You might ask why an Episcopal church is helping social entrepreneurs. That is an easy question for us to answer.
In our church, we try to figure out the puzzles of life by looking at scripture, reason and tradition. When we look at the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus teaching us…
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
When we look at our society rationally, we conclude we can’t possibly meet the needs of all those around us. We don’t have the skills, infrastructure or resources to meet those needs. We also know that when we give a man a fish, we haven’t taken the time to show him how to fish. Our church family has concluded we do have the skills, infrastructure and resources to help Kansas City’s social entrepreneurs. It is the social entrepreneurs in our community that give people fish, and teach people to fish, and even build fishing pole factories! The experts in our midst have the skills to make a real and sustainable impact, and we have the ability to help those experts accomplish more.
When we look at our traditions, we know our denomination has made society better by working with private businesses. (Did you know Guinness beer owes it early success in the 1700s to the Anglican church? Guinness had become the healthy alternative to hard liquor and unsanitary drinking water!)
We also know that St. Andrew’s Church and its members have a history of nurturing social entrepreneurs. In the 60’s, our members were figuring out how to establish other churches as Kansas City grew to the south. In the early ’90s, an organization that would eventually become Global Birthing Home Foundation and its birthing center in Torbeck, Haiti started at St. Andrew’s. When many of our members go to work on a Monday morning, they are thinking about the “triple bottom line:” What is good for the owners, what is good for the employees, and what is good for our community.