While the religious leaders of the Detroit Clergy Gathering focus on addressing some of the most complex issues in Southeast Michigan
and the Metropolitan Community of Congregations focuses on stimulating opportunity in the suburban area of Detroit, both organizing projects
have decided to merge together, collaborating to create Detroit Regional Interstate Voice for Equity or DRIVE.
The collaboration between DCG and the Metropolitan Community of Congregations will create a stronger, more cohesive organization, which
many observers are watching to burst out of the gate in 2016 when it emerges onto the local philosophical and social stage.
“We believe that as people of faith the primary impetus for our action is living out our faith,” explains Rev. Kevin Turman, pastor of the historic
Second Baptist Church in downtown Detroit, and a Detroit Clergy Gathering founding member. “We’ve decided that since the Detroit Clergy Gathering
and the Metropolitan Coalition of Congregations are both organizing projects sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Center, the leadership of both organizations
felt that it was a good time for us to begin working together, talking together, and meeting together,” Turman continued. “So at the close of 2015 we ended the
Detroit Clergy Gathering and the Metropolitan Coalition of Congregations, to create DRIVE.”
DRIVE will increase the collaborative’s presence as a broad and diverse coalition of congregations and allies, that in the spirit of unity and consensus will effect
policies and practices to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Detroit community. “We believe that’s going to help broaden the impact of the organization.
Very often politicians — and for that matter, the economics of corporate interest — often pit city against the surrounding communities, and we think we need to
organize both of them, and beyond the city of Detroit,” Turman said. “We’ve had a series of trainings for members of the congregation, to understand community
organizing, relationship building, how we go about surfacing people’s personal interests and how the personal or private interests of a lot of different people can
coalesce around specific issues.”
Rev. Barbara Kelley, former senior pastor of the People’s Community Church and a founding member of DCG, says the organization’s list of quality of life issues
facing residents of the region is expansive, but achievable. “My hope is that what DRIVE is going to be doing is encouraging and organizing in our congregations
and in our communities and allows us to start talking about education, safety and security. The quality of life improves for the average Detroiter instead of us feeling
like we’re bystanders as the quality of life improves,” Turman said. DRIVE will host an event on the last Sunday of January to launch this important faith-based
organizing initiative, as they introduce the organization and the mission to the Detroit and the Southeast Michigan community.