The Madison Christian Giving fund is supporting the Madison Area Lutheran Council (MALC) Jail Ministry in 2016. The Jail Ministry, a ministry of presence in the Dane County Jail, serves the spiritual needs of the men and women who are incarcerated, their families and communities. Sixty to eighty percent of the inmates have substance abuse issues while another 20% have mental health challenges. The Jail Ministry employs two chaplains who function as the pastors of the nearly 800 men and women incarcerated in the jail each day.
The chaplain’s job is to remind people who are in a restricted, isolated, sterile, hopeless environment that God is present, even in the jail. The chaplains live Christ’s gospel each time they enter the jail…“When I was in prison, you visited me.” Matthew 25:35&36.
The Jail Ministry logo illustrates their mission and how it relates to Christ’s gospel. The blossoming flower represents hope, perseverance and love for new life. As the shackles of past lives and poor choices are broken, wisdom, forgiveness, faith and love grow. The mosaic hands speak to diversity. People from every walk of life are impacted by incarceration. This rich diversity of life experience informs the spiritual journeys of every person who is seeking a closer relationship with God. The handcuffs represent both the literal shackles of physical confinement and the figurative prisons of self-doubt, shame and self-loathing. The hands and the flower breaking free of the circle represent the limitless possibilities when we bring faith, hope and love into the challenging process of re-entry.
This unique program (the only one of its kind in the state of Wisconsin) provides funding for the salaries of two chaplains, a part-time volunteer and community relations coordinator, and a part-time administrative assistant/bookkeeper. Incarceration can be a time of deep personal examination and reflection; people may want to make changes, but don’t know how. To people who are searching for answers, the chaplains provide spiritual care, conduct religious services, lead scripture readings and reflections, run groups, and distribute Bibles and other spiritual reading materials, e.g. Our Daily Bread.
The volunteer and community relations coordinator provides outreach to local churches, manages the church liaison program and coordinates and works cooperatively with many other Christian volunteers that visit the jail. “This kind of collaboration is one reason the Madison Christian Giving Fund is supporting the Jail Ministry,” says Scott Haumersen, Chairman of the FUND. The MALC is governed by an Executive Committee, comprised of both clergy and laity, from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and United Church of Christ (UCC). These synods and denominations, along with other area congregations and nonprofits are the primary source of financial support for the Jail Ministry. The ecumenical nature of the organization is also unique.
Jail Ministry representatives meet with local congregations, sharing the mission and ministry of the Jail Ministry and seeking financial and volunteer support.
Tina Hogle, Vice Chair, Madison Area Lutheran Council, adds, “It is our hope that in 2016, with hard work and persistence, we will have encouraged additional congregations to support the ministry as well as strengthen the relationship we have with the congregations that currently support MALC. During that time, we will also build and strengthen our partnerships with other faith-based organizations that share the mission of the Jail Ministry, such as Madison Outreach Ministries, MOSES, Madison Area Urban Ministry, and Nehemiah.”
For more information contact
2 Round Hill Cir.
Madison, WI 53717