Freedom Sisters is a group of women who hold Bible studies for women inmates at the Cook County Jail on Saturday. This ministry is led by Heather Bausell under Mary Lowman’s oversight. Our group is divided into groups who go once a month to conduct the Bible studies.
We go to the women’s jail from 12:00 to 1:30, where we meet with the women in various rooms—or “pods”—and we share Bible truth that can truly set these women free. To be a part of this ministry, you must apply to the ministry through Heather Bausell, and then an extensive application has to be submitted to the Cook County Sheriff’s office for approval.
Leadership: Heather Bausell
Freedom Sisters FAQs
IT IS A MINISTRY THAT IS CLOSE TO THE HEART OF GOD.
Isaiah 61:1 states that: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” And Jesus said in Matthew 25 that when we visit someone in jail, we have done it unto Him.
Freedom Sisters is not just a ministry to the inmates but a ministry to the Lord as well. It will build your faith and change you profoundly as you give of yourself to others.
The answer is simple: Not everyone. You need to be comfortable in a jail environment, not fearful or intimidated. You need to relate to the women as one woman to another, seeing them as a woman who, like you, needs Jesus.
You should recognize that jail ministry is not glamorous. You should be motivated by a calling from the Lord Jesus Christ and be confident that He wants you to be involved.
To be faithful: You will be assigned one Saturday each month; you’ll meet at church for prayer at 10:00am (if possible), then leave to arrive at the jail by 11:45am in order to get through security and be ready to teach at 12:00 noon. The teaching time is 12:00–1:30pm. There are several different rooms (called “pods”) where we are allowed to conduct Bible studies. Typically, two women will be assigned to each pod. As a new member, you will teach with one of the experienced sisters at first to see how the Bible study works, but we would want you to eventually be able to lead a Bible study. It’s not that difficult! But it is important that you do everything possible to be there on the day assigned to you. Faithfulness and commitment are essential.
To be real: The women will know if you are not sincere. Just relate to them as one woman to another.
To obey all the rules: It is a privilege to be able to conduct these Bible studies, and we are very careful to follow all the rules and guidelines set down. These will be explained in