What is Initiatives of Change?
How did it start?
Is Initiatives of Change a religious organization?
What are the main ideas?
What is a 'quiet time'?
Why does Initiatives of Change advocate absolute moral values?
Where does IofC get its funding?
How many people work for Initiatives of Change
How do I get involved with Initiatives of Change?
Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a global network of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting in their own lives. Moments of personal transformation often mark a new direction in a person’s life. And personal change can often lead to change in situations.
Initiatives of Change began under the name of the Oxford Group in the 1920s. It was initiated by Frank Buchman (see www.frankbuchman.info for a searchable biography). His experience of finding freedom from resentment towards colleagues was a dramatic turning point in his life. Against a backdrop of the rise of Communism and Fascism and global economic recession, his insight that deep personal transformation is the key to social change inspired students in universities in America and Europe in the 1920s and 30s. His work spread to many sectors of society and became a world-wide movement of moral and spiritual renewal.
IofC is not affiliated to a particular church or faith community. Rather, it embraces individuals from a variety of backgrounds – religious, spiritual and secular.
IofC encourages people of faith to explore the roots of their own faith or spiritual tradition, and to live them out while respecting the beliefs of others. IofC challenges each person, whatever their spiritual persuasion, to live in a way that is relevant to answering society's needs by beginning a process of change within themselves. All are encouraged to look at their lives in the light of universal moral values, and to take time each day for silent reflection.
Change starts with me: Most of us are very good at seeing where others need to change. Initiatives of Change suggests that if we want to see the world change, we need to start with ourselves. We become part of this movement for change as we move beyond denial and blame towards responsible action. A new attitude or behavior in just one person can often be a catalyst for change in a wider situation. Initiatives of Change emphasizes that there is a connection between the personal and the global: when people and relationships change, situations change.
Frank Buchman was a Christian but his work included people of many religious, spiritual and secular traditions. Buchman’s approach - of valuing the contributions of people from diverse cultures and beliefs - was far ahead of its time.
Today, with so many inter-community tensions, IofC reaffirms its commitment to building relationships of trust across the world’s social, ethnic and religious divides – not by compromising our own values and beliefs but by working together for a higher purpose. All are enabled to work together for a lasting change in society. Explore the main ideas >>
IofC places the search for inner wisdom at the heart of its approach.
The regular practice of silence, also called ‘quiet time,’ is an opportunity for reflection to listen to the deepest voice in one’s heart. For some this voice is Spirit or God, and for others it is the conscience or inner voice. Quiet time allows a person to consider what changes may be needed in one’s own life and to find the inspiration to make those changes.
For more on this subject, you may like to download ‘The Sound of Silence’.
Buchman had a gift for expressing spiritual truth in non-religious language. His experience of meeting and speaking with people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds showed him that the principles of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love are universal.
Given the human capacity for self-deception, Buchman recognised the need to consider these values as ‘absolute’. Consider the difference between the questions, ‘Am I honest?’ and ‘Am I absolutely honest?’ These principles form the bed-rock of the changes in individuals upon which the various initiatives of change are built.
The word ‘absolute’ is intended to provide a guide by which to measure our motives and actions, rather than a set of unachievable rules. Of course no one can achieve perfection but we can all travel a road towards our highest aspirations. Learning to seek forgiveness when we fall short is an important part of the journey. To further guard against self-deception, individuals are encouraged to share and confirm their insights with a trusted friend.
IofC is financed largely by contributions from individuals who believe that this spirit and practice are needed. Increasingly specific projects are financed by Foundations and official bodies. Legal bodies exist in many countries to administer funds and property.
Each initiative is approached with an expectation of sharing resources and with the trust that people acting with unselfish motives will find support from unexpected sources. More information >>
Many people volunteer their time in various capacities. There are several hundred people across the world who devote all their time, energy, and resources; many thousands more who make it the basis of their family and working lives; and countless others whose application of these principles has resulted in far reaching changes around them.
Anyone who wants to be part of building trust across the world’s divides can become involved. Please contact us if you would like to learn more, get involved or support Initiatives of Change financially.