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.
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."