Kairos - The Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice

The mission of Kairos -- The Center for Religion, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary is to contribute to transformative movements for social change that can draw on the power of both religions and human rights. Recognizing that thought and action should not be separated, the Kairos Center’s work combines rigorous scholarship, applied research, reciprocal education, and shared practice. The cornerstone of the Kairos Center is the Poverty Initiative whose mission is to raise up generations of religious and community leaders dedicated to building a social movement to end poverty, led by the poor.

The Kairos Center incorporates, builds on, and expands further the work of the Poverty Initiative, its cornerstone program. Through its work over the past ten years, the Poverty Initiative has developed a theological framework that is grounded in Biblical and historical study, and driven by contemporary struggles for human rights. This framework asserts that poverty is not a permanent feature of society and that there is a moral imperative to end it.

The Kairos Center strengthens and expands this work of the Poverty Initiative by addressing the key elements that experience has demonstrated are critical to building a movement capable of ending poverty: The power of religion to divide – by such means as the stigmatization of women, LGBTQ people, and other religions—or to strengthen and lift up a movement—by proclaiming the equality and dignity of each person; the ability of human rights to bring people together across identities and issues and to show how myriad forms of social injustice, in particular racism, sexism and geographical isolation, increase and intensify poverty; and the connection of the U.S. to global poverty and U.S. movements to movements around the world.