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Rev. Martha Anne Daniels of Holy Covenant Metropolitan Community Church recently received a grant from the Louisville Institute to pilot a program for LGBTQ+ people who are or have recently been incarcerated.

The Pastoral Study Project Grant Program awarded Daniels the $15,000 grant to launch a program called Rainbow Bridges: Spiritual Advocacy by MCC for LGBTQ+ People on the Inside. Holy Covenant MCC is located in Brookfield, Illinois.

“My goal is to create a structure for MCC to set up a ministry with LGBTQ+ people who are or have been incarcerated, a template that other progressive faith traditions may use to create their own such ministries,” Daniels said. “I’m excited by this undertaking and am very appreciative to the Louisville Institute for recognizing our vision.”

In 2019, Daniels spearheaded a survey of incarcerated LGBTQ+ people to assess their spiritual needs; the new program is the next step.

“MCC is committed to reaching beyond the church doors to make a lasting difference in people’s lives and in the community at-large,” said Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, moderator of MCC churches. “We congratulate Rev. Daniels on this grant and look forward to supporting her in this important work.”

Through its Pastoral Study Project program (PSP), the Louisville Institute enables pastoral leaders to bracket daily work routines in order to pursue a pressing and significant question for the life of faith. Grants of up to $15,000 support independent or collaborative study projects -- projects that privilege pastoral perspectives and rhythms and honor grassroots research conducted by skilled clergy. PSP grantees use a variety of platforms to share what they learn with a wider audience, extending their leadership in ways that benefit the broader church and culture in North America.

Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment and is based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky). The Institute's fundamental mission is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians and to encourage the revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other.

To learn more about MCC or to find a nearby church, visit www.VisitMCCChurch.com.

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