Photo by Sean Davis via Flickr Creative Commons

Region of Abundant Communities

By Community Alliance Staff

A Region of Abundant Communities Convention for the San Joaquin Valley will be held on Nov. 16. The convention will focus on rebuilding community connections and competence for healthy and sustainable communities throughout the Valley. The convention will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New Harvest Church (698 N. Minnewawa Ave.) in Clovis.

Questions such as the following will be addressed:

  • Is our community life increasingly disconnected and unable to fully provide quality-of-life results?
  • Are our communities over-reliant on assistance that we do not have the means to purchase?
  • Does a consumer-over-citizen worldview accelerate the failure of families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, businesses, institutions, cities, states and the very foundations of our American democracy?
  • Have we traded our responsibilities as citizens to become consumers believing that satisfaction in life can only be purchased in the marketplace?
  • Have our communities and relationships become so polarized that we can no longer appreciate each other and work together to achieve common goals and maintain shared quality-of-life opportunities?

According to Keith Bergthold, a local promoter of the event, “The primary outcome sought through the event is to bring together diverse groups with their own community-building goals from around the Valley that can be informed and furthered toward measurable implementation of their goals by learning new perspectives and tools from John McKnight and Peter Block, the authors of The Abundant Community.

The convention will include 70-80 delegations of 10 persons each from neighborhoods, congregations, organizations and associations throughout the Valley. The delegation format is designed to build shared group member relationships, knowledge and responsibilities for preparation and follow-up from the event.

Delegation leaders will be talking and meeting via phone and small groups before and after the event—as well as at the event with author/facilitators McKnight and Block in a special afternoon session—to develop relationships across delegations and create information sharing and the potential for ongoing mutual support and sustainability of a broader base of community-building efforts in the Valley.

By having McKnight and Block participate to facilitate conversations—and by using their book as a common guideline for values, language, understandings and successful strategies for building community competence—the event organizers feel there may be significant potential to spark and connect new and renewed community capacity and competence building across many diverse constituencies.

“That is just what we need in a highly polarized world with shrinking public and private resources,” says Bergthold, “but with hidden abundance within our communities that can be released with respectful and functional relationships.”

For delegation reservations, additional information or to become a sponsor, contact Eva Gutierrez of the Relational Culture Institute at 559-276-2304 ext. 3# or eva@relationalculture.org.

  • Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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