CHICAGO (July 22, 2020)—Each year the Love Mercy Do Justice mission priority provides grants to ministry projects that seek individual and community transformation through or alongside the local church. Ministries are invited to apply for a Ministry Development Grant, and recipients are selected based on their project’s alignment to five core values:
- Biblical and prophetic witness toward the kingdom of God
- Involvement and empowerment of the local community
- Celebrating and serving alongside image-bearers at the margins
- Transformative justice
- Congregational partnership
LMDJ is pleased to announce the following grant recipients for 2020:
Parkland Restorative Justice—For more than 40 years, Gateway Covenant Church in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, has participated in developing this thriving ministry. The project seeks to restore men both inside and outside the walls of correctional facilities.
One initiative of Parkland Restorative Justice pairs a man inside a correctional facility with someone on the outside to foster healthy friendships and establish a community beyond the walls. A second initiative, Circles of Support and Accountability, was developed when Parkland Restorative Justice recognized that people who had been imprisoned for sexual offenses seemed to have little to no support as they transitioned out of the institution. Seth Michael, coordinator of the initiative, says, “Our goal is to help change the situation which may have led to the offender to offending.” Circles of Support and Accountability aims to provide a healthy community—a “circle”—around released men who fall into this category, offering accountability and support for their basic and emotional needs.
One Body Collaboratives—First Covenant Church in Rockford, Illinois, partners with this project to bring together various sectors of the community, focusing on reducing generational poverty by walking with program participants as they move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Partners are invited to change their thinking about how they provide services to those in poverty. When individuals, institutions, and the community are educated in the process, a holistic shift can occur that provides lasting impact in moving people from poverty to stability.
Covenant Youth Collision partners with a network of Covenant congregations on the North Side of Chicago to invest in the spiritual formation of children and youth through training, ministry events, small group discipleship, and purposeful leadership opportunities.
Healing Grove Health Center, through Shalom Iglesia del Pacto and the River Church in San José, California, has a simple strategy to provide holistic healthcare to the whole community. For every paying member, two underserved neighbors have access to the same premier level of concierge care. This concierge care plan offers health care, soul care, and culture care to the community.
New Community Outreach—Building on the ministry of New Community Covenant Church Bronzeville in Chicago, this project works collaboratively with residents and organizations to relieve the impact and reduce the causes of physical and emotional trauma while elevating opportunities for community equity and individual flourishing.
Open Door Immigration Services—Partnering with Highrock Church in Salem, Massachusetts, ODIS serves their immigrant neighbors by providing affordable immigration legal services. The paperwork and cost of the US citizenship process can be daunting. As a result, many people choose to retain their permanent resident status rather than pursue citizenship. ODIS recognizes that US citizenship not only increases residents’ chances to advance at work, but also opens additional employment opportunities. This ministry offers poverty-level residents access to citizenship clinics.
“It is a tremendous blessing to fund creative initiatives when our churches partner with their communities to bring transformational justice to the neighborhood where God has planted their church,” says Ramelia Williams, director of ministry initiatives. “LMDJ exists to join God in making things right in our broken world, and we envision the administration of the annual Ministry Development Grant as an important part of this mission. We offer heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors who want to see the abundance of God’s holistic love and justice made available for all God’s people.”
For more information on ways to collaborate with Love Mercy Do Justice by either applying for a grant or giving to support other initiatives like these, please contact Ramelia Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.