Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VIA Gubernatorial Forum

I want to give a big shout out (ha!) to my friend Debbie Ingram with the Vermont Interfaith Action. VIA has managed to get all three major contenders for this year's gubernatorial race to participate in a forum on VIA's core issues of affordable housing, access to health care, and opportunities for youth.

That's right, Debbie Ingram . . . the Rick Warren of Vermont.

The forum will take place at the October 27 at 7pm at the College Street Congregational Church in Burlington. Gov. Jim Douglas, Anthony Pollina, and Rep. Gaye Symington will all participate.

I'm impressed with what VIA is doing. They have managed to bring together a theologically diverse group of faith communities - including a Jewish synagogue, a Unitarian congregation, and a couple of Catholic churches - to work on solving some shared problems.

The faith community has a vocational mandate to speak to the major issues of our time. In this increasingly secular age our voice is being drowned out. But VIA is showing us that if people of faith speak with one voice then they will be heard over the din.

A good example - Affordable Housing. As part of an agreement with the City of Burlington, a local development was mandated to provide a minimum number of affordable homes. But apparently the practice of some developers is to simply skip out on that mandate and pay the corresponding fine.

VIA blew the whistle on that practice, saying, "That may be technically legal but, hay, don't be a ninny." Or something like that anyway.

Congratulations VIA. Keep up the good work.

This post amended from the original post. Thanks Morgan.