West Chester, PA (April 10, 2023) – St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Oxford will be able to make important safety and security upgrades thanks to $150,000 in state grant funding, state Senator Carolyn Comitta announced today. 

“Members of all faith communities deserve an opportunity to gather safely and peacefully,” Comitta said. “With this funding, St. Christopher’s can upgrade its facilities to help ensure stronger safety measures and give additional peace of mind to its worshippers. 

St. Christopher’s will use the grant award for an upgraded entryway, protective lighting, stronger doors and windows, and new locks. 

As an Episcopal Church, the congregation is known for its inclusivity, particularly as it relates to welcoming the LGBTQIA community and performing same-sex weddings.

The funding was awarded through the Pennsylvania Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program which provides grants to nonprofit organizations that principally serve individuals, groups, or institutions that often face bias and hate crimes. Eligible grant projects include a variety of measures to enhance security ranging from equipment and technology upgrades to planning, threat awareness, and response training. 

While serving as a state representative, Comitta voted for legislation (Act 83 of 2019) that created the program. As a state senator, she has continued to support funding it.

Eligible applicants are included within a bias motivation category for single-bias hate crime incidents as identified by the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics publication. The categories include race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. 

This is the second round of funding awarded during this fiscal year. In December, more than $137,000 was awarded to six Chester County non-profits for security upgrades through the program.