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Tonight: Theologian on leadership for social change speaks in Koloa

KOLOA — The Rev. David Vásquez-Levy, a progressive religious leader who consulted Barack Obama’s White House, will discuss “Wisdom-Based Leadership” at 7 p.m. today at the Koloa Union Church on Po‘ipu Road.

Pandemic, protest and polarization have embroiled communities in recent years, according to Vásquez-Levy, the president of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.

“All this creates a lot of demands on leaders,” he said.

Wisdom-based leadership is his organization’s alternative approach to white, male-dominated Western traditions.

“They make decisions and they’re the leader that runs out into the field and fights the battle, right?” Vásquez-Levy asked. “Well, that kind of leadership model just doesn’t work. It’s certainly not reflective of many cultures that are much more collaborative, including the traditions of cultures in Hawai‘i and in other places.”

Tonight, the pastor will focus on the lessons his group has learned from leaders in communities of color throughout the world.

Vásquez-Levy will also provide information about a new certificate program offered on Kaua‘i, called “Theological Education for Leadership,” that features a curriculum specifically designed for Hawai‘i students.

The course provides support and formal training for both leaders of established and emerging congregations.

Many new congregations are forming among growing immigrant communities throughout the islands, according to Vásquez-Levy.

“Oftentimes, their leaders are coming from their countries of origin, so this is an opportunity for them to develop their leadership in Hawai‘i, and to learn together about the new contexts where they’re trying to lead,” he said.

Tonight’s presentation, in full “Wisdom-Based Leadership: Preparing a New Generation of Spiritually-Rooted Leaders to Create a World Where All Can Thrive,” is intended for anyone with an interest in leadership for social change.

Vásquez-Levy looks forward to entering a dialogue with attendees.

“It’s not necessarily intended to be a conversation only among people who share a narrow understanding of Christianity or religion,” he said. “…I want to share my own thoughts about it, but also engage in conversation and be really eager to hear folks participate from leadership in any realm.”

The presentation will take place in the sanctuary of Koloa Union Church at 3289 Po‘ipu Road in Koloa.

An overflow room with a widescreen television monitor will be available in the fellowship hall if the sanctuary reaches its reduced pandemic seating capacity, or attendees prefer to sit in an area where there is extra space.

Church officials request attendees to see the church’s website before arrival for pandemic guidelines, koloaunionchurch.org/.

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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