Geriatria e gerontologia
credits - editoriale geriatria - meetings - notiziario - pubblicazioni
Una premessa
Tempo libero e solitudine
Alcol e invecchiamento cerebrale
Attività fisica
  site design Doublespeak
Study of an old Man's Profile - Galleria degli Uffizi - Firenze
Religious Organizations in Community Services: A Social Work Perspective

Edited by Terry Tirrito and Toni Cascio
College of Social Work, University of South Carolina,
Columbia, South Carolina, United States

Springer Press: New York, New York

Table of Contents

Introduction by Terry Tirrito

Part I The Historical Role of Faith Organizations and Religion

Chapter 1 Religious Foundations of Charity, Toni Cascio

Part II The Contemporary Role of Religious Organizations

Chapter 2 American Congregations and Their Social Programs, Terry A. Wolfer and Michael E. Sherr

Chapter 3 Religiosity and Spirituality in Social Work: A Retrospective and Contemporary Analysis, Larry P. A. Ortiz

Chapter 4 Spirituality and the Life Cycle, Ilene Nathanson

Chapter 5 Health, Spirituality, and Healing, Connie Saltz Corely

Chapter 6 Mental Health and Religion, John R. Belcher

Chapter 7 Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Education, Leon Ginsberg

Chapter 8 Sectarian Organizations Serving Civic Purposes, Nieli Langer

Part III New Models for the 21st Century

Chapter 9 The Korean American Church as Social Service Provider, Gil Choi

Chapter 10 The Faith-Based Community Action Model, Terry Tirrito



The purposes of this book are to review the historical role of religious/faith organization in providing social services to those in need, to propose that religious/faith organization can assume this responsibility again in the 21st century, to explain how the Korean Church has successfully provided social services to its congregations, and to provide a model for religious organizations to use to develop community action programs.

Political changes in the United States and around the world demonstrate that most developed and underdeveloped societies are not meeting the social needs of their people. After a long history of informally providing services to those in need, in the 20th century, the church in the United States emerged as an institution that had relinquished this responsibility of helping the poor and underprivileged in local communities, and federal and state governments assumed this role.

In this new millennium economic and political conditions demand a new perspective, and religious/faith organizations are being asked to once again become involved in providing social assistance. The authors wish to remind readers, however, that religious organization include temples, synagogues, and mosques as well as churches.

Part I

In Part I, the historical role of faith organizations in relation to social welfare is discussed. In the first chapter Cascio describes the major religions of the world and provides a foundation of the historical details that explain the basis for charity. In particular the teachings of Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam regarding charity and their approaches to the poor are highlighted. In looking at historical figures such as Moses and Maimonides in Judaism, Saint Thomas of Aquinas in Catholicism, and Mohammed in Islam, Cascio examines their roles in shaping of charitable institutions.

Part II

Part II presents recent trends in social welfare in the United States and the potential for re-involvement of religious/faith organizations in their arena. We look at the contemporary role of religious organizations regarding social programs, social work education, health and mental health, and the importance of spirituality in the life cycle of the individual. Is it essential to explore the role of sectarian organizations serving civic purposes.

Chapter 2 describes how religious/faith organizations may supplement the federal government's broad services to meet the social service needs of the population, and Wolfer and Sherr offer examples of faith organizations providing social services. In chapter 3 Ortiz explores religiosity and spirituality and discusses the religious/faith organization's role in shaping a new concept of spirituality for people. This chapter examines the importance of religion among various ethnic groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.

In chapter 4 Nathanson describes the importance of spirituality throughout the life cycle and connects the social work profession's renewed interest in spirituality to the practitioner's need to understand the spiritual life of a client in the helping process. Corely, in chapter 5, illustrates the importance of religiosity and spirituality and its impact on physical health, especially in the healing process.

In chapter 6 the relationship between religion and mental health is explored, by Belcher. Examples include the influence of spirituality on lower incidences of depression, and its beneficial effect on hypertension and recovery from alcoholism. Ginsberg looks at the rift between religion and social work education and offers a discussion for the resolution of these issues in chapter 7. In chapter 8 Langer examines sectarian organizations serving civic purposes such as religiously motivated aid, and the separation of the sacred and the secular. Examples of faith-based programs are provided.

Part III

In Part III new models for religiously-based social services are described. In chapter 9, Choi presents the Korean-American church as a model of a religiously-based ethnic church that provides social services to its immigrant congregation. Tirrito, in chapter 10, describes a 12-step model, The Faith-Based Community Action model ((FBCA), that religious/faith organizations can adopt to develop social service programs in local communities. These 12-steps are based on community organization principles and are specifically adapted for the use of faith-based organizations.


This book embarked on an ambitious mission. We have attempted to explore the scope and breadth of religious organizations in social work practice. We trace the origins of the social work profession back to the earliest of civilizations and their religious traditions. In this way, we demonstrate the inextricability of the profession from religious doctrine. We also examine how religion affects people as individuals. This book, as well as many other works in the professional literature, demonstrates the profound impact that religion has on the physical and emotional health of its adherents. This book also examines the similarities and differences between spirituality and religion as concepts and the current debates regarding these terms in the literature. Further, we explore the changes in religious and spiritual observance throughout the life cycle, demonstrating that this facet of life, like many others, is dynamic and interactive.

This book then takes a broader perspective and looks at the role of congregation in the wider community. It explores the many social welfare functions that religious organizations perform for their congregations as well as the community at large. Looking at this information, we see that religious provision of community services is not something that happened before the advent of the welfare state. Indeed, it is a current reality, and religious organizations are vital members of the welfare community, providing space for meetings, therapeutic services, soup kitchens, and financial assistance, among many others.

We explore this phenomenon in depth through the example of the Korean church. The author here demonstrates the invaluable assistance that the church provides to Korean immigrants, helping them to navigate the social welfare maze and acculturate to their new surroundings, not to mention providing valuable social support to a people very far from their native land. Based on this example and others like it, we also provide a model to facilitate social welfare systems and religious organizations to work together to provide important services in the best manner possible to people in need.

Finally, we explore the place of religion in social work education, demonstrating that the effect of religious organization on social welfare extends beyond the general community to social work training as well.

In all of these ways, it has been our attempt to portray religious organizations in the social welfare arena as dynamic and vital. They are and always have been an integral part of th esocial welfare system. Despite people's objections to the commingling of religion and social welfare, this is a fruitful partnership, and services are extended to people who might otherwise not receive help. Furthermore, this aid, provided under religious auspices, is accepted by those who otherwise might choose to go without rather than approach the public social welfare system. Religious social welfare fulfills a vital need in the community. It is our obligation as social workers to provide services to people in a way that meets their needs, and in working with religious organizations, we come one step closer to reaching that goal.

Gli editoriali più recenti © - Dott. Giovanni Cristianini - 2001 - 2021 | | | | | |