Through a grant from the Faith in Life commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Spirituality Network initiated two programs on justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity in 2019. Below is a report to the Faith in Life grant committee from the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Initiative (JEDI) of The Spirituality Network, submitted by Renee Wormack-Keels, Executive Director of the Spirituality Network.

Early in 2019, the board of The Spirituality Network initiated a new committee to review how the vision and mission objectives were actually achieved. Justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity are key factors in how we live out the vision and mission.

Two programs initiatives were established.

1.    400 years of Africans in America: I Am An Answered Prayer was designed to acknowledge and celebration to history and contributions of Africans in America since 1619.  Numerous partners was sought to insure and inclusive and diverse collaborative base.  Our partners included The Ohio History Connection, National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center, ADAMH, The Methodist Theological School of Ohio, The Diocese of Southern Ohio, Dominican Sisters of Peace,, and the Ohio Conference United Church of Christ.  The event was held on August 23, 2019.

2019 marked the 400th year anniversary of the arrival of captured and enslaved Africans in America.  The historical significance of this event is both spiritually and culturally important to our country.  The Spirituality Network wanted to recognize the importance of that time.

On the evening of the event, each partner was publicly recognized and on all publicity materials.

Approximately 220+ community members attended the event and 35 volunteers were recruited to assist with the evening activities.

2.    Exploring the Sacred in the Islamic Tradition.
This event was designed to offer the opportunity for community members to explore, deepen and be enriched in their understanding of the sacred practices in Islamic tradition.  The four sessions were presented by members from the Muslim community, with a focus on Calls to prayer and the significance of praying postures; hearing the Quran in Arabic and English, Islamic art and the spiritual and cultural context of attire of women and men.  was designed to offer an opportunity for the community to learn more about the practice of Muslim Spirituality.  The program was designed to be experiential with the opportunity for participants to be engaged in conversation with the presenters.

Our community partners included the Martin de Porres Center, The Lahore Ahmadiyya Islamic Society of Columbus, The Diocese of Southern Ohio, Over 60 Learning, Safe Alliance of Interfaith Leaders (SAIL).

Approximately 65 community members attend the event on November 17, 2019 at the Martin de Porres Center, supported by 15 volunteers.