At yearend 2015, 2.2 mil of our community was incarcerated and 4.6 mil of our community was living under community supervision (probation/parole). Without adequate support, these persons, their families, or their victims (we, the community) are not able to successfully adjust.
Connecting Grace is an initiative of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Philadelphia Leaders
hip Foundation, that equips faith communities to be agents of healing for families affected by crime, incarceration, criminalization, and stigmatization.
The Connecting Grace Initiative offers the Healing Communities training, which equips communities of faith to:
- Support families dealing with issues of stigma and shame
associated with violence.
- Foster nurturing relationships with the incarcerated.
- Build a non-judgmental culture of forgiveness and reconciliation.
- Assist citizens returning from prison to reduce their risk of recidivism by helping them build productive lives.
Click the next tab for information on this Healing Communities training
Faith communities can play a unique role in healing individuals, families and communities devastated by crime and cycles of incarceration. We can help build a community consensus around the challenges facing families with an incarcerated loved one, as well as the individuals returning home from incarceration. Houses of worship, can serve as resources for transforming neighborhoods into places where family and social support are available to people affected by crime and incarceration.
BECOME A STATION OF HOPE
A congregation/faith community seeking to do more in-depth work may consider becoming a Station of Hope. Stations of Hope are houses of worship with outreach ministries offering a renewed vision of health and vitality for the formerly incarcerated, their families and communities. A congregation does not need to become a Station of Hope to complete the Healing Communities training.
Our training is designed to help the congregation understand, embrace and minister to individuals and their families who are:
- facing court-involved and law enforcement situations, such as arrest, trial, detention or imprisonment;
- processing the experience of being a victim/survivor of a crime; and
- navigating the challenges around community/family reconciliation and reintegration.
Grounded in the principles of unconditional love, transformation and service, Healing Communities training prepares your faith community to do the healing work of reconciliation between those who have caused harm; those who have been hurt; and the community-at-large.
We are excited for you and elated about your desire to become our next 'Station of Hope!'
The Connecting Grace Initiative is a five-part training based on the Healing Communities curriculum of the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation. It is deliverable as a one-day seminar or two-day retreat.
FAITH AND FORGIVENESS—A TRUE STORY
Explores the qualities of forgiveness and mercy through the experience of an individual whose life was irrevocably changed by violence
WHY DO WE CARE? CRIME AND INCARCERATION IN AMERICA
Examines America’s record on imprisonment and its disproportionate affect on people of color
CREATING A HEALING COMMUNITY—THE ROLE OF FAITH LEADERS
Considers various approaches faith leaders can take to inform members about the issues and equip them for service
CREATING A HEALING COMMUNITY—AGUIDE FOR VOLUNTEERS
Familiarizes participants with the criminal justice process and identifies sources of support for incarcerated persons and their families
EXPANDING THE CIRCLE OF HEALING THROUGH ADVOCACY
Examines policy shifts inWashington D.C. and describes ways faith communities can affect public policy
Click the next tab to see more about becoming a “Station of Hope”
- At yearend 2015, an estimated 6,741,400 persons were supervised by U.S. adult correctional systems
- About 1 in 37 adults (or 2.7% of adults in the United States) was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2015
- By yearend 2015, the community supervision population was 4,564,900
- The incarcerated population in 2015 was 2,136,600
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Correctional Populations in the United States, 2015," December 2016
- In 2016 there were 43,864 inmates released
Federal Bureau of Prisons, "Release Numbers," Updated December 2016
- African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons; Ashley Nellis, Ph.D.
These practices of hyper-incarceration: 1) have been unnecessary (society’s response to social ills), 2) have had no impact on public safety (as many as 40% of the incarcerated are there for no compelling public-safety reason), and 3) have negatively affected struggling communities of color.
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On February 24 and 25, 2017, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in partnership with Quinn Chapel AME Church, will host the seminary’s 2017 Black Church Studies Consultation. Mass Incarceration and Restorative Justice: Understanding and Response is the theme for this year’s consultation, which will feature scholars, faith leaders and social justice advocates who will address the complexities of the issues of mass incarceration and how this can be incorporated into the worship and ethical life of the church. Workshops from practitioners and plenary session leaders will provide real-life
working models and tools that can help churches begin to develop ministries to respond to these issues. Renowned social justice advocate Harold Dean Trulear is among the 20 community and faith leaders featured at the event.
Connecting Grace needs your help strengthening the overall fabric of our communities by delivering our Healing
Communities training, which equips faith communities to be agents of healing for families affected by crime, incarceration, criminalization, and stigmatization.
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Your donations not only allow us to provide this vital service, they give Connecting Grace the ability to advocate for systemic change that promotes fair and just treatment of people with the history of incarceration.
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