Who We Are
Faith Network of the East Bay is an Oakland non-profit organization founded in 2001. Our focus is to build healthy families, schools and neighborhoods by rallying community support for under-resourced urban public schools.
Faith Network’s mission is to give hope to at-promise students in East Bay schools by surrounding them with a caring community, igniting their innate potential, and helping them to develop academic and life skills crucial to their growth and fulfillment. The goal is to prepare today’s youth for a life of serving others and contributing positively to their communities.
How is Faith Network closing the achievement gap in our urban public schools?
You can make a difference in our urban public schools
“As people of faith we are called by God to pray and work for the SHALOM of the city –its health, welfare and prosperity”
– Jeremiah 29:7
At the center of shalom is a whole and harmonious relationship with God and with our neighbors. We picture a city where… every child feels loved and safe…every child has reliable adults who model positive values…every child can develop as a whole person –body, mind and spirit.
We Value the City
We value not only the persons of a city but the city itself, a place of refuge and grace for many. Structures that are efficient and just are gifts of common grace for all. We see that healthy persons develop from healthy families, and healthy families from healthy communities, where people are nurtured and cared for. The Hebrew Scriptures call God’s people to “Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its shalom, you will find your shalom” (Jeremiah 29:7). Faith Network of the East Bay is committed to a theology that is both creative and redemptive, for persons as well as places, and so we seek the spiritual renewal of persons and the social renewal of places.
We Value the Vulnerable
We care about the successful and the powerful in our cities, but in the Bible we also notice God’s unrelenting concern for those who are poor, orphaned, widowed, migrant, sick, in prison, alien, homeless or otherwise victimized. Cities have become the catch basin of those at-risk. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these…you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Faith Network of the East Bay commits itself to the leadership of the city, but always in partnership with the vulnerable.
We Value Empowerment
The biblical Gospel does not patronize but frees and empowers. Persons are not only delivered from bondage to sin and guilt, but processes are stimulated that lead to freedom from oppressive and unjust public or private structures. We resist attempts to reduce the Gospel’s significance to only personal piety or programs that keep people powerless or dependent. Jesus Christ taught and modeled the values of the Kingdom of God, in which true greatness is defined as humble servanthood. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because…he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and…to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Faith Network of the East Bay is called to empower and partner with the vulnerable.
We Value Reconciliation
The Bible clearly and repeatedly affirms that God’s people are called to be peacemakers and bridgebuilders: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9); “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry reconciliation…So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view” (2 Corinthians 5:18,16). Faith Network of the East Bay is committed to collaboration in ministry. We believe it takes the Whole Church to express the Whole Gospel to the Whole City. The Cross of Christ transcends race, gender, class and denominations. And so we will engage people of faith to work with people of like values for the common good of the city.
We Value Risk
The exploding impact of the phenomenon of urbanization will require creative vision and bold initiative from individuals, churches and other institutions if renewal of persons and cities is to take place. This will take courage and an innovative spirit, as we seek the priority of the Kingdom of God over the status quo.
We Value Leadership
We take leadership in urban life seriously. As the best equipped and brightest seem to exit the city neighborhoods and schools, the needs grow larger. Faith Network of the East Bay is committed to raising up a generation of leaders called and equipped to embrace the city –transformational leadership characterized by cultural sensitivity, flexibility, faithfulness and integrity.
We Value Prayer
Prayer is our most important ministry. Our simple, expectant, persistent, corporate expressions of dependence on God precede and follow our acts of service. Dallas Willard writes, “How misguided are those who regard prayer as irrelevant to social conditions! …Nothing is more relevant to social conditions than the transformation of persons that comes from prayer.” Just as faith without works is dead, so action without prayer is presumption. Any true work of God must be seasoned by grace through prayer. Faith Network of the East Bay will seek, therefore, to mobilize the faith community both to pray and to work for the shalom of city (Jeremiah 29:7).
“The training and experience of the Faith Network team is very important to success. Their ongoing evaluation of the students, and suggestions for dealing with particular student needs, greatly enhance the ability of the tutor to stimulate progress by the student.”
– Robert C. Field, Tutor