On March 3, 2016, thousands gathered in cities around the world to stimulate thinking and consider what it might mean to advance the common good in our community. Schenectady, NY was one of those cities! For the second time, Light the City hosted Q Commons Schenectady:  An event featuring a series of national and local speakers, all addressing some of the biggest questions we face personally and as a city. Approximately 50 people showed up at Union College’s College Park Hall to engage each other in this evening of meaningful conversations.

While not everyone subscribes to a specific faith tradition, Q Commons puts people of good faith and goodwill together for the good of the city. As a faith based organization we feel required to be part of the solution and not seen as absent or worse, the problem.

On behalf of the City of Schenectady, the Light the City Network would like to thank all who attended. Amidst very busy schedules, you've all given your time to come together and participate in a one-of-a-kind event for the common good of Schenectady.

In case you missed it, here’s a brief recap of the Q Commons Talks:

David Kinnaman, Q Commons Schenectady Spring 2016

David Kinnaman, is the president and majority owner of Barna Group, a visionary research and resource company located in Ventura, California. He is the author of two bestselling books, unChristian and You Lost Me, which focus on the spiritual lives of teens and twenty-somethings. Christians face an unprecedented landscape at the intersection of faith and public life. Over 46% of our neighbors believe religion and people of faith are part of the problem in our communities, not the solution. As a growing list of contentious issues present themselves on the cultural front—such as racism, gender, euthanasia, sexuality, religious freedom and more—the Church finds itself on the margins of the mainstream conversation perplexed about how to engage.

Q | Public opinion suggests our views and beliefs are irrelevant and extreme, so how should Christians respond?

Andy Crouch, Q Commons Schenectady Spring 16

Andy is the author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, published in October 2013. His book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling won Christianity Today's 2009 Book Award for Christianity and Culture and was named one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, Relevant, Outreach and Leadership. With 65% of Americans believing the country is on the wrong track, finding trusted leadership is critical. Most have lost respect for political or religious leaders and are turning their attention to you—their neighbors, colleagues and friends—to offer a better way forward. But do you know what it will take?

Many Christians are finding it challenging to lead in a culture where people are increasingly skeptical about faith in the public sphere. What does it mean for us to reexamine our stance on leadership? + "What qualities actually make the best leaders?"

We can all learn from Andy's talk on leadership by asking ourselves the following questions:

Q | Are we more authoritative? or are we more vulnerable by nature? ... Andy argued that we need both! Authority + Vulnerability = Flourishing!

Locally we had great talks as well:

Roman Vasquez | Compass Pictures

Roman Vasquez | Compass Pictures

It is the mission of Compass Pictures to promote the global themes of LOVE, HOPE, & COMPASSION through relatable films that can make a difference and have a positive effect on people's livesOne of their projects facilitated the passing of legislation aimed as at reducing gendercide in many countries around the globe that engaged in this brutal practice. 

Q | “How can we use film to inspire hope?”

You can find out more HERE | #FilmforHOPE


Prince Sprauve | Founder and CEO of TBU Productions  

Prince Sprauve | Founder and CEO of TBU Productions


TBU (Told By Us) is a youth program founded in Schenectady, NY that uses film and music to provide a platform for teens to address social issues relevant to their community. Their current project “Cradle” will spearhead a social media marketing campaign designed to raise awareness about the alarming teenage pregnancy rates in Schenectady.

Q | How do we directly engage youth in the solution? 

You can find out more HERE

For our third local talk we had an exciting panel on education, participants included:

Education Panel Q Commons Schenectady Spring 2016

Larry Spring | Superintendent of Schenectady City School District, Advocate for Students, Father, Husband, Runner & Triathlete

Rev. Al Tompkins | A minister at Calvary Tabernacle Church and part of an emerging community coalition, headed by church leaders and focused on advocating for increased education funding in Schenectady.

Abbe Kovacikis | Executive Director of the Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc. located in Albany, NY.  She is the co-author of Observing and Understanding Child Development: A Child Development Manual published by Delmar Cengage Learning.

Ebony Belmar | Schenectady City School District Social Worker.  Mrs. Belmar is also a founding mother and an active member of the Working Group on Girls of Schenectady, Inc.

Mecca Hemphill | A 12th grade Schenectady High Student and Peer Advisor.

Jamaica Miles | Development Coordinator for Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region, a mom and an outspoken advocate for education.


Q | How can ensure student success in the Schenectady City School District?


Join the Conversation by Sharing these questions using #QCommonsSchenectady and posting comments below.