February 2017

Faith & Action Project e-news

February 2017

Spread the Word


Fact of the Month
“One in three children born today and every day in Marion County are born in homes that operate at or below the federal poverty level.” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, speaking at the January 24 Faith & Action luncheon.

Just over eight months ago, Christian Theological Seminary announced a new initiative to fight poverty. Four months later, that initiative—the Faith & Action Projectfilled Clowes Memorial Hall for a community conversation featuring New York Times columnist David Brooks and national talk show host Tavis Smiley. Since then the Faith & Action Project has hosted well-attended luncheons and conversations with a diverse and enthusiastic collection of Indianapolis faith, nonprofit and community leaders.

That’s a pretty quick uptake for a new project, and we interpret that rapid community engagement as affirmation that Indianapolis is anxious to resolve the root causes of poverty.

In March, this effort will reach its next milestone, as we host the inaugural Faith & Action Project Spring Conference (see the agenda below). This event will provide attendees with an opportunity to hear more about local poverty, as well as local and national best practices in the fight against poverty. To maximize our efforts, we are asking our collaborators to help us ensure that we reach as wide an audience as possible.

Please mark your calendar now for the March 14th Faith & Action Project Spring Conference. Invite others to attend. Forward this e-newsletter to colleagues with a note of encouragement. Urge nonprofit and faith organization leaders to register. Promote it on your social media sites (find sharable information here). Spread the word any way you can.

We appreciate that you have engaged with us in this ambitious undertaking, and we look forward to working with you – and those who come through your invitation – to improve opportunities for all Indianapolis residents.


Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project

Conference Agenda Set

The Faith & Action Project Spring Conference will offer a full day of engagement and enlightenment. Speakers ranging from an Indianapolis deputy mayor to nationally recognized authors and organizers will challenge and inspire attendees, laying the groundwork for future collaboration and efforts.

The following is an overview of the conference agenda. Click here to register for the conference.

8:30 am  Registration and Gathering. Continental breakfast provided in the Cafe.

9:00 am  Welcome by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

9:10 am  Faith & Action Project vision and overview by Christian Theological Seminary President Matthew Myer Boulton

9:25 am  Doing Good Without Doing Damage. Keynote speaker Robert Lupton will challenge conventional wisdom about fighting poverty. A veteran urban activist and author of the best-selling Toxic Charity, he’ll talk about how to serve the poor in a way that leads to lasting, real-world change. To learn more about his books, click here.

10:15 am  Morning Break. Refreshments provided in the Cafe.

10:30 am  Breakout sessions (Pick one)

Breakout: Systemic Reform. A conversation with David Hampton, Indianapolis’ Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement and Light of the World Christian Church senior pastor. Dr. Hampton has worked as a community advocate both in his hometown of Indianapolis and in Brooklyn, NY, where he served as a pastor of Bethany Baptist Church.

Breakout: Asset-Based Solutions. A conversation with three active practitioners of Asset-Based Community Development: Pastor Damon Lynch of New Prospect Baptists Church in Cincinnati, Keith Wildstyle Pascall, story teller who has led Asset Based Community Development Training and Betsy DelGado, ‎Vice President of Mission Advancement at Goodwill Industries Central Indiana.

Breakout: Equipping Communities. Jodi Pfarr has lived and worked in both rural and urban communities, giving her a keen perspective on the demographics, diversity and unique dynamics within both. She offers audiences the benefit of years of hands-on experience within the criminal justice system, social services, religious institutions and nonprofit organizations. Since 2001, Jodi has worked internationally, conducting seminars that leave attendees learning and laughing. To learn more about Pfarr, click here.

11:30 pm  Lunch and book signings. Boxed lunches served outside Shelton

12:30 pm  Afternoon breakout sessions. Note: Same speakers and rooms as morning breakout session.

1:30 pm  Afternoon Break. Refreshments provided in the Cafe.

1:45 pm  Closing Speaker & Q&A

Fearless Catalysts. Dr. Gregory Ellison believes in the power of provocative conversation and creative engagement, as evidenced by his organization Fearless Dialogues. The Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Ellison will talk about catalyzing community efforts to defeat poverty. Learn more about Dr. Ellison’s approaches at fearlessdialogues.com.

