Elkhart, Indiana (Mennonite Mission Network) – Mennonite Mission Network and Center for Community Justice (CCJ) of Elkhart, Indiana, have come together to resource local leaders in supporting people formerly incarcerated and their families. The first workshop, named "Reentry," is planned for Saturday, Dec. 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mission Network offices at 3145 Benham Avenue in Elkhart. Free lunch and refreshments will be offered, and all are welcome to join.
Ann Jacobs, Church Relations representative at Mission Network, initiated this partnership after interviewing local pastors and leaders who expressed hope that the larger community and church could see the fruits of their ministry to former incarcerated citizens and families.
"Listening and learning from pastors is important to my church relations role at Mission Network," said Jacobs, and she describes her main role as strengthening lasting relationships with Mennonite African-American constituency members.
As a result of her deep listening and desire to offer further support, Jacobs has brought together local Elkhart pastors and community leaders, including individuals from CCJ, to share the knowledge they have gained through years of working with people formerly incarcerated.
"It is important to us [Mission Network] to pay attention to what God is doing through local pastors," explained Jacobs. "Serving the Lord may look different in different contexts, and as a mission agency, we are honored to facilitate what God is doing through our local partners."
This first workshop will be joined by local experts, and Don French, Restorative Reentry Services coordinator from CCJ, will offer much of the learning content with seminars that include topics such as "Restorative justice practices," "Building a pyramid of purpose," and "Obstacles to successful reentry." Participants will engage in case studies as well as hear testimonies from experienced local ministries, and explore the different ways that local organizations such as Mission Network and CCJ can offer support.