Religious Studies Blog

Posted on September 25th, 2022 by wheelerr
Man and woman holding an oversized check

Since 2018, Religious Studies professor David Craig has partnered with local congregations serving in neighborhoods across the near northside of Indianapolis. As the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020, he co-led a team with Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden, CEO, Good to the SOUL, to design and facilitate a virtual #HealthyMe learning community for historically-Black and multiracial churches.

This learning community was sponsored by the Monon Collaborative of Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Participating congregations have more than 1,000 years of collective service. We want to celebrate these community partners for their leadership and collaborative support for healthy communities.

Health Advocate Selected for Community Star Award

Mrs. Robin Nichols has been honored with the Community Star Award presented at the 2022 Interfaith Health and Wellness Summit. This award recognizes a faith community leader making a difference for neighbors and the broader community.

With Senior Pastor Jerry E. Davis, III, Crossroads AME Church, Mrs. Nichols is leading the church’s Common Ground Institute, which seeks to “further transformative ministry bringing people into relationships for shared health and greater purpose in serving the community in common with other partners.” Mrs. Nichols led a community-partner initiative to bring COVID-19 vaccine clinics and testing into the Crown Hill and Butler-Tarkington neighborhoods where vaccine “hesitancy” was high and a “pharmacy desert” exists.

Mrs. Nichols’ magnetism helped unite a coalition of community partners—Crown Hill Neighborhood Association, Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, Raphael Healthcare Clinic as well as IU Health, Marion County Health Department, and Indiana State Department of Health. They held two virtual town halls with African-American physicians presenting accurate information and answering community members’ questions. They ran six vaccine clinics, offering COVID-19 tests and vaccinating 234 people, all within underserved neighborhoods. Mrs. Nichols is a truth-teller, creative thinker, natural connector, and can-do genius who always shares her insightful questions and heart for community.

Diverse Churches Unite to Coordinate Community Health and Resources Fair

Sponsored by a two-year grant from IU Health, the four churches in the Collaborative Community of Practice—Allen Chapel AME Church, Broadway United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church North Indianapolis, and Crossroads AME Church and their partners IU Health Congregational Care Network and Good to the SOUL—have organized a free community health and resource fair for Saturday, Oct. 1, 10-2, at the Julia M. Carson Government Center, 300 E. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive. Health care is just one resource needed to live a healthy life, and vendors will offer a variety of services to help families, especially as COVID-19 pandemic relief is tapering off.

“With this fair, we are seeking to build relationships with neighbors and with the vendor organizations providing services for holistic health and quality of life,” said Prof. Craig. “Services will range from free flu shots and COVID-19 boosters to resources for people needing housing or job assistance, or experiencing re-entry from incarceration, all of which support better health.” All are welcome to attend.