Who are we?
A community organizer.
Sympara repurposes closed religious properties, activates underutilized congregational spaces, and mobilizes members and neighbors for the common good. Through education, we form leaders who evoke the gifts of people and place. Through consulting, we map assets, discern opportunities, and develop partnerships. Through placemaking, we create sacred/civic spaces that catalyze more just and sustainable communities.
A community of practice.
Founded in 2003, Sympara is a multifaith/interspiritual community of practice. We are "traveling companions," people who choose to be friends for the journey. Our members live across the United States, pursuing vocations in education, business, politics, social services, and the healing arts. Through a common "rule," which includes daily prayer and contemplative reading, we discern our part in the "tikkun olam," the healing of the world.
“It is love and friendship, the sanctity and celebration of our relationships, that not only support a good life, but create one. Through friendships, we spark and inspire one another’s ambitions.”
— Wallace Stegner,
Crossing to Safety
Sympara builds on models that maximize religious assets. We draw inspiration from the long histories of groups who leverage resources of people and property for the common good, including monastic enterprise, community development corporations, and faith-rooted housing and health care ventures.
Sympara was founded in 2003 as a North Carolina nonprofit corporation. While we pursue 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a religious organization, Berkeley School of Theology serves as our fiscal sponsor, allowing us to receive charitable contributions.
The meaning of "Sympara."
Sympara (or sumpara) is Greek for “in association.” It is part of the verb sumparameno, which means “to abide together with,” and symparalambano, which means “to take along with,” as the Apostle Paul took along friends on his journeys. Sympara suggests compatibility, as in simpatico; a thoughtful meeting, as in symposium; and the spirit that comes alongside to aid and encourage, as in paraclete. Sympara is our shorthand for traveling companions.