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McCormick Theological Seminary receives grant to aid people impacted by incarceration

Grant from College and Community Fellowships will bolster seminary’s justice initiatives

by McCormick Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Jenny McBride

CHICAGO — McCormick Theological Seminary has been awarded a grant from College and Community Fellowships’ THRIVE program to cultivate a hospitable environment for persons directly impacted by the carceral system.

College and Community Fellowships (CCF) is a not-for-profit organization based in New York that helps individuals impacted by the carceral system obtain college degrees. CCF has three program areas designed to support individual, systemic, and institutional change. THRIVE, its national training program, provides customized training rooted in evidence-based and promising practices that CCF has used over 20 years.

THRIVE aims for institutional change by training many agency types that justice-involved people navigate: colleges and other institutions of higher education, community-based organizations, businesses, corrections counseling staff, private organizations and reentry organizations. This will be THRIVE’s first time working with a theological seminary, and McCormick officials said they’re grateful for this new partnership.

“This is an exciting opportunity to support the work McCormick is doing through our Solidarity Building Initiative,” said Dr. Jenny McBride, Associate Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs and Continuing Education and Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics. “Our hope is that the students in the Certificate in Theological Studies at Cook County Jail might continue their studies on site at McCormick upon reentry, should they choose to do so, and that they might take advantage of other opportunities to participate in the seminary community. I’m confident it will be a helpful resource as we move forward in all our justice inspired initiatives.”

According to a seminary news release, in faculty and staff meetings last year, the desire to provide time for conversation and training that would enhance the seminary’s ability to create such an environment was discussed with enthusiasm and purpose.

The THRIVE training series engages with videos, groups activities, readings and conversation. Trainees who participate for the full three weeks will receive a certificate and a supplemental guide containing in-depth information learned in the training for future reference.

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