OUR 2016 ACCOMPLISHMENTS: IN-PRISON MINISTRY

With your help, we were able to hire Rev. Karen Mooney as our part-time minister at UUPMI!  We’re thrilled to have her.  She started in July, and has made invaluable contributions toward organizing us to carry out all the things we’ve promised, and toward getting a professional-quality website up and running  (more on this later).  What we most appreciate about her, though, is her wisdom and unfailing generosity of spirit, guiding us as we undertake this ministry.

Another major accomplishment was creating a 130-page curriculum to be used to facilitate covenant groups inside prisons.  When we offer it in prisons, we call the covenant groups Prayer Circles, in an effort to acknowledge the culture of the prison populace and administration.

We’ll be offering the covenant group curriculum as Circles of Creative Growth in Cook County Jail, starting as soon as next month – we’re just waiting on the jail to specify the time and space.  Volunteers are on hand and have been trained, both by the jail and by UUPMI, so we’re ready to go!  This is an exciting opportunity that we hadn’t anticipated, but we jumped at the chance!  We’ll be starting out with one covenant group there and adding more groups as we get our bearings.

We had hoped to start offering our pilot Prayer Circle in Logan Correctional Center (a women’s prison in Lincoln, IL), starting in July.  It turned out to be much harder than we ever anticipated to get cleared to do ministry inside of Illinois prisons.  Three of us submitted our applications to be religious volunteers at Logan Correctional Center, the women’s prison in Lincoln, IL, in March 2016, but weren’t approved and offered training until October.  A key volunteer was unable to make that training, leaving us unable to go ahead and start the Prayer Circle in October as we had hoped.  The chaplain at Logan anticipates offering the training again in the first quarter of 2017, and Rev. Mooney and the other volunteer will be trained then, making it possible to get up and running there.

We’re really excited to be about to begin!  We’ll be offering the Circle Facilitators’ Training again in January 2017, so if you’re interested in facilitating a covenant group at Logan or Cook County Jail, please contact Marcia Curtis.

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