Community Flourishing Events & Info

Community Flourishing Summary
View the Community Flourishing Project Summary Report here

2023 Events
What Every Church Needs to Know About Poverty
Wednesday, February 15; 9:00 - 11:00am 
Empowering Word Christian Center, 4010 East State Street
Register here:

Join us for What Every Church Needs to Know About Poverty and learn the best ways to help those who come to your church seeking assistance. When someone walks into your church asking for help, we know the heart of the church is to always want to help that person. Our presentation will be interactive and will help churches learn and understand the following:
Resources Available in the Community to Alleviate Poverty
Gaps in Community Care
Different Mindsets of Poverty, Middle Class and Wealth
How to Determine Who to Help and to What Extent
Ways to Become Engaged in our Bridges Out of Poverty Project

Collaborative Network Discussion/North West Rockford 
Tuesday, March 7,  9:00 - 11:00am 
Third Presbyterian Church, 1221 Custer Avenue 
Register here:

As part of our Community Flourishing project, we are launching Collaborative Networks in 2023.  Our Collaborative Networks will allow our faith community to come together with community leaders to discuss a variety of issues affecting our community, focusing within four specific 
quadrants.  When we know the issues in our community, and how local resources are addressing them, we can be more strategic in a united approach.  This network will connect local churches in outreach and mobilize them to discover how the church can be an extension of local nonprofits and other community efforts.  The meetings will be hosted quarterly. This first meeting will focus on the North West quadrant of our city, a map of the area can be found here.  All churches are invited to be a part of this conversation, regardless if your church is in this specific area.  

2022 Events
Community Flourishing Vision 2023 Event 
One Body Collaboratives hosted a Community Flourishing Vision 2023 meeting on September 14th at Empowering Word Christian Center.  More than 30 faith leaders and community members attended the meeting. 

Board President Bryan Wynn welcomed the group and described the purpose of the Community Flourishing initiative, stating “The purpose of the Community Flourishing initiative is three-fold.  First it demonstrates the Kingdom impact that can be made by our entire faith community working together on some of the most difficult challenges in our community.  Second, it provides an opportunity for faith leaders across denominational lines to come together and learn from one another, fostering fellowship and ultimately unity as One Body. And third, it creates a flourishing community as this work impacts our community in a meaningful way.”  

Executive Director of One Body Collaboratives, Mary Cacioppi provided a presentation on how the organization formed, the work that has been achieved and the vision for 2023.  The presentation is available to view here:

Pastor Steve Bowie, Third Presbyterian, serves on the One Body Collaboratives Pastor Advisory Network, and stated,In ancient Greece when the community, the polis, needed to address an issue of common importance, a group was called-out from among the populace to do so. This called out group was an ecclesia - a gathering with a common purpose.  The word ecclesia became associated with the Jesus movement to designate those who had been called-out from culture, called-out from wrongdoing, called-out to pursue a Kingdom, a realm if you will, created and recreated for the redemption of all things.  We are ecclesiastical.  We need to show up for one another. We need to show for all of God’s people, that’s everyone, in Stateline Illinois, Rockford, your neighborhood, my neighborhood. May this work continue to flourish so that God willing, our polis may flourish as well.”    

 Pastors Alvin & LaToya White, Empowering Word Christian Center provided closing remarks inviting senior pastors to prayerfully consider joining the Pastor Advisory Network, which serves as the advisory board for this initiative. They also asked the group to continue to pray for this effort as we work together to help our community flourish. In closing they asked that local Churches consider becoming a Member Partner and support the work of One Body Collaboratives.  Pastor Alvin stated, “We know that mission requires margin. In order for this Kingdom work to be accomplished we must build a solid foundation of support.  We are grateful to those that have helped establish the current foundation, but we need others to join in this effort.  There is much value in the framework, continuity and support that One Body Collaboratives provides to our faith community.”  

Community Flourishing Launch Event
CF launch Article Pic

One Body Collaboratives along with our Pastor Advisory Network launched our Community Flourishing Initiative on April 27th.  The purpose of the Community Flourishing initiative is three-fold.  First it demonstrates the Kingdom impact that can be made by our entire faith community working together on some of the most difficult challenges in our community.  Second, it provides an opportunity for faith leaders across denominational lines to come together and learn from one another, fostering fellowship and ultimately unity as One Body. And third, it creates a flourishing community as our faith community greatly influences every one of the flourishing outcomes of people in our city as well as the other pathways to that flourishing.

