Tennessee Faith & Justice Summit: Connecting Faith Communities with Legal Resources
April 17, 2018
Have you ever had someone in your community come to you unsure where to turn for help, who was worried they were going to lose their home due to seemingly insurmountable debt, or who sought refuge from an abusive partner, or who was unsure how to care for an elderly family member? Were you confident that you knew all the resources to help them find affordable legal help?
Legal issues can be frightening and difficult to address, and many people turn to their faith leaders for answers and guidance, often because the faith leader is trusted in a way that the legal community is not. This can be particularly true for disadvantaged and low-income individuals who may feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the legal system. They do not turn to the legal system for solutions because they feel help is not to be found, or because they may not even understand that there are legal solutions to the problems they face.
The Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance works with faith leaders and partner houses of worship to train faith leaders to know the legal resources available in their community, be able to identify legal issues and make referrals, and to tailor various pro-bono projects to the needs of their communities. Examples of partner projects include in-house clinics, referral networks, partnering high-needs houses of worship with high-resources houses of worship, and legal information presentations.
The Tennessee Faith & Justice Summit is an opportunity specifically designed for faith leaders and clergy to come together to help the members of their communities by building roads to justice in faith communities. The summit will include plenary speakers, legal resource training sessions, a panel of faith leaders from across the state who have implemented faith and justice programs at their houses of worship, and breakout discussion groups, all with the goal of helping participants consider how they may implement programming in their congregations.
When: April 17, 2018
Registration begins at 9 a.m. The conference will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: The Sewanee Inn, 1235 University Ave, Sewanee, TN 37375
Tuition: There is no charge to attend. Register here.
Who Should Attend?
- Clergy and lay leaders from high-needs congregations of any denomination.
- The Rt. Rev. Brian Cole, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee;
- Cornelia A. Clark, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and Access to Justice liason;
- The Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Senior Pastor, New Convenant Christian Church, Nashville;
- Andre Crismon, Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands;
- Kirsten Jacobsen, J.D., Equal Justice Works Fellow, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.
Please join us for this informative day of presentations, discussions, and workshops. Thanks to a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, admission is free of charge.
The Tennessee Faith & Justice Alliance (TFJA) is a project of the Access to Justice Commission, a program of the Tennessee Supreme Court. It is an alliance of faith-based groups in Tennessee who commit to providing legal resources to their congregations and communities. TFJA was created to align needs seen in houses of worship at the local level with possible legal resources that are nearby, perhaps even within the same congregation. The goal of the project is to connect with people in need in a place they already go to seek help with a problem. That place is quite often their place of worship. It operates on a referral model that is designed to pair volunteer lawyers with congregants in need. Other projects range from traditional free legal clinics to community education workshops.