Faith in democracy and our faith in each other isn’t something that just happens. It’s something we must each work on and cultivate together.
Democracy is one of the most faith-fueled human activities that there is.
When we neglect to tend to our democracy – and to our democratic faith – we start to fall prey to a culture of doubting and mistrusting those around us. It becomes easier to just throw our hands up and say, I think I’ll just move to Canada instead.
So how do we reckon with our faith when it wavers? How do we rebuild something that feels so big and broken?
Enter: Civic Saturday. Civic Saturday is a civic analogue to a faith gathering. We recognize the power of faith traditions — they provide ritual and structure in service of deepening faith. And in this case, faith in democracy.
We gather to sing, to talk and to listen, to hear poetry and civic scripture. And, importantly, we hear a civic sermon that ties the civic scripture to the ethical choices and consequences of our time.
Rousing the spirit
Civic sermons came about shortly after the 2016 presidential election. Our CEO Eric Liu knew people were in need of a way to make sense of what had happened and process how they were feeling — whether stunned, or thrilled, terrified or hopeful. He brought to life the idea of a civic sermon, which he shared at that very first Civic Saturday.
A civic sermon isn’t just a talk, speech, or address. It’s a time to grapple with thorny questions and challenge others to rehumanize one another. It weaves together fresh ideas and provides a lens to see the ethical choices we’re facing. It calls upon pieces of civic scripture, from the words of Alexis De Tocqueville to Ella Baker to Robert F. Kennedy.
Civic sermons – and the people giving them – invite us all to think critically about the state of our citizenship and our civic faith. They crack open space in civic life for moral reflection and reckoning with our faith.
Sermons across the land
Civic sermons have been shared in storefronts, libraries, and great halls. Our Civic Saturday Fellows learn and practice sermon writing as a platform for inviting this kind of reckoning with their neighbors.
You could learn to write your own civic sermon. Explore what it’s like to be a Civic Saturday Fellow →