The Kaleo Center was born of vision and a void.
Founding director Steve Newcom received an Archibald Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2007 to research the intersection of theological education and social justice ministry. Newcom’s research revealed that while many seminaries teach the “why” of social justice ministry, (theory and theology) none were teaching students the practical tools to effectively engage in social justice ministry in congregational or community settings. The Center was founded in 2010 to change that reality.
The Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice and Social Transformation has four strategic priorities:
- Igniting and Inspiring Prophetic Imagination
- Convening and Connecting Communities of Faith
- Preparing and Equipping Faithful Leaders
- Advancing the Praxis of Social Transformation
About our name.
Kaleo—pronounced “ka-léh-oh”—is a word that connects two sides of our planet with two distinct origins. In Hawaiian, “ka leo” means “the voice.” In Greek, “kaleo,” means “to call,” “to invite,” or “to summon.” At the intersection of these thoughts is our name. “Kaleo” expresses our self-understanding as a voice calling forth justice across faith communities.
The word kaleo occurs more than 146 times in the Christian testament. It is at the root of many other words including parakaleo (to comfort), parakletos (an advocate or intercessor) and — most importantly — ekklesia, a gathering of the faithful.
Rev. Steven Newcom is an ordained minister in the Community of Christ church. Newcom was awarded an Archibald Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2007-2009 to research the intersection of theological education and social justice ministry. The research identified a fundamental gap within Seminary education around the applied competencies of social transformation and effective public witness. The Center was launched in 2010 to address this gap with the mission of advancing public ministry as a practical theological discipline and core ministerial competency. Prior to founding the Center, Steve served the Headwaters Foundation for Justice as the Executive Director for 18 years and prior to that worked for the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.
Arif grew up in Oak Park, IL, earned his undergraduate degree from Drew University, and spent a few years living and working in New York City before returning to the Midwest. Prior to joining the Kaleo Center, Arif worked at the Progressive Technology Project, the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation, and TakeAction Minnesota. Arif is a member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, and serves on the board of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship.
Program Associate, Kaleo Center
Chelsea grew up in Knoxville, IA. After graduating from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA with a degree in Music Ministry, a calling toward social justice led her to spend the next three years as a full-time volunteer working with people experiencing homelessness and adults with intellectual disabilities through Mission Year and the Episcopal Service Corps in Atlanta, GA. She returned to the Midwest to attend United and graduated with a Master of Arts in Social Transformation degree in December 2016. She lives with her spouse and two adorable cats in Roseville.