Summer 2018

Faith and Community Organizing: Prophets, Power, and Social Transformation I (June 4 – 8), I/II (June 4 – 15) (Berkeley, CA)

Erika Katske

Erika Katske

Now more than ever, we need creative, determined and spiritually- and morally-rooted organizers to aid in the work of building strong, resilient and responsive communities. These uncertain times demand a new generation of community leaders – religious and not – who are morally grounded, relationship focused, and skillful at building and using community power. From these strong foundations, individuals become more able to carry out the work of social movements – the large waves of change that mark this time as a moment for resistance. In this class, we will examine and try out several different models of organizing, explore our own personal paths to and styles of leadership, look at the unique and urgent work facing today’s prophetic leaders, and uncover ways to build and re-build community life (based in spiritual teaching and practice) that lead to needed social change. Throughout this class, we will delve into some traditional as well as some new ways of thinking about community organizing in and outside of faith contexts.

We will also take a look at the difference between community organizing and social movements, and understand how congregations and other community institutions can be anchors in helping individuals make meaning in the rapidly-changing, politically-charged moment in which we live. Each interactive session will combine discussion of organizing theory and impact with practical skill-building. Students will be challenged to read, reflect, write, and put teachings into action in mini-organizing campaigns. This course is designed for students, former students, and community partners who are serious about integrating social justice into their leadership, who want to learn how to use organizing as a congregational or community development tool, and/or who want to better understand the role that faith communities can (and need to) play in movements for social change.

Using and examining several different models of organizing, this course will allow participants to examine their own paths to – and styles of – leadership. It will also analyze the unique and demanding task facing today’s prophetic leaders, presenting ways we can rebuild community life that leads to both needed social change and restored democracy. The course will include both theory and practical skill-building and will be helpful to those who seek to build relational and communal power in either congregations or community organizations.

A range of justice issues will also be explored, including safeguarding immigrants, sustaining LGBT legal protections, maintaining funding for social services and defending the environment. Together, we will approach issues that impact us and our communities, using both traditional and new ways of thinking about building and using power to create the just world we envision.

About the Instructor

Erika Katske has been organizing for 20 years in faith, labor, LGBT, and public school communities around social justice issues that impact urban families: racial inequity, healthcare, education, violence, immigration, affordable housing and access to economic opportunity. She was trained in community organizing by both the Midwest Academy and the PICO National Network and worked for more than a decade organizing congregations throughout the Bay Area and across the country using the Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) model. As an observant Jew, Erika spends much of her organizing time adapting CBCO and other organizing models for use in synagogues, massajid, and other non-Christian communities. After taking a year to live and work in Santiago de Chile recently, she returned to the states as a PSR Changemaker Fellow in 2015. Erika has a BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Smith College and will complete the Masters of Arts in Spirituality and Social Transformation at PSR in May 2017. Her current research and writing is located at the intersection of theology and economics and focuses specifically on reclaiming and re-envisioning the story of the Tower of Babel.


Session I & II

Date: June 4-8 (Session I), June 4-15 (Sessions I/II), 2018, M-F
Time: 9 AM – 1 PM
Location: Pacific School of Religion’s campus, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
Instructor: Katske

Credits: 1.5 credits, 2 CEUs (Session I ONLY); 3 credits, 4 CEUs (BOTH Sessions I & II)
Meets requirements for:  M.Div (elective); MAST; CSSC

How to Register

Registration for Summer Session opens May 7 at noon. Current students may register here; alumni/ae may register by emailing Lyndsey Reed at