EDS Announces 2015 Jonathan Daniels Fellows

Episcopal Divinity School is pleased to announce the Jonathan M. Daniels Memorial Fellowship recipients for 2015. The fellowship is awarded annually and provides financial assistance to one or more seminarians seeking to strengthen their theological education through participation in a social movement concerned with important human needs, including, but not limited to, civil rights, community organization, fair housing, immigrant rights, prisoner rights, racial equality, or environmental justice.

The Daniels Fellowship is named in memory of Jonathan M. Daniels, Episcopal Theological School seminarian and civil rights volunteer, who acted upon his conviction that God wanted him to make a Christian witness in the struggle for civil rights and who, in doing so, lost his life.

The 2015 Jonathan M. Daniels Memorial Fellows

William Andrews imageWilliam Andrews
PhD candidate at Chicago Theological Seminary

Project Objective: To offer a religious studies class at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, IL, to encourage civil interfaith dialogue while developing written and oral communication skills.

The class will offer quality, academic religious studies that encourage critical thinking and interreligious dialogue while developing written and oral communication skills in a prison setting. The project will be a platform for “immersion visits” during which clergy and other Christian leaders can tour the prison and observe the class. This raises awareness of the crisis of mass incarceration and humanizes the otherwise abstract issues involved. These visits will assist leaders in overcoming fear and misconceptions about prisoners that might be preventing their active engagement with people affected by incarceration.

The activities will be chronicled on a blog promoted through social media to advocate for increased commitment to the incarcerated by individual Christians, churches, and seminaries. The blog will devote significant space to the publication of prisoner writings on the Bible. Prisoners themselves are the most authoritative witnesses to incarceration and their voices must be included in the struggle.

Together, these efforts will facilitate spaces—virtual and real—for dialogue about mass incarceration that does not ignore or objectify prisoners and encourages a holistic approach to responding as Christians.

 

Molly Lasagna imageMolly Lasagna
MDiv candidate at Vanderbilt Divinity School

Project Objective: To create a compendium of resources for families and loved ones of people currently incarcerated based on those in the greater-Nashville area attempting to navigate the Tennessee Department of Corrections, either for him/herself or on behalf of a loved one.

This project will provide a well-researched, comprehensive online compendium of resources for friends, family members, and supporters of persons undergoing incarceration. The resources will be easily accessed through one website, and will provide help in such areas as contact information (at the federal-, state-, and local levels), templates, and Frequently Asked Questions.

The qualitative research (literature review, interview, focus group) will gather anecdotal information on potential content for the resource and will include feedback at various stages in the development of the work.

The project will gauge “availability” by the ease with which the resources are accessed online, and also by the readability of language used. In addition, informational interviews about these resources will be conducted to ensure the likelihood of using said resources, and what might be changed to make the resources more user-friendly.

 

Waltrina Middleton imageWaltrina Middleton
DMin candidate at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Project Objective: To cultivate a creative art exchange through poetry, spoken word, and visual arts that will connect artists in Palestine and Jordan with young artists in the Black Lives Matter Movement in Cleveland, OH, and Ferguson, MO.

The aim is to build upon a collective commitment in global advocacy and human rights through the arts. Art will serve as a common language to develop a cross-cultural art project.

The artists will be in dialogue and collaboration with one another regarding their socio-cultural climate; their artistic expression to critique, protest, and challenge that climate; and to exchange in creative, intellectual discourse with one another to identify their common grounds and inspire a collective body of work.

The project will celebrate cultural interconnectedness through art and also emphasize interconnections as global citizens, challenging isolation and absenteeism from social justice causes of the other. The project will include the utilization of art as a form of self-expression, social protest, and alliance building and will serve as a form of cultural and socio-economic narrative.