Thursday, March 27, 2014

A View from a Liaison

Bonnie Block is the liaison representing St. John's Lutheran Church
According to the MALC website:  MALC was formed in 1970 in response to a request by Madison Mayor Otto Festge, who believed that the area's Lutheran Churches could work together to provide common ministry, including serving people incarcerated in the Dane County Jail as well as people worldwide through support of international aid agencies. I realized the "support of international aid agencies" is why MALC coordinates the annual box car loading of quilts for Lutheran World Relief. (For more info and the chaplain's blogs see
Over half of the Jail Ministry is funded through contributions from 43 congregations (ELCA, LCMS and UCC) and the rest through individual gifts and fund raising events like the Quilt Auction and a "Jazz for the Jail" concert (mark your calendars for the 2014 concert on June 8th.) 
There were interesting reports from Chaplains John Mix and Julia Weaver on their work.  Julia also staffs the Backyard Mosaic Women's Project which meets weekly at St. John's.  It is a support group for women just released from the Jail or in the Huber work release program.  We also heard the stories of two people who have been jailed and how the Jail Ministry helped them turn their lives around.  Another speaker was Christa Fisher who is the first ever Clinical Pastoral Education student with MALC.  Also working with the chaplains is Brittany Seyller, a UW-Madison intern with the jail mental health staff.
The Wish List of things needed by inmates is: small packs of colored pencils, composition notebooks for journaling (nothing with spirals), stamped envelopes, stationary items, pencils, current daily readings, recovery books, calendars, reading glasses and greeting cards slipped into the tops of each envelope so no sorting is required. As long as the cold weather lasts the Jail could also use winter coats for people who are being released from the Jail.  Julia is also asking for prayer shawls for women who are going into treatment programs.  You can bring any of these items to the church office at St. John's.  
In closing let me share this prayer/poem included in Julia's written report and compiled from the stated intentions of the Women's Spirituality Group that meets inside the Jail:
Oh God,
I need everything!
To learn to love & be loved
To forgive myself & others
To let go
To remember your favor
To remember that you love me in spite of myself,
Who I am & and what I have done
& in the face of my enemies
May I be mindful
May I listen
May I be open
May I come closer to You
May my faith continue to grow
Put more love & pardon for others in me
Help me practice listening, hearing & discerning
Help me fast for a greater connection with You
Today, may we be safe together
& learn for each other