The Have Faith Initiative is comprised of Springfield and Greene County faith leaders who convene virtually to help coordinate the faith community’s response to the COVID 19 health crisis.

This initiative is being led by the City of Springfield and “Philanthropy Row”: Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, and United Way of the Ozarks. Reverends Jenn Simmons of National Avenue Christian Church and Bob Roberts of Second Baptist Church serve as co-chairs.

The group was started when the City and County requested assistance after an initial Zoom call with around 30 faith-based organizations revealed members of area congregations had a strong desire to work together and participate in the community’s response to virus control and crisis recovery.

Now, congregational leaders meet bi-weekly via Zoom to discuss how they are serving their membership and various community outreach efforts. During the meeting the group hears updates from City and County leaders, including timely information from the Greene County Health Department.

A coordinated effort around four charges:

  • Conducting “supplies drives” to collect and allocate items that nonprofits need to best serve the most vulnerable in our community
  • Coordinating support for our community’s spiritual and mental health
  • Determine how our community can best come together in faith during this time of physical distancing requirements
  • Serving as a communication conduit, both from faith leaders to civic leaders and from civic leaders to faith leaders
portrait of clay goddard
Clay Goddard

Former Director, Springfield-Greene County Health Dept.

“In times of crisis, it is only natural to look to our spiritual leaders from all faith traditions to help guide us through difficult times. It was very hard for me to ask that we stop congregating, even at places of worship, however, I felt supported and understood by the faith community. To be able to discuss what’s on my mind and hear what questions and advice they have on a weekly basis, is both comforting and helpful. Springfield and Greene County are unique and wonderful places. We will all get through this together.”

portrait of harold bengsch
Harold Bengsch

Former Greene County Commissioner

“In addition to finding innovative ways to minister to their flocks, the faith community has joined in meeting needs of the community at large by individually and collectively providing tons of food and other necessary supplies during this crisis. This group has also become an extension of government and health leaders in implementing the message of the importance of physical distancing.”