Mission Behind Bars and Beyond
Winter February 2015 Newsletter
Mission Behind Bars and Beyond to Co-Sponsor Statewide Training Event
MBBB is co-sponsoring the Second Annual Reaching Individuals Beyond & Behind the Bars Conference on March 14th in Louisville, Kentucky.The keynote speaker will be our own Mark Johnson, chair of the MBBB board. Mark recently retired as the Reentry Affairs Coordinator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition, he and Rev. Dean Bucalos will be leading one of the workshops on mentoring. Other workshops will cover topics about jail ministry, collaborating with families of the incarcerated, working with people in recovery, grant writing and prison ministry. In addition, there will be two panel discussions that will include family members of those incarcerated and returning citizens. For more detailed information check the Greater Louisville Reentry Coalition website at www.louisvillereentry.org
New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
New Life In Christ Christian Church Pays it Forward
For two evenings before our worship services in December, the cafeteria at Dismas Charities-Diersen where New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is located was buzzing with activity. A sewing machine was whirring, scissors were cutting, a laminating machine was pressing and tables of women were cutting and sewing and decorating and stuffing Christmas stockings to be given to the children of Wayside Christian Mission, a local homeless shelter. Organized and led by Pastors Tomeka Jacobs and Carol Weiger, both recent graduates of Lexington Theological Seminary, the women of New Life in Christ found a way to celebrate the joy of Christmas giving. Their smiling faces confirmed the gift of paying it forward.
Each woman was able to use her creative talents in designing the stockings and finding Bible verses to be laminated on bookmarks. Donated books and toiletry items were also included in the stockings.
Each evening was followed by worship led by visiting congregations. St. Peter United Church of Christ and Shepherdsville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) both continue to be among many wonderful ministry partners.
Members of Middletown Christian Church's praise band lead worship at New Life in Christ Christian Church
Get Involved! New Life in Christ Christian Church Thrives at Dismas Charities-Diersen
How can you support this ground-breaking ministry?
- Make a financial pledge to sustain ministry.
- Ask your congregation to support Mission Behind Bars and Beyond by including this ministry in your annual budget or by taking a special offering.
- Consider welcoming a returning citizen to your community of faith
- Become a trained member of a Nurture, Support and Accountability Group that mentors returning citizens.
- Come worship with the women at New Life in Christ Christian Church in The Diersen House—all are welcome—every Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.—1218 West Oak Street, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Pray for this ministry and the many lives it will be touching and transforming – both inside and outside the prison.
Consider Making a Gift to Help Support and Sustain Mission Behind Bars and Beyond
From the Pastor's Journal
Journal entry:I begin the day feeling hopeful. Last night at New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was a good one. The women continue to amaze me. They take on their volunteer tasks seamlessly: setting up for worship, registering visitors, making nametags for everyone, serving at the communion table, and it goes on and on. In their prayer concerns, I sensed and heard tension in the house where they are residing. Putting 70 women together in close quarters, most of whom are in recovery, is a recipe for a lot of conflict. Those who came to worship (about a third of the women living there), came seeking and finding an oasis of calm, peace and positive energy. We considered the opportunity to sponsor a resolution calling for the discontinuation of prolonged solitary confinement in prisons and detention centers across the country. The women understood the concern without having to engage in more study or discussion. For them, it was clearly an issue of social justice to be addressed. Some had been in segregation units themselves. Many knew others who had been. "Yes," they said. And they voted unanimously to support a resolution that would protect the dignity and uphold the humanity of others. It was the church being church. Pure and simple. Were that so everywhere. Blessings, Dean.
National Benevolent Association to Host Event at Ecumenical Advocacy Featuring Mission Behind Bars and Beyond
From the Board Chair...
Mission Behind Bars and Beyond continues to grow and serve our incarcerated and formerly incarcerated brothers and sisters. We strive to meet those needs with our services which include the following: mentoring returning citizens, providing worship at New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a variety of classes and book studies at Dismas Charities Dierson, and recruitment of volunteers to work with a Nurture, Support, and Accountability Group (NSAG).
In addition to the above services, we are considering adding pre- and post-release case management. Having worked in the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a case manager, supervisor of case managers, and Reentry Coordinator, I know the value of effective case management while incarcerated, and the importance of continuing with it after release. I feel this is a natural progression for Mission Behind Bars and Beyond as we look for the best tools and evidenced-based practices to assist returning citizens.
The greatest asset of an organization like Mission Behind Bars and Beyond is its volunteers who give of their time and expertise to impact the lives of our church members, residents of Dismas Charities Dierson, and NSAG Core Members. Please consider joining us at worship, volunteering to lead a class, being a member of a NSAG, or donating to Mission Behind Bars and Beyond. Your participation with Mission Behind Bars and Beyond not only impacts the lives of returning citizens, but also their families and our communities as well.
More information on Mission Behind Bars and Beyond can be found at:
Mark Johnson, Board Chair