The Center for Faith and Service and FAITH3 honored L’Arche USA in their list of “Service Programs that Change the World.” According to Rev. Wayne Meisel, the Center’s Director of Faith and Service, L’Arche USA and the other 19 organizations listed have demonstrated a common commitment to invite, welcome, support, train, and launch individuals into the world as community leaders. Meisel states, “I know of no other collection of organizations doing more important work or having a greater impact for the hope in the world.”
Founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964, L’Arche communities bear witness to the reality that persons with intellectual disabilities possess inherent qualities of welcome, wonderment, spirituality, and friendship. L’Arche first came to the United States in 1972, and L’Arche USA now includes 18 member and 3 emerging communities across the country. L’Arche makes explicit the dignity of every human being by building inclusive communities of faith and friendship where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.
L’Arche USA is included on FAITH3’s website. This website helps interested individuals discover the organizations honored by the 2014 List of Service Programs that Change the World, learn about their service opportunities, and navigate the application process. FAITH3, stands for “Faith Active in the Head, Heart, Hand” and is based at The Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary.
Meisel, an ordained Presbyterian Minister, has a long and distinguished career in the world of community service, service learning and civic engagement. He was appointed to serve on the President’s Commission on National and Community Service, where he is credited for being one of the architects of the AmeriCorps Program. He also served on the founding board of Teach for America. On February 3, 2014 The Huffington Post featured Meisel’s article: “Where Faith Meets Justice: Jobs that will Change You and Your World.”
Service Programs that Change the World is part of a movement to reclaim the important historic role that faith communities have played in promoting community and justice while offering meaningful opportunities to engage in the world. The programs listed offer participants the opportunity to work with agencies and organizations on the front line of building community and fighting poverty. They are organizations that follow practices of community living, simplicity, social justice, and spiritual exploration.