New Beginnings Worshipping Community

A nonprofit organization

$8,458 raised by 40 donors

85% complete

$10,000 Goal

New Beginnings seeks financial assistance to support the ongoing programming and leadership needs of the congregation. The goal is for our pastor to spend less time on month-to-month fundraising and more time on ministry with the women of the congregation, which directly reduces recidivism. 

This year, a call was extended to Pr. Samm Melton-Hill to serve as the Pastor to New Beginnings. In addition to their diverse ministry experiences, they bring along with them a passion for working with people on the margins. They serve as a Chaplain to the greater community of the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, in addition to serving as the Pastor of New Beginnings, a progressive ecumenical Christian community gathering inside the walls of the prison. 

Uniquely, New Beginnings is not an extension of another church or an outside ministry coming to "do ministry." Instead, they are their own congregation, with their own leadership team comprised of women who are incarcerated within the facility. They not only govern their own congregation, but are also the hands and feet of the ministry of the inside. New Beginnings is proud to be the longest consecutively running religious program and the only LGBTQ+ affirming Christian organization within the facility. 

To read more about New Beginnings 2023 Stewardship Campaign, you can read Pr. Samm's Letter to the congregation's supporters here.


Testimonials

New Beginnings parishioners are five times less likely to return to prison within one year of release than the rest of the Denver Women's Correction Facility population. This is the Holy Spirit's most evidence-based work. Lives are transforming inside the prison, as well as the lives of their parents, their children, and their future communities.


The lowered recidivism rate speaks volumes of how New Beginnings significantly transforms who our women are, both inside the prison and after they are released. Having a full-time pastor literally is transforming their lives from shattered brokenness to wholeness through the love of Jesus Christ.


Pr. Samm writes: "A woman I speak with often, shared a story with me that I believe emphasizes the importance of this radical inclusivity and she has graciously allowed me to share this with you. She shared that when she is walking throughout the facility, she can feel others staring at her, making comments about her, and judging her constantly due to the nature of her criminal offense. Even within the confines of a prison, there remain insiders and outsiders within the community. However, she spends most Sundays not only attending NBWC service, but also serving in the role as a communion assistant. She noticed that people who won’t speak to her any other time, will not only make eye contact with her during service, but will take communion from her without hesitation. This is the radical hospitality that Jesus preached about and practiced at the Table. During the Eucharist each Sunday, this is what we mean by partaking in a meal “that tasted of freedom.” At NBWC, there is a freedom found in Christ, even when there is a number assigned to you by the state stamped on your chest."

Mission

Together we are able to transform shattered lives from walking in fearful isolation to restored wholeness with the love of Jesus Christ.

Background Statement

New Beginnings was planted inside the Denver Women's Correctional Facility (DWCF) in 1999. It was a collaborated effort between an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) pastor and the then Volunteer Services Administrator and the Warden at DWCF. All involved saw a need for a mainline denominational presence inside the prison. It continues to be member congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA.

It began with an idea, five parishioners, and a part-time pastor. New Beginnings is now in its 24th year inside DWCF and is still the only mainline denominational ministry. It's the only ministry with a full-time pastor on site, not just visiting from another church.

New Beginnings has been a robust ministry over the years, holding Bible Study, writing workshops, financial planning workshops to prepare for re-entry to society, and collecting cards from area churches so inmates can send cards to their loved ones. New Beginnings women also practice their own philanthropy through their tithing, supporting organizations outside the prison, or causes inside the prison, to help the women they are living with day to day.

While staffing levels inside DWCF (and across CDOC) are presenting new, post-pandemic challenges, New Beginnings is again hosting regular in-person church services inside the prison. Recent services have had more than 100 women joining - a testimony to how much NBWC is wanted and needed!

New Beginnings is entirely funded by grants, support from local congregations, and monthly individual donations. Without this financial support, NBWC wouldn't be able to do such transformative work inside.

In 2024, NBWC hopes to continue offering services, ongoing pastoral care, and programming. In addition to a new partnership with a local congregation, NBWC also hopes to expand their mission to include re-entry work and aftercare resources for women leaving prison. This will likely begin with a support group, offering basic needs, such as food and clothes to those being released, with hopes of growing into a mentorship program, with access to case management and other services.

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

New Beginnings Worshipping Community

other names

NBWC

Year Established

1999

Tax id (EIN)

84-1516254

Category

Religion-Related

Organization Size

Small Organization

Address

7375 Samuel Drive
Denver, CO 80221

Service areas

Adams County, CO, US