Forty-three years ago, six Catholic religious congregations came together to establish 8th Day Center for Justice to be a critical alternative voice to oppressive systems. Over the last four decades, we have grown to a 35-congregation coalition that works alongside many partners to advocate for justice in society and the Catholic Church, guided by a vision for a world of dignity and respect for all people and creation.
It is with a spirit of both sorrow and thanksgiving that we announce that this September will mark the opening of 8th Day Center’s Year of Gratitude – our final year – as we will be closing the Center in September 2018.
This decision comes after a great deal of consideration, exploration, and discernment. Over the last 15 years, 8th Day has experienced the effects of the diminishing reality facing religious congregations. At 8th Day’s peak, there were 12 full-time staff members representing (and fully funded by) religious congregations; by 2019, the number of congregation-funded positions would likely decrease to just 2 full-time staff members.
Recognizing that this diminishment was jeopardizing the future sustainability of the Center, in the early 2000s our Staff and Coordinating Council began exploring alternative funding options that would not rely so heavily on the support of religious congregations. We increased the number of fundraisers, applied for grants, attempted a parish membership program, and established a Development Coordinator position. Unfortunately, these efforts have not yielded the results necessary for a viable future.
Considering these realities, the Staff and Coordinating Council have engaged in a strategic futuring process to reach this decision to close the Center. Throughout this difficult process, our priority has been to maintain the integrity of 8th Day’s history and mission. Closing with dignity – rather than staying open until our resources and personnel are completely depleted – has emerged as the best decision during these painful times.
8th Day Center for Justice was named after St. Augustine’s belief that we are in the “everlasting eighth day” of creation wherein each of us is responsible to bring the world into fullness of being. The brick and mortar of 8th Day may be closing in September 2018, but we will still be in the “everlasting eighth day” of creation until the world knows true justice. We hope you will join us throughout this final Year of Gratitude as we continue our work, celebrate the last 43 years, and honor you – our dear friends and partners who have been so faithful to 8th Day on this journey toward justice.
Gathering of Gratitude
Saturday, September 30, 2017 | 2-5pm
Unitarian Church of Evanston
1330 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL
Join us as we throw open the doors for 8th Day’s Year of Gratitude! More details coming soon.
Gifting Our Resources
We hope to gift our remaining resources in a way that honors 8th Day’s history and mission. Details will be forthcoming.
The Year of Gratitude will conclude in the summer of 2018 with a final celebration of 8th Day’s work, congregations, and many partners.