2:35 pm  Music by Eastern Star Church Choir

2:45 pm  Next Steps. A call to action. Invitation for grant applicants to join the grant information session

3:00 pm  Grant information session with Q & A


Registration is quick and easy. Register today!


“Why I Am Going”

In various ways and at various times, the Faith & Action Project has asked faith and community leaders to share why they plan to attend the Faith & Action Project Spring Conference. The responses have been as diverse as the respondents, but all have shared a sense of urgency and a passion for finding real, actionable strategies for combating poverty in Indianapolis.

At a January 24 luncheon, CTS President Matthew Myer Boulton asked attendees to share in a few words their reasons for joining in the fight against poverty. Responses included:

  • “It is time.” Michael Bowling, pastor, Englewood Christian Church
  • “Empowering God’s justice.” Bob Brown, Co-pastor, First Mennonite Church
  • “Together, we can make change happen!” – Tysha Sellers, Edna Martin Christian Center
  • “Our neighbors deserve better.” Matthew Gutwein, President and CEO, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County
  • “Collaboration and outcomes.” Sven Schumacher, Executive Director, Lutheran Child & Family Services
  • “For the impossible to be addressed by God, he often uses man.” Mark Russell, Director of Education and Family Services, The Indianapolis Urban League

Others shared comments by email.

  • “We have to do better.” Jay Height, Executive Director, Shepherd Community
  • “Poverty is but a symptom of inequity, and ending it is possible if we are intentional and committed.” Allison Luthe, Executive Director of the MLK Center
  • “I have a sense that there is also a great need to take a step back and teach our faith communities best practices for what it even means to ‘do justice.’” Pastor Karen Herbst-Kim


The Faith & Action Project has prepared a testimonial video including comments from Kent Kramer of Goodwill, Pitt Thompson of Christamore House and Tysha Hardy-Sellers of the Edna Martin Christian Center. To view Kent Kramer’s video, click here. Then follow CTS on Facebook where other videos will be released as we move closer to the Faith & Action Project Spring Conference.


Register for the Faith & Action Project Spring Conference today!


Disturbing data

Why the Faith & Action Project exists:

  • 1 out of 5: The POLIS Center at IUPUI says 20 percent of Indianapolis-area residents (nearly 200,000 people) live in poverty*.
  • 75,000 children: That figure includes almost 75,000 children (nearly one-third of all children).
  • Above average: These poverty rates are above the national averages.
  • No place to sleep: Each night, nearly 7,000 Circle City children have no home to sleep in.
  • The worst 25: Of the 75 largest cities, we are in the worst 25 in terms of recent growth in childhood poverty.
  • Largest increase: Between 2005 and 2013, Indianapolis saw one of the nation’s largest increases in the percentage of children living in poverty.
  • Concentrated poverty: Since 2005, Indianapolis has seen one of the nation’s highest increases in concentrated poverty. Research shows that residents in such neighborhoods experience higher rates of negative outcomes such as crime, physical and mental health challenges and educational underachievement.
  • Fourth worst: Indianapolis is fourth worst in the nation in terms of the increase in the number of neighborhoods with 40 percent or more impoverished residents.


*”Living in poverty” is defined as a family of four living on an annual income of $24,000 or less, or an individual living on $11,700 or less


Upcoming Mark your calendar for these important dates.

March 14

All-day Faith & Action Spring Conference at Christian Theological Seminary
(required for grant applicants) Register today!

March 22

Faith & Action Grant application info session 5:00 – 7:00 pm. (optional)

May 1

Project profiles due for grants

June 30

Grant applications due


Three grant recipients announced

Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street | Indianapolis, IN 46208
Phone: (317) 931-2336  |  Fax: (317) 923-1961  |  Email: LRabinowitch@cts.edu  |  Web: www.cts.edu

E-news Subscriptions © Copyright 2017 Christian Theological Seminary - All rights reserved.