Our own health depends on the person next to us, and the person next to them. Jails are virus hotspots that accelerate the spread to those trapped inside, jail workers, and the surrounding communities.
On April 14, 300 diverse faith leaders from across Indiana came together online for a virtual prayer vigil and called on Governor Holcomb to act to slow the spread of the virus by using his full executive authority to ensure county sheriffs immediately release everyone who is not a danger to the community, allowing them to shelter in place with their families during the health crisis.
“For our loved ones in jails, it can be like getting a death sentence," says Faith in Indiana leader Jeff Walker and part of the St Joe County Jail Diversion Task Force. "We are encouraged by the steps being taken in our county. Our prayer is that Governor Holcomb will put the safety of our communities first. Holding people who are medically frail, too poor to post bail, or caught up by a parole infraction during this pandemic is dangerous, cruel and inhumane."
With the first peak of the virus expected within the next two weeks, we must get people out of jails if we care about our communities. Watch the prayer vigil online.
#SlowTheSpread #COVID19 We demand that @GovHolcomb use his full executive authority to free our loved ones in jail, prison and detention centers and put the health of all our communities first #FreeThePeople #ForPublicHealth
Faith in St. Joseph County leaders met April 1 with Bob Einterz, Mark Fox and Heidi Beidinger of the county's health department, lifting up the needs of the most vulnerable family members and neighbors — those without shelter, living paycheck-to-paycheck, undocumented brothers and sisters, and those behind bars.
We Are Made for Such a Time as This!
This moment has shown us that our health and prosperity are connected. In the last few weeks, Faith in Indiana leaders met with dozens of mayors, sheriffs and public health directors in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend to make sure racial equity is at the center of this public health crisis.
Because of your quick action, jails in Indianapolis are 50% under capacity. The number of people in the St. Joseph County Jail dropped 24%, and in Allen County dropped 10% in the last three weeks. That’s 525 people returned home to shelter at place safely with their families.
In the face of the pandemic, we will not be divided. Since mid-March, more than 1,459 Faith in Indiana leaders gathered online in 151 caring circles, strategy sessions, and meetings with elected leaders across the state. We’ve urged elected leaders to act now to make sure testing, treatment and financial supports reach communities of color, those hardest hit by COVID-19.
We pull through by pulling together, like we’ve done in the past. Faith in Indiana encourages community members to join us at one of our weekly virtual calls of connection and action, so we can lead together:
Register for a weekly organizing call with your chapter:
Faith in Indiana Clergy Hold Weekly COVID Response Calls
Now, like never before, we need our faith leaders equipped and connected, so that we can faithfully and quickly lead in response to the growing needs of Hoosiers.
Because of the increased need for community support, good information and public leadership, the clergy teams of Faith in Indiana have decided to hold weekly COVID-19 response calls. All clergy, ministers, imams and religious institution leaders are encouraged to join us at one of these weekly virtual calls of connection and action.
Clergy will meet every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Join your clergy caucus call by county:
How can our faith communities continue to be "community," showing up with and for one another during this unsettling season? Faith in Indiana clergy are resourceful and creative and trying on new ways to provide information and emotional, spiritual and physical support to congregation members during this period of required physical distance.
"What if we decentralized the work of maintaining contact, caring for one another and deepening relational networks during the pandemic?" wonders Fr. Tom Metzger, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Noblesville. "What if we could find a way to build community so that we actually emerge from the crisis even more unified and connected than ever before?"
Faith in Indiana is creating 'Caring Circles' within the larger congregation to share information and create a deeper sense of connection and support for one another during this time. Caring Circles are led by one or two captains who lead a small group of congregants in a weekly check-in call via phone or video conferencing. Team captains then gather for a weekly joint call with clergy and staff to debrief, share information and prepare for the following week's call.
We have a guide that will walk you through eight simple steps to create and sustain Caring Circles within your organization.
Do you have other ideas for creating connection during this time? We would love to hear them! Share your ideas with the FaithIN. We'll share some of your creative ideas for cultivating solidarity among your congregations in a future email, e-newsletter or download.
What the CARES Act Means for Vulnerable Families and Communities
All across the county, in cities like Milwaukee, Detroit and likely Indianapolis (although our state capital hasn't tracked this data—though we should), we are seeing serious racial disparities as people in Black and Brown communities become ill and die at high rates from the coronavirus. For example, Michigan's population is just 15% Black — but 35% of the COVID-19 patients in the state are Black.
The Federal CARES Act, passed by the US Congress, has already left many of us out — including people who pay taxes with an Individual Tax Identity Number (ITIN) or people who don't earn enough to file taxes — and it does not give states the option to cover coronavirus-related treatment and vaccines with no cost-sharing for the uninsured through Medicaid.
This moment is a chance to change our system that has left so many of us behind. States and cities can take action to close the gaps left by the Federal CARES Act and make sure our health and well-being of all — no exceptions — is protected.
Learn what we can do by joining Faith in Action's national clergy and network call, "What the Stimulus Package Means for Our Families and Communities" at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 16. Register to join the call by clicking the button below.
Faith in Indiana has moved all meetings and one-to-ones into the virtual world! We are now using a platform called Zoom for the majority of our meetings. We encourage everyone to download the free Zoom app to your device.
We realize that some of our leaders may not feel comfortable using this new platform yet, and we want to help you get confident! We are offering open virtual office hours so that you can ask low-tech questions and get some practice.
Pop into our 'virtual office hours,' any time between 3 and 5 p.m. ET on Thursdays or 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Fridays.
Virtual office hours are hosted by Adriana Zermeno in Spanish and English. Use the registration buttons below to get a link and connect with Adriana via Zoom during the allotted time slot. We encourage you to register ahead of time when possible.
Ayer, nos recordó el Papa Francisco lo que está en juego en este momento de la pandemia, cuando nos hizo el llamado para ser constructores del cambio y enfocarnos en las voces y las vidas de las personas más afectadas por el virus. Que encarnemos colectivamente su llamado para crear el cambio y vivir en un mundo donde todos sentimos que pertenecemos.
Nuestra comunidad inmigrante e indocumentadas están siendo especialmente expuestas a riesgos a salud, seguridad económica, y protección en los trabajos durante la pandemia COVID-19. La próxima semana, la Alcaldesa de Chicago aseguro beneficios para todos afectados de coronavirus. Queremos lo mismo en Indianápolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, y todo Indiana.
Fe en Indiana es una comunidad unida. En este momento de crisis necesitamos uno al otro mas que nunca. Les Invitamos todos los lideres inmigrantes a una video-conferencia cada Martes a las 7pm para apoyo, información, y acción colectiva.
Faith in Indiana 212 W 10th Street, Suite F-175 Indianapolis, IN 46202 317-759-3370
Faith in Indiana is a 501(c)(3) organization. Faith in Indiana and its chapters are strictly non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for public office. We are not affiliated explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party.