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106 S. St. Mary's, 7th Floor
San Antonio, TX 78205



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  • Melody Woosley
  • Jessica Dovalina
    Assistant Director
  • Patrick Steck
    Assistant Director


Faith-Based Initiative Structure

City of San Antonio works in respectful partnership with the SA Faith-Based Community, side-by-side and as equal contributors at the intersection of faith and society with a clear focus on Services for those most in need throughout the City.

Initiative Structure

Overall Philosophy

City of San Antonio works in respectful partnership with the San Antonio Faith-Based Community, side-by-side and as equal contributors at the intersection of faith and society with a clear focus on Services for those most in need throughout the City. Focus of partnership is needed services that are more accessible, efficient, and effective.


Works as the go-between within that mutual partnership, cross-connecting vital assets, translating language at the intersection, navigating both systems toward efficiency and effectiveness, coordinating efforts as they develop, nurturing the necessary trust and working structures needed to reach the vision and goals.


To facilitate relational collaboration and active partnerships between the San Antonio faith community and governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and community groups towards services that will improve the lives of families and communities in need.


Quarterly, broad spectrum gatherings that are facilitated in various ways to provide input, buy-in, cross-networking, capacity-building, bridge-building, trusting relationships, etc. The Convenings serve as the voice of the Faith-Based Community and provides opportunities for all stakeholders to provide input. This input and nurtured commitment will help inform the Working Group in direction, next steps, tasks, projects, etc.

Working Group

Meeting monthly, this will be an action-oriented team effort that both informs and is informed by the Quarterly (seasonal) Convenings. Members of the Working Group will be a sampling of diverse representatives within the San Antonio Faith Community with a preferable working size of 15-20 people. Discerned faith leadership from across San Antonio will be asked to appoint or recommend individuals who may potentially and best serve in the Working Group, based on:

  • Passionate commitment to service to those most in need in San Antonio,
  • Knowledgeable about services within one’s own faith community and potentially beyond it,
  • Potential skill sets that will add to the necessary work of the Initiative,
  • Willingness to work and move the Initiative forward as needed,
  • Available to attend all working meetings – or send a representative if absent,
  • Positive about the potential the Initiative holds for the future of San Antonio, and,
  • Leadership and networking skills to form their own Working Teams as necessary.
Action Teams

Meeting as needed and discerned, these smaller groups of 4-8 people will develop and complete specific tasks and projects around priority focus areas. Teams will be organized and facilitated by a member of the Working Group. Their selection will be specialized to the specific task while based on the same qualifiers (above) as the Working Group.


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Glossary of Terms

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repeating and relaying the validity of the other person’s values. Establishes mutual respect
Asset-Based Approach
problem-solving method that emphasizes uses internal resources first
Civic Engagement
community participation in government programs and events
Challenges in Working with Faith-Based Organizations
lack of government collaboration experience, (un)willingness to compromise, need to compete with secular organizations for money, high variation of faiths to represent, differing levels of preference for community interaction
Challenges in Working with Government Agencies
maintaining autonomy as a faith-based organization, the risk of being overshadowed by larger congregations (especially those with only a handful of places on our list: Native American Churches, Sikh, etc.), perception that government will utilize acquired information against the faith community
a place for Christian worship
engage in open and truthful dialogue with intentions to understand both sides and the situation as a whole
Community Resilience
the thriving and bouncing back (and forward) from environmental and social shocks
the feeling of sympathy for and desire to help those less fortunate
a gathering place for religious worship/spiritual expression
Convening Contacts
on-going and growing list of registrants and attendees from Faith-Based Initiative Seasonal Convenings
Coordinating Bodies
larger bodies that support their member congregations
provide context and evidence for your argument, especially when proving there is a problem that must be dealt with
Ecumenical/Inter-Faith Organization
comprised of a variety of Christian churches. One of four types of Faith-Based Organizations.
installment of confidence to go beyond current situations and accomplish more than initially thought
Faith-Based Organization (FBO)
a social services provider that is grounded in values established by a given religion or spiritual following. For the Faith-Based Initiative, this foundation is found in the various religions and spiritualties in and around San Antonio
Faith-Based Organization Funding Base
tends to be primarily from within themselves or peers as opposed to grant or governmental funding, as found in secular counterparts.
dealing with a matter as a whole, as opposed to various parts
dealing with a variety of religions and spiritualties
the process by which a religious organization becomes secularized via outside influences (mainly governmental)
a link between two or more parties established to aid communication
Needs-based approach
problem-solving method that emphasizes getting needs settled, often using external sources
creating connections and establishing future contact points for future reference
Opportunities in Working with Faith-Based Organizations
greater community trust, vital role in caring for their communities as service-providers and support systems, important input from within the neighborhoods, deeper relationships and engagements, collaboration and education for both sides (civic leadership and faith leadership)
Opportunities in Working with Government Agencies
access to more resources and influential city officials, can aide in policies to support various faiths and religions
creating connections and contact points, has greater emphasis on present work and collaboration
Performance-based approach
a problem-solving method that emphasizes end results over how the results occur
Regional resilience
see community resilience
Relational Competence
the capacity to develop shared goals/knowledge & mutual respect
Relational Coordination
communication designed to improve task integration, performance, and client/worker morale
Relational Coproduction
extension of shared goals/knowledge & mutual respect to customers to optimize
Relational Education
learning via peers and shared knowledge, as opposed through a typical teacher-student relationship
Relational Interventions
methods to disrupt/transform existing relationship patterns
Relational Leadership
creating shared goals/knowledge & mutual respect with/among others
Relational Space
a space in which it is safe to admit what you don’t know & learn from others
a strong and mutually desired connection between two or more entities
a strong religious attachment/belief
Religious Proselytizing
the attempt to convert someone into a given religious/spiritual belief
Religious Understanding
the respect and empathy towards others with differing beliefs
the ability to recover from a setback quickly. For the Faith-Based Initiative, this “bounce-back recovery” is met with a “bounce-forward” effect
not grounded in or affiliated with established religious or spiritual followings or guidelines
Structural interventions
methods to ensure persistence of new patterns & undoing of old patterns
Subgoal optimization
optimizing one’s goal at the expense of the broader goal
creating solutions to aforesaid problems, establishing a sense of change and purpose
Work process interventions
methods to ensure relationship patterns are rooted in the work
Contact the Faith-Based INITIATIVE
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Participation in The Initiative is voluntary. For more information and/or to sign up yourself, congregation or organization.