The NBA connects collaborative communities of Disciples working together on particular health and social service justice issues. Through the NBA Prison and Jail Ministries, we focus on supporting congregations and individuals as they engage in prison- and jail-related ministries, and connecting conversations across Disciples-related ministries in order to strengthen this work.
"It seems that creative, innovative methods for an obviously dysfunctional criminal justice system are now necessary...together, we can explore and exchange new ideas and approaches." --Rev. Dean Bucalos, Mission Specialist, NBA Prison and Jail Ministries
The work of the Prison and Jail Ministries Affinity Group centers around inspiration, advocacy, and education, including:
- Participation in events such as Ecumenical Advocacy Days and the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition
- Sponsorship of Resolution GA-1723, "On Becoming Immigrant-Welcoming Congregations," which was adopted as a Sense-of-the-Assembly Resolution at the 2017 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Sponsorship of Resolution GA-1525, "A Call to End Solitary Confinement," which passed as an Item for Reflection and Research at the 2015 General Assembly
- Educational workshops at General Assembly and other regional events
- A Facebook group to help members stay connected and up-to-date on these important issues
Within this network of nearly 400 members, we convened a smaller Prison and Jail Ministries Peer Group of 11 leaders to meet for two years, in-person and virtually, to cultivate encouragement, dialogue, spiritual renewal, and peer-to-peer learning. This group concludes their time together in April 2018, after which a second cohort will be formed, intending to focus their attention on the issue of immigration detention.
Stories and Resources
Learn more and engage with NBA Prison and Jail Ministries through:
- Our blog series, discussing important justice issues and highlighting a variety of ministries that are making an ongoing difference in this work
- Our webinar series, exploring topics such as mass incarceration, mentoring programs for returning citizens, the use of prolonged solitary confinement, juvenile justice and restorative justice, and the connections between mental illness and incarceration, and safe sanctuary protocols, among others.
- NBA's "Called to Care" eNewsletter, a monthly email featuring stories across Disciples health and social service ministries - sign up here!
- Rev. Monica Wedlock Kilpatrick, Director of Connect Ministries
- Rev. Dean Bucalos, Mission Specialist, Prison and Jail Ministries
- Rev. Héctor J. Hernández, Peer Group Convener, Prison and Jail Ministries
Much of this work cannot be accomplished without the collaboration and encouragement of our ministry partners: Reconciliation Ministry, Disciples Center for Public Witness, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Home Missions, UCC Justice and Witness Ministries, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Additionally, we're pleased to also work with ministry partners like Mission Behind Bars and Beyond and UrbanMission through the NBA Incubate Initiative. We look forward to deepening our partnerships and shared work in the coming year!
To learn more and get involved, please contact Rev. Dean Bucalos, Mission Specialist for NBA Prison and Jail Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or complete the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!