2011 Compassion for the Poor Symposium
, which spanned October 11th and 12th,
featured leading activists, scholars, advisors, and executives who have
dedicated their lives to solving the complicated issues surrounding poverty. For
thirty hours, students, staff, faculty, and friends of CCU listened to these
illustrious men and women who challenged all to think and act in new ways.
Robert Woodson, president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise,
offered methods to empower the poor through entrepreneurship -- by providing
hope and then providing help. He shared stories of transformation for
disadvantaged people, living in both urban and rural areas, and rallied
listeners to invest, beyond handouts, in the lives of the disadvantaged.
Woodson was followed by stories from Andrew Romanoff and Mercy Ships.
Romanoff works for IDE (International Development Enterprises), which provides
technology to rural farmers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, allowing them to
irrigate crops and access clean drinking water. Mercy Ships travels throughout
Western Africa offering men and women basic healthcare -- cataract surgery,
tumor and cleft palette reconstruction, obstetric care, dental procedures, and
orthopedic surgeries -- all aboard a state-of-the-art medical ship.
From here, groups broke off into workshops, learning firsthand from
visionaries whose work ranged from Cambodia to a few miles away in Lakewood.
These workshops, beyond the telling of transformative stories, suggested ways to
get involved in these dynamic efforts.
In the evening, the community
watched the important movie Waiting for Superman -- a look at the problems
intrinsic to America's urban schools. It was a moving time, and one that
encouraged a response to the injustice here at home.
October 12th saw Lawrence Reed and Paul Cleveland speak on the need for liberty
in solving the problem of poverty. Reed appealed to the example of 19th century
presidents in responding to this crisis, while Cleveland stressed areas where
government has overstepped its role, thereby causing a loss of dignity and
greater harm. Both men vocalized the need for character growth and spiritual
awakening: change begins in individual hearts.
concluded the Symposium by calling the community to action. He delineated ten
steps which he would take as a result of this time -- beginning with prayer.
This led the way for Joe Walters to lead the gathering in communion. It was a
fitting way to end the 2011 Symposium, with an affectionate remembrance of He
who rescued us all.