Thursday, October 22
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Presbytery of Northern New England
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts
I never set out to be a prison chaplain, and yet I love being with these women in a world that should not exist. I serve as a chaplain at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women, a ministry supported in part by a mission grant from the Presbytery of Northern New England to the Women’s Prison Ministry of the New Hampshire Council of Churches.
I lead worship services and provide pastoral care to these women, who together hear Jesus’ words of “release to the prisoners” and seek to experience the transforming and freeing love of God in Jesus Christ. Beyond the walls and wire fences, I serve as a link—helping congregations in the presbytery connect their mission programs with the needs of women in prison.
Several congregations collect yarn and fabric so that the women can make blankets, scarves, hats, and mittens for area homeless shelters and schools. Many others provide greeting cards for women to write to their families. One congregation has started Caring Closet, which provides clothes, coats, shoes, and backpacks to women being released from prison. The good news for prisoners is that God’s love can be conveyed even in a backpack—and there are compassionate and prophetic disciples across our presbytery eager to answer Jesus’ call to share God’s good news with them in every way possible.
The Presbytery of Northern New England and its 30 congregations are learning together with me how following Jesus leads to caring about prisoners as though we were in prison with them.
—Rev. Beth Richeson, member, Presbytery of Northern New England
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Gracious and loving God, it is one thing for us to hear Jesus proclaim release to the prisoners. It is another, harder thing for us to imagine how we might follow Jesus in this mission. Show us the way, with your compassionate, freeing love. Amen.
Dear Pastor/Chaplain Beth, Your ministry is one I have shared trained by C of C training in Washington DC General Hospital. Many prisons and jails have been a career course. You are in my prayers and those to whom you minister. In the LOVE OF JESUS, ALWAYS.