Announcing news of the Women’s Prison Ministry of NH Council of Churches~
A Letter from Rev. Beth Richeson —
“For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven~”
My time of serving as chaplain at the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women and with the Women’s Prison Ministry of the New Hampshire Council of Churches has come to an end. I have made the difficult, yet necessary, decision to leave New Hampshire to be closer to family.
Serving as Chaplain with the women in prison has been perhaps the most meaningful time of my life. My heart, my eyes, my faith have been opened and expanded and deepened, with God’s help I pray, forever. And I am truly grateful for the connections, support, and prayers of so many faith-full people, congregations, and organizations through the New Hampshire Council of Churches in support of the Women’s Prison Ministry.
This has been an amazing and unique ministry for the NH Council of Churches. It began in 1996, when my predecessor, Rev. Alice Roberts, approached the Board of the NH Council of Churches to financially support, through donations, her time as Chaplain at the NH Women’s Prison, then in Goffstown. In 2006, Alice needed to leave the position and I was then contracted by the NH Council of Churches to serve as the Ecumenical Chaplain for the NH State Prison for Women. In 2013, the NH Department of Corrections finally recognized the need to support the Chaplain position for the women on a part-time basis and at that time, the NH Council of Churches continued to financially support a small portion of the chaplaincy work particularly in the area of connections to congregations. And now, at last, with my leaving, the NH Department of Corrections has recognized the important work of chaplains and the position at the NH Correctional Facility for Women, now in Concord, will become a full-time position within the NHDOC.
Going forward, the NH Council of Churches will remain involved in this important ministry through helping ‘churches be churches’ and serving as a link between the needs of women (and men) in prison and congregations seeking to follow Jesus’ by visiting those in prison through donations to meet those needs. This will be done through continued donations to the NH Council of Churches, both financial and in-kind. Most particularly, I encourage you to donate journals (non-wire composition books) to the NH Council of Churches and Rev. Jason Wells will see that they get to the prison.
And one final request, please pray for God to call the next chaplain for the women. The NHDOC will be posting the position soon. Please contact Rev. Jason Wells, Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches with any questions.
With a grateful and humble heart and many blessings,
Rev. Beth Richeson