White House Director of Faith-Based Partnerships Visits Trinity
Where does hope reside? Is it possible that it lives in the halls of this country’s government as it does in America’s faith-based organizations?
For Joshua DuBois, the 27-year-old pastor who serves as the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the answer is yes, and he says that his office is the place where those two entities intersect in order to better serve communities across the country.
“Faith-based organizations are incubators of hope,” DuBois said, while addressing pastors, community leaders, students, faculty, and staff at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, on April 22. “I have also seen this hope in President Barack Obama’s administration. I see it every day as I work with people who want to make this country a better place.”
An associate pastor at the age of 18, DuBois rose to become the director of Religious Affairs during Obama’s presidential bid, and the President has now charged DuBois with leading the Office’s 25-member council, composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds.
The April 22 event was sponsored by the Church Connection Initiative at Trinity, a partnership of Trinity Christian College in cooperation with Calvin Theological Seminary, the Center for Excellence in Preaching, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship with funding provided by the Lilly Endowment.
“We were happy to welcome Mr. DuBois and many local pastors and community leaders as we participated together in enriching our knowledge and raising our awareness of our government’s plans to partner with faith-based organizations in our communities,” said Dr. Steve Timmermans, president of Trinity.
The Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
The Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was established by Obama to work on behalf of Americans who are committed to improving their communities regardless of religious or political views. Formerly known as the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under the Bush administration, the original initiative sought to strengthen faith-based and community organizations and expand their capacity to provide federally-funded social services.
“While the original office helped to ‘level the playing field,’ our job is to get on the field,” said DuBois, explaining that Obama has “reshaped” the office and has established specific goals to address the question, “What next?”
As before, faith-based organizations that accept government funding operate under certain restrictions created by the White House to protect separation of church and state, such as not using direct government funds to support inherently religious activities.
How can organizations become involved?
DuBois urges organizations to let him know “what works.”
“We want to know about effective programs—models that we can communicate more broadly across the country,” he said, explaining that communicating that will occur through the use of new media and the Web in order to enable organizations to interact with the White House and with each other.
A Web site is being developed to aid in nurturing these long-distance relationships between organizations and the White House and should be operational in the next several weeks.
More about DuBois
Joshua DuBois was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Boston University (2003) and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School.
After DuBois’ application to join Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign was rejected, he drove to Obama’s office to request an interview and was hired as a Senatorial aide working on faith-based outreach. He later became national director of Religious Affairs during the presidential campaign and helped engineer Obama’s participation in Pastor Rick Warren's Presidential Forum.
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