What is VIP?

Paradise Valley United Methodist Church has been an active member of Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) for many years, and you may see those of us who are involved circulate sign-up sheets for information sessions on the patio between services. But what IS Valley Interfaith Project?

VIP is one of approximately 65 sister organizations nationally under the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) umbrella, which seeks to create equality, economic opportunity, and healthy, safe communities. Our human development agenda includes quality public education, health care, respite care, immigrant integration & policy reform, sex trafficking, workforce training (Arizona Career Pathways: ACP), prison reform and reinvestment, neighborhood safety and respect for refugee resettlement. VIP has also been effective in bringing the faith community together to create positive change.

We begin by identifying an issue in the community/city/county/state. Then comes research. VIP’s first priority is finding the truth: getting the facts and figures from reliable sources, ie, economists from ASU. From there we will present “civic academies” in different parts of the city where this information is shared with local communities and where questions may be answered. We also seek governmental assistance and cooperation. Just recently, Governor Ducey approved VIP’s grant application for $1 million to advance ACP’s ability to extend workforce training.

Second priority: seeking justice. This involves meeting with our elected officials, the business community, and other organizations with which we can partner to further our goals. During election season, VIP holds “accountability sessions” with political candidates. We ask them specific questions regarding our agendas with the goal of having them support the issues for which we advocate. We are political – but NON-Partisan, advocating for our agenda regardless of political ideology. We never endorse candidates; we want them to endorse our positions on human development. VIP’s motto is “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies”.

PVUMC’s core group for VIP is the Church and Society Ministry Team which meets the second Monday of the month at 6 pm in H9. Its meetings are open to all.

Our mission statement is “to equip the PVUMC family to be a faithful influence for social justice through education and advocacy.” We connect directly to the General Board of Church and Society of the UMC which has recently been concerned with expanding the church’s work beyond charity – which United Methodist churches do very well and extensively – to advocacy and solidarity. We at PVUMC are already on the right path through the Valley Interfaith Project where our goal is to serve communities and, ultimately, transform lives.

Recently, we began working more closely with The Open Table, a ministry which began here at PVUMC and has branched out into “Community Convening.” You are invited to join us in Church and Society’s ministries where you will find interesting and meaningful efforts and relationships as we seek to be God’s love in action.

Pam Poley, Chair
Church and Society Ministry Team

To read more about VIP, visit their website at http://valleyinterfaithprojectaz.com/
and/or attend one of the upcoming events this spring.

Upcoming VIP Events in April and May 2019:

  • Leaders Meeting on Thursday, April 4, 6:30 pm at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 5524 E. Lafayette Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85018
  • The Justice Reform Team meets on Monday, April 8, 6:30 pm at Shepherd of the Hills, in the Parish House on the east side of the parking lot. 5524 E Lafayette Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85018. Learn how to plan a civic academy at your institution, get a legislative update and receive action group reports.
  • All are welcome to attend the Water Civic Academy presented by the Casa’s VIP Core Team Thursday, April 11, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at The Franciscan Renewal Center, Garces Room in Piper Hall, 5802 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, AZ. Work with others to find solutions for longterm water issues.
  • Legislative Day on Tuesday, April 23, 9 am-12 noon at the Arizona State Capitol. Join Arizona Interfaith Network leaders as we meet with Legislators and weigh in on the issues that will impact our community.
  • The VIP Spring Delegates Assembly on Thursday, May 2, 6:30 pm. Plan on attending with your core team and other members of your institution.
  • 2-day Leadership Training in Spanish on May 3 and 4. Friday, May 3, 6 pm-9 pm and Saturday, May 4, 9 am-6 pm. At 2728 East Thomas Road, Suite 108, Phoenix, AZ 85016.

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