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Our Grassroots Reinvention

What Kind of World Do We CHOOSE To Create and Live In?

Did You Know?

Beginning in 1971, we (colleagues of the Institute) engaged in 3 years of research, self-examination and assessment to spell out  a viable practical vision for ourselves as human beings, for our communities and our emerging planetary society. Many of us spent the next decade or more in global service with the ICA working to bring that vision into reality.

Primary Resource:

“The Ecumenical Institute of Chicago designed a three year grassroots social research project aimed at the problem of providing the “local man” with a practical comprehensive vision of the new social dynamics emerging in our day which will enable him to understand the trends of the time, motivate him to engage himself in shaping those trends and to provide him with some basic tools to effect that engagement.”  (from a proposal to the Rockefeller Foundation)

“…I am glad you gave that nine thousand dollars”

“The age of nations is past.  The task before us, if we would not perish, is to shake off our ancient prejudices and to build the earth.”  Teilhard de Chardin


“For we are writing the new book of Genesis. 

In the old one, God took six days to bring order out of chaos, and on the seventh day He rested.

The eighth day was a billion years long and is the history of mankind upon the Earth.

Now we stand on the morning-sill of the ninth day.  It will be our time of going away, our time of being above and beyond and far-traveling from the lands of our beginning.  It will be our longest day yet, and our grandest.”  Ray Bradbury.  “God on Tomorrow Morning” Chicago Sun-Times.  Sunday, December 27, 1964.

Story Telling Time!

Dig deeper . . .

We saw ourselves as a “Laboratory for the Church.  We said we were a Research, Demonstration and Training Group Concerned with the Human Factor in World Development.

Dynamic of Research Jim Wiegel

The Research Methods of The Institute of Cultural Affairs.  1980

Corporate Research Methods.  Image #11

PSU Manual Winter 1973

The PSU, Task Force, Theological Guild Dynamic 1973 Clare Woodbury


This 2 page tract outlines the New Social Vehicle Project as we saw it late in 1971.

NSV Tract


What is a New Social Vehicle (NSV)?

And Now . . .

What Came out of the Research?

An inclusive and transformative approach to analyzing any social entity:  The “Five Pillars

A Practical Vision for society in our age in the form of 77 practical proposals to “inclusively create the New Social Vehicle” condensed into 5 brief essays (Five Nexus) articulating “the depth longings . . . in our day for a way of inventing authentic society anew . . . a call to a new age of creativity, of civilization, of life itself”

A strategic and tactical framework for us as the Institute (or any social movement) that transformed this Practical Vision into action in the form of

Specific programs, projects, methods and philosophy that shaped the Institute and our work and led to

Three Global Campaigns aimed at turning widespread human fear and despair to courage and care in catalyzing a global resurgence of human spirit and a practical reconstruction of the social fabric we share.

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These are the times.

      We are the people.

That’s the way it is.

      Be it so!