!

The cooperative approach – people working together to create jobs, food access and other community resources –  can also help the financial prospects of churches that are in the all-too-common situation of having more building than their congregation can use or afford; for example the cooperative Maybeck High School has helped St. John’s Presbyterian in Berkeley to maintain a structure that was built when its congregation was ten times as large.

Between the workshops I will also facilitate an online book group discussion of a book I wrote a few years ago, “Holy Cooperation!: Building Graceful Economies.” The book provides a somewhat deeper look at the subject matter than will be possible in the workshop itself, and I hope that this will provide some cross-fertilization among the participants, who will be encouraged to form groups to continue discussion of specific projects discerned in the workshops. Updates and discussion can be found here.

The Education Center is at 545 Ashbury, El Cerrito CA  (across from El Cerrito High School, about 1/2 mile from El Cerrito Plaza BART station). The center is the former Northminster church, which at one point was going to be sold but is now an asset with a lot of potential, including classrooms and offices, a kitchen, some outdoor land for a small urban farm and a creek emerging on the property. It’s an exciting place and I’m excited to use it as the launch pad for a discussion of how the cooperative model might help church and community members alike.

There is an online registration form here. And if you are interested in this material but don’t live in the Bay Area, please drop me a line at coopgus (at) gmail (dot) com or keep visiting this blog for updates.

NOTE: the April 5-6 workshop originally planned was canceled due to low enrollment.

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