The History and Future of the Christian-Labour Alliance
Thursday, January 27th, 2022, 6:30-8:00 pm
Online via Zoom
WAHC is pleased to host a two-part discussion series on the historical and contemporary intersections between the American labour movement and Christianity featuring Dr. Rob Jones of McMaster University and the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. For the first discussion in this series, Rob will be joined by the Rev. Francisco Garcia. Francisco is a PhD candidate in Theological Studies, Ethics and Action in the Graduate Department of Religion, and Graduate Research Fellow at the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Christian leaders and organizations both helped and hindered the efforts of the American labour movement. Some Christian organizations which explicitly addressed social issues like poverty, child labour, racism, alcoholism, and access to education were part of the Social Gospel movement. The movement’s leading thinkers like Walter Rauschenbusch believed that improving people’s material and working conditions were important expressions of Christian faith. Rauschenbusch and other Social Gospel leaders advocated for labour reform, union recognition, and collective bargaining rights, and built durable alliances with organized labour.
Rob will explore the history of the early 20th-century labour movement in the United States and highlight how Christian leaders responded to both the rise of industrial Capitalism and labour militancy.
Themes of precarity, dignity, organized labour, social justice, and immigration will also be explored in a contemporary context by Francisco as he weaves together experiences from his time as a labour organizer in Southern California, his vocation as an Episcopalian priest, and the connections between religion and labour in the present day.
Attendees are invited to ask questions of Rob and Francisco during a 20-minute q & a session to close the discussion.
This event is free to the public will take place online via Zoom. Please click the button below to register for this event.
Rob Jones received a PhD in Religious Studies from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has taught as a sessional instructor at McMaster University and the University of Ottawa, and he has been an active member of CUPE Local 3906, the union representing academic workers at McMaster. He is a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada, and he is now serving as an assistant minister at Christ’s Church Cathedral in downtown Hamilton.
The Rev. Francisco Garcia is a PhD candidate in Theological Studies, Ethics and Action at Vanderbilt University in the Graduate Department of Religion, and a Graduate Research Fellow at the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He also serves part-time as an Assistant Chaplain at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel in Nashville. As an Episcopal priest, labour and community organizer, Francisco’s work over the last ten years has centred around congregation-based ministry and interfaith community organizing around immigrant rights, housing rights, and racial and economic justice issues in greater Los Angeles. His doctoral research project entails developing theologies and ecclesiologies rooted in the organizing, social movement, and liberative faith traditions, informed by his own Chicano/Latin@/x background, in order to better equip communities of faith to address the pressing justice issues of our time.