Field Guide Set & Trainings For Engaging Faith Communities
In March 2014, NDIN and the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture published two new national tools, a Field Guide and a Religious Literacy Primer for crises, disasters and public health emergencies. The Field Guide is a how-to resource for engagement and partnerships, while its companion Religious Literacy Primer is an at-a-glance quick reference on twenty-four of the largest faith traditions in the United States. Using these tools, NDIN offers trainings to government and non-profit organizations seeking to enhance their religious literacy, competency and ability to engage faith communities as partners.
Field Guide:
Working with U.S. Faith Communities During Crises, Disasters, and Public Health Emergencies: A Field Guide for Engagement, Partnerships, and Religious Competency is a guide for engaging and building sustainable and competent partnerships with faith communities throughout the entire disaster lifecycle.  The American religious landscape of 2014 is more complex and diverse than it has ever been in the past.  The Field Guide provides guidance and best practices on how to approach religious leaders, congregations and faith-based organizations that make up this landscape to build durable, institutional relationships, and develop sustainable, faith-based emergency preparedness and response programs.

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Field Guide: Primer
The Religious Literacy Primer for Crises, Disasters, and Public Health Emergencies is a quick-reference tool providing at-a-glance information on basic religious literacy for 24 of the largest religious communities in the United States.  It is geared toward enabling emergency managers, public health officials, first responders, voluntary agencies, and others involved in disaster response and recovery to understand how faith communities and emergency management intersect. The Primer can guide practitioners in their interactions within disaster-affected communities by moving beyond simplistic understandings of religious beliefs and practices to provide guidance for physical interaction/etiquette, religious symbols, information on holidays, dietary restrictions, and provision of post-disaster mass care including feeding, shelter, medical treatment, and mental health care and spiritual care.

To Download PDF: High Resolution - Low Resolution - Web Resolution
NDIN (and the USC Center for Religious & Civic Culture) offer both an orientation workshop called Principles of Religious Literacy & Competency and a Religious Literacy & Faith Community Engagement Training course. These courses are designed for emergency management and public health/disaster mental health practitioners—as well as VOAD agencies and partners. They provide an orientation to basic religious literacy and competency as well as a basic or intermediate practical training in disaster management specific religious literacy and competency as well as faith community engagement.

1) Principles of RELIGIOUS LITERACY & COMPETENCY (Workshop or 60-90 Minutes)
This workshop training provides an overview of religious literacy and competency and its importance in crises, disasters, and public health emergencies. Participants will not only receive an overview of these terms but also walk away with practical tips and resources to improve their own levels of religious literacy.
Training Topics:
      • What is religious literacy and competency
      • Why are religious literacy and competency necessary?
      • The current state - where we are today
      • The evolving American religious landscape ecology and its sectors
      • Introduction to religious terminology, acronyms, symbols, clothing, and guidelines
      • Where to go for further resources


This training provides an introduction to Religious Literacy as well as a strategic framework for successfully engaging faith communities during crises, disasters, and public health emergencies—including how to develop a faith community engagement plan.
Orientation Topics:
      • The role of government and faith communities in disaster
      • Ways that government and faith community partnerships can create new possibilities leading to
        faster, more effective, and more sustainable recovery
      • The evolving American religious landscape ecology and its sectors
      • A step-by-step framework and guide for faith community engagement
      • Best practices and considerations for more effective engagement
      • Further resources and tools for faith community engagement

3) CUSTOMIZED COURSES in Religious Literacy & Faith Community Engagement
NDIN and the USC Center for Religion & Civic Culture will customize materials upon request.

For more information, or to arrange a training, contact us at


26 Disaster Tip Sheets for U.S. Religious Leaders

Developed to assist religious leaders from any faith traditions, these tools address all-hazards
preparedness and planning and cover topics from across the entire disaster lifecycle, such as how commissioned or lay leaders and/or their congregations can respond to crises, including how to
coordinate volunteers, manage donations, provide mass care, attend to spiritual and mental health needs, and continue their many services post-disaster.

5 Disaster Tip Sheets for Faith Community Partners

This set of tip sheets for government and private sector partners are provided to inform religious literacy, cultural competency and reasonable religious accommodation mandates for U.S. Mass Care providers, and to assist staff and volunteers in competently meeting the needs of the five largest religious minorities during sheltering.

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