Community Engagement2021-09-23T15:10:26-04:00

Community Engagement

Partners is dedicated to empowering congregations to faithfully steward their sacred places as both congregational and community assets. Partners works with congregations to identify new stakeholders and develop strategies for connecting the congregation’s resources with the gifts and talents of their members and neighbors; identify key local assets – physical, individual, associational, institutional; and seek to connect these assets in new ways.

Leverage your Sacred Place’s Abundant Assets

Since its founding, Partners for Sacred Places has worked with congregations to embrace the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model. ABCD is a challenge to the traditional approach to rebuilding communities. It provides a new framework for thinking about neighborhoods and new strategies for mobilizing congregations in a positive way.

While traditional community development tends to focus on neighborhood deficiencies, Asset-Based Community Development focuses on the gifts and talents of individuals and the capacity of neighbors and neighborhoods to be producers of change – to change communities from within. ABCD allows congregations to cultivate connections within the community, mobilize the capacities of local individuals, associations, and institutions and empower community residents to become leaders.


Asset-Mapping is an effective and powerful tool used to identify a congregation’s strengths and determine programming and fundraising strategies based on those strengths.

By exploring possibilities for activating overlooked spaces, talents, and relationships as new resources for ministry, Asset-Mapping events spark valuable new ideas, initiatives, and community partnerships. Newly articulated strengths and resources catalyze a network of supporters, strengthening the case for support and unlocking new sources of community funding.

In the Asset-Mapping process, a congregation’s leaders, both lay and ordained, come together alongside stakeholders and leaders from the wider community to participate in an exciting process, facilitated by Partners, that uncovers the full range of a church or synagogue’s assets. Partners offers both congregational asset-mapping to develop leadership and capacity, and community asset-mapping to strengthen external partnerships.

Design Charrette

Partners plays an important role in connecting faith communities with preservation specialists and designers committed to the flourishing of sacred places. For congregations interested in transforming their spaces for new uses and open to modifying their buildings, Partners offers a Design Charrette component to the Asset-Mapping service.

A design charrette event brings the creativity and skills of professional architects (typically pro bono) to bear on the challenges faced by churches and synagogues who want to adapt their sacred spaces for new uses while maintaining the building’s unique character. In a charrette event, groups of designers receive input from congregational and community leaders about their vision and hopes for the building. Building on the output of asset-mapping, the architects embark on an intensive process to develop a range of design suggestions. The experience generates a range of plans and elevation drawings to help the congregation visualize how its property can function in new ways by linking spaces more effectively and bring new programs to underused space.

Webinar: Stewardship Triage & Recovery: Strengthening giving during and after a crisis

In the first few weeks of social distancing, faith communities across the country are struggling to meet their budgeted annual giving goals. Join Partners for Sacred Places for a discussion of how the basics of healthy stewardship can be applied to the congregations’ current realities, and how cler [...]

The CEEP Network Webinar: Managing Empty Buildings in the Era of COVID-19

Church properties are one of the most important assets that parishes have to host and support ministry and service. To keep staff, members, and the public safe, many parishes have had to partially or fully close their buildings for regular use, including those programs and ministries that serve the [...]

A Tale of Two Churches: Lancaster Churches Address Spiritual, Social, and Environmental Needs

By John Hershey, RGS Associates and Ruth Ayn Hocker, Manager, Bureaus of Stormwater and Wastewater Collections, City of Lancaster Two historic churches in Lancaster, Pennsylvania demonstrate how a sacred place can be maximized as a civic asset that advances the vitality and environmental health of [...]