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Join Robert Lupton, Author of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How To Reverse It)
3 pm workshop, 7 pm presentation | Asbury First United Methodist Church


Toxic Charity

Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help and How to Reverse It, will give a talk on his book at Asbury First on Sunday, on Sunday, April 29, at 7 pm in the sanctuary and will lead a 3 pm workshop on campus, as well.


Lupton’s visit is part of an effort to share principles of justice—as recommended in our Outreach Task Force report, “A Way Forward. This report urged the AFUMC community to combat poverty by striving for justice instead of simple charity. Some liken that to teaching a person to fish instead of giving them a fish. It's really more complicated than that. One must also consider whether the person has a fishing pole, has a place to safely store it, and if they are likely to face discrimination when trying to access the local fishing hole. Does the person even want to learn how to fish, or do his or her dreams and talents lie in raising chickens instead? How can we help unknot those tangled issues instead of continuing to throw fish at a problem we might be worsening?


Lupton says churches often fail to take stock of how effective their programs are and rob those we try to serve of their pride and dignity, despite our best intentions.


Robert Lupton has walked the walk: he’s a Christian community developer in Atlanta, GA., having created two mixed-income subdivisions, organized a multiracial congregation, and started several businesses that provide dignity and jobs for people in poor urban areas. He is the creator of the Lupton Center, which specializes in teaching about helpful, effective community development. Some at AFUMC have taken the “Seeking Shalom” training offered by the Lupton Center, which is helping to reshape our outreach ministries.


For those who want to learn more, Lupton will also lead a 3 pm workshop on April 29. A limited number of seats, available on a first-come, first-serve basis, will be open to people who have either completed the “Seeking Shalom” training or read one of Lupton’s books. You can get started reading now or, during the month of April, take The Rev. Jacqueline Nelson's weekly class, “Balancing Justice and Mercy,” which will use Toxic Charity as a referenced text. (Find out more about this class here.)


To sign up for the class or the afternoon workshop, please contact Melody Guadagnino in the AFUMC office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Reservations for the talk are not necessary, but admission by donation of $10 is encouraged. Donations will benefit outreach programs at AFUMC. If you would like to purchase Toxic Charity, please contact Melody Guadagnino in the church office.