Since the beginning of this year our jail ministry has been incredibly full of life. Every week we have visitors from the community joining groups, such as Women's/Men's Beginnings. These groups are available to individuals who have Huber work release privileges or have been released and want to continue their support. New volunteer opportunities have flourished from those who visit from the community. For example, we have a woman who leads writing groups now bringing writing prompts to our Women's Beginnings group. When we share what we have written in response we see how these prompts deepen and expand our conversations. We have also begun fruitful conversations around the 6 core values of the Dane County Sheriff's Office. These intriguing conversations also occur at our Women's Beginnings Group with a staff member from the jail. The 6 core values are:
We approach each value by defining what it means to us individually, within the jail setting and then hear from the attending staff what it means to and how it is practiced by the Dane County Sheriff's Office.
I recently came across a term used by Irene Sullivan, retrieving souls. I believe our conversations are part of that work. As a chaplain the responsibility is to create a place of safety for individuals to participate in the retrieving of their souls. They have been lost to their own sense of spirituality and they need a companion/s on their journey. A young women who has been a regular participant describes it like this:
I enjoy going to Beginnings because…[I] get to know…a bit more about another woman who [I] may not have known otherwise. Also I feel like it helps me open up about myself and share my story a bit too.
Conversations, retrieving our souls, sharing our stories.
Gratitude to all who support this ministry.