Over the next few blogs, I will highlight the work of female clergy in Prison Ministry. Today, we will take a look at the work of Minister Fela Barrueto, National Coordinator, Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry, American Baptist Home Missions Societies.
A native of Peru, Minister Fela Barrueto began her work with then, ABC National Ministries in 1996. While attending Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, earning a masters degree in Theological Studies, she worked in various administrative support positions, including the NEW LIFE 2010 initiative and Hispanic and Portuguese-speaking ministries.
I had the privilege of meeting Minister Fela about a year ago. A beautiful, humble spirit, Minister Fela speaks with great compassion and enthusiasm regarding the plight of the incarcerated, their families and the struggles they face as they seek to re-enter society. Although I have not yet done a personal interview with Minister Fela, I have observed her dedication, love and support for the incarcerated. She is currently helping our local Cleveland Baptist Association to initiate a task force for prisoner re-entry and aftercare within our churches.
Portions of the information below is taken directly from the American Baptist Website, http://www.abc-usa.org/ under “Justice Ministries.”
Here are some tragic statistics Minister Fela shares...
“The reality of incarceration is not only painful and devastating, but also closer to us than we would like to admit. By the end of 2009, more than 1.6 million people were reported to be behind bars, either in state or federal prisons.
Prison population in the United States by the end of 2009: 1,613,656
Parents of minors: 809,800
Almost 11/2 million minors have a parent in prison.
More than 7.3 million individuals in the United States are either on probation or parole or in jail or prison.
This means that one in every 31 adults is under correctional control in the United States.
Total U.S. adult population: 232,403,959
Correctional population: 7,410,685
The prison system is the fastest growing industry in America. The system is also facing financial crisis and, therefore, opting for early releases at an extremely growing rate. Are our communities prepared for this huge influx of returning citizens? Are our churches ready to open their doors and welcome individuals that deserve a second chance? Are we prepared to deal with the conflicts caused by having victims and perpetrators entering to the same place of worship?”
Family Freedom Kit: “What Shall We Then Do?”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies has adopted The Family Freedom Kit: “What Shall We Then Do?” to share with churches to help them produce healing communities. Designed to prepare churches and communities to open their doors to returning citizens and their families, this holistic tool is available at no cost.
· Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry Toolkit
· The Christian Citizen
If you would like more information or believe that God is calling you to get involved, here’s how reach Minister Fela Barrueto:
National Coordinator, Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Services
Telephone: 800-ABC-3USA, x2493
Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
If you are currently serving in a prison ministry or have a testimony or praise to share concerning ministry to the incarcerated, post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,