Bruce Wilson is a retired Episcopal priest with a work history of teaching high school chemistry, biology, and math in west Texas, serving as a juvenile probation counselor in Hondo, Texas, and teaching emotionally disturbed and conduct disordered youth in San Antonio before serving as a parish priest in the Episcopal diocese of West Texas for over thirty years.
Before retirement, his diocese and local Episcopal congregations supported Bruce in coordinating Episcopal Ministries of Corpus Christi (EMC2), a collaborative multi-church ministry, in partnership with local like-minded organizations, whose goal was giving voice to voiceless people. This church ministry evolved into an independent nonprofit, Coastal Bend Neighborhood Empowerment (CBNE), whose unique approach is a grassroots community development model for working with distressed neighborhoods and community groups. The unique focus of this approach is on the process of building the capacity of neighbors and helping them organize inside-out, citizen-driven initiatives that represent their own shared dreams and collective strengths, rather than on top-down, outsider-driven programs, facilities, resources, or “solutions” intended to “fix” communities. Bruce is currently serving as the Executive Director of CBNE.
CBNE is applying the same principles to an immigrant community, and now (during COVID-19) to an unsheltered community, where Bruce is the primary CBNE practitioner. Homeless people have a vision of “home,” and one thing they need most is a safe and healthy community to heal from their profound loss of family and supportive relationships early in life.
While working with these engagement communities, Bruce is leading CBNE in a transition from functioning as the practitioner which directly organizes and strengthens communities, to a trainer and coach for other nonprofits who are ready to shift from perpetually meeting needs to restoring confidence, hope, power, and agency to community groups.
Bruce’s two grown daughters, Bliss and Lauren, have been living in Seattle, Washington, but are returning with their families to Texas where he and his wife, Sandra, can enjoy being together with them again.