Faith leaders across the community see the needs and struggles of their congregations on a daily basis and were the key to helping us determine our annual focus area.  A Strategy Session was hosted with Faith Leaders to identify an area in our community that we will work collaboratively to impact.  In 2022 these focus areas will be Mental Health and Racial Justice. 

Over the next 8 months, One Body Collaboratives will host a variety of gatherings and events throughout the year that educate, connect and equip faith leaders for collaborative action in our Annual Focus Areas. These events will also provide time for fellowship among our faith leaders as well as time for covering our community in prayer

Focus Area: Mental Health

Faith Leader Panel Discussion & Community Expo
Over 40 faith leaders and mental health professionals attended the panel discussion and expo of mental health services on May 18th. 
Throughout this year, OneBodyCollaboratives will host a variety of educational events for our faith leaders to learn about resources in this area and also to learn from one another in regards to how Mental Health is discussed within our local churches. The Church has the opportunity and responsibility to care holistically for the well-being of Christians. Church’s conversations surrounding mental health have changed and will continue to change for the foreseeable future. This means going a step further than the usual church interactions to encourage safe dialogue around mental and emotional health issues such as anxiety, depression and loneliness. Our panel discussion featured local faith leaders who shared their insights on mental health, as well as how churches are partnering with community organizations to provide mental healthcare for their congregation members.Panelists Included: Pastor Dan Hinz, Bethesda Covenant; Pastor Ed Copeland, New Zion; Moderator, Pastor Norma Borrero, Life Church. Jason Holcomb with the Winnebago County Mental Health Board also provided an overview of the great work his organization is doing in this area.

Empower Mental Health Training
Mental Health Gateway provides education for faith leaders and communities about common mental health and substance use challenges, as well as an action plan to help faith populations. Over 20 individuals from our local churches participated in a two-hour in-depth training session. These trainings are provided on an ongoing basis free of charge at:

Church Security Training
A Church Security Training was hosted in partnership with the City of Rockford Police Department and the Crisis Co-Response Team.  Over 45 participants, primarily individuals serving on church

security teams learned how to keep their congregations and staff members safe during worship services  and church office hours, how to de-escalate potentially harmful situations, and how to identify and approach individuals exhibiting signs of mental illness.

Focus Area: Racial Reconciliation

Faith Leader Panel Discussion
As part of our Community Flourishing project, Faith Leaders and church staff attended our Panel Discussion on Racial Justice at Gethsemane Christian Church, on June 15th. 

The panel discussion featured local faith leaders who shared their insights on racial justice. Insights from Pastors included how they discuss racial justice and racial reconciliation from the pulpit as well as with their congregants in informal conversations. They also discussed the programs within their churches focused on building bridges to racial reconciliation and ways congregations can grow in this area. 

Panelists included: Pastors Alvin & LaToya White, Empowering Word Christian Center; Major Angela Wandling, Salvation Army; Pastor Eric Parks, Forest City Church; Moderator, Pastor Peter Dibley, First Evangelical Covenant. 

Be The Bridge Book Club
The purpose of this city-wide book club is for the Church in Rockford to gain a shared and biblically-grounded understanding of the process of restorative reconciliation - including lament, confession, forgiveness, righting wrongs, and restoring relationships. By committing to do this together, we create a pathway for the Church in Rockford to meaningfully address the sin of racism in its various forms as it has existed in history and as it exists today.

Every church is unique and is at different points of understanding how to address the sin of racism in its various forms. For some churches, it may be wise to read the book as a staff team, a leadership team or a small group of individuals who want to go deeper together. For others, the book could be used by existing small groups or diverse small groups formed expressly for this book club. A group could even be formed between two churches with differing demographics who want to read the book together. Lastly, the book could be used by the church as a whole and it lends itself well to a sermon series if that is of interest to pastors.

Discussion with Eliminate Racism 815
In October, we host eda discussion with Eliminate Racism 815 for our faith community.  The event allowed us to better understand the work being accomplished by Eliminate Racism 815 and how churches can become engaged in their work. 

Additional Events 
How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Missions Giving
In partnership with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, we hosted a presentation on how to make the biggest impact with your Mission giving.  The Community Foundation has been supporting community needs since 1953, serves four counties and invests over $4 million every year into the communities of Northern Illinois through grants and scholarships. Faith leaders and those who serve on church missions teams and endowment committees attended this informative presentation.