Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Our guest today is the Rev. Ann Perrott, a specialist in prison ministry who has facilitated healing courses in four different prisons.
Ann comes to us from Massachusetts, though she lives in southeastern Connecticut now. She earned her first degree in speech pathology from Emerson College and her first career was as a social worker with developmentally disabled adults. After discerning a call to ordination, she attended EDS in Cambridge, Mass, graduating with an M.Div. in 2013, and was later ordained to the priesthood. She has served several interim positions and in January 2019 will begin serving as conditional priest in charge at Christ Church, Middle Haddam. In this episode, however, Ann will talk to us about prison ministry, and her work as president of New Life Ministry of Southeastern Connecticut.
We began with finding out what “New Life Ministry of Southeastern Connecticut” is – it’s a program for women coming out of York Correctional Institution, in Niantic. They providing transitional housing via some apartments they have – that’s critical - and lots of mentoring – and that’s the other critical component. It’s a selective program and the ultimate goal is for women to become independent of any person or program, reconnect with their families, and be a productive member of society. Most women are able to move on after about six months.
Ann talked about how the program was started about 20 years ago by Tom Moriarty and a group from Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Old Lyme.New Life Ministry is a successor organization, which they navigated collaboratively. Ann’s been with them for two years so far.
We talked about the challenges for the women coming out, including their fears, and heard how Ann and the mentors work with the women to address those. It’s a balancing act, she said.
Ann has been involved with prison ministry for 11 years, both in Massachusetts and in Connecticut. She started with the healing course for men in prison, and described that process; then talked about how she got started with the re-entry program and later, took over as president. Her role has grown to include a current focus on fundraising. (link hereto donate and for other ways to offer support)
Then we went back to more conversation about the women coming out of prison, then the mentors, particularly their sense of hope. She thinks they’re all amazing.
We ended by talking about how this work has an impact on her own spiritual life, and how she sees God in it. And, for ways that people can join in prayer for the women, and the mentors.
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