In 2004, thirty-five (ecumenical and interfaith) leaders in Minnesota agreed on the following statement: "As a people of faith, with varying theologies and traditions, we are convinced of a remarkable convergence on fundamental principles that call us to common work in combating poverty and walking with people living in poverty." These leaders of the various faith communities then signed the document:
A COMMON FOUNDATION: SHARED PRINCIPLES FOR WORK ON OVERCOMING POVERTY
We believe it is the Creator's intent that all people are provided those things that protect human dignity and make for healthy life: adequate food and shelter, meaningful work, safe communities, healthcare, and education.
We believe we are intended to live well together as a whole community, seeking the common good, avoiding wide disparities between those who have too little to live on and those who have a disproportionate share of the world's goods.
We believe we are all called to work to overcome poverty, and that this work transcends both any particular political theory or party and any particular economic theory or structure. We believe that overcoming poverty requires the use of private and public resources.
We believe we are called to make alliances within the faith community and with others in society who share the commitment to overcome poverty.
We believe that overcoming poverty involves both acts of direct service to alleviate the outcomes of poverty and advocacy to change those structures that result in people living in poverty.
We believe government is neither solely responsible for alleviating poverty, nor removed from this responsibility. We believe government is the vehicle by which people order their lives based on their shared vision. We believe society is well served when people of faith bring their values into the public arena. It is this remarkable convergence around issues of poverty and the common good that leads people of varying faith traditions to unite in calling on government to make a critical commitment to overcoming poverty.
We believe the desire to overcome poverty is not simply a human idea, but is the desire of our Creator, and that the work to create a more just and whole society will be empowered by the Creator's presence.
Signers of the Common Foundation:
Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod, Evangelical LutheranChurch in America
Bishop Victor H. Balke, Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston
The Rev. Ian D. Bethel, Sr., Minnesota Baptist Conference, National Baptist Conference, Inc.
The Rev. Connie Burkholder, Northern Plains District, Church of the Brethren
Auxiliary Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
The Rev. Peg Chamberlin, Minnesota Council of Churches
The Rev. Larry Christianson, Western District of the Moravian Church
The Rev. Sally Dyck, Minnesota Annual Conference, United Methodist Church
The Rev. Diane Ehr, Mid-American Baptists
Lawrence D. Gibson, Religious Legislative Coalition
Dr. Hamdy El-Sawaf, Islamic Center of Minnesota
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Dr. Richard Guentert, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of the Upper Midwest
Bishop Bernard J. Harrington, Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona, Minnesota
Bishop John Hopkins, Minnesota Annual Conference, United Methodist Church, Minnesota Council of Churches
Bishop James Jelinek, Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, Episcopal Church USA
Bishop Craig Johnson, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Sharon Johnson, Presbytery of Northern Waters, Presbyterian Church USA
Bishop John F. Kinney, Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota
The Rev. Judith Kolwicz, Presbytery of the Twin Cities, Presbyterian Church USA
The Rev. David MacMahill, Minnesota Conference, United Church of Christ
Bishop John C. Nienstedt, Roman Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota
Auxiliary Bishop Richard E. Pates, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
The Rev. Mark Peters, Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota
The Rev. Wayne Purintun, Presbytery of MinnesotaValleys, Presbyterian Church USA
Bishop Peter Rogness, Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Mr. Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Community Action
Dr. Shashikant M. Sane, Hindu Mandir
Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr, Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota
Mr. Stephen Silberfarb, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
The Rev. Grant Stevenson, ISAIAH
Bishop Peter Strommen, Northeastern Minnesota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Charles Traylor, Presbytery of Northern Plains, Presbyterian Church USA
Bishop Harold Usgaard, Southeastern Minnesota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Tamela K. Walhof, Bread for the World, Upper Midwest Office
Bishop Rolf Wangberg, Northwestern Minnesota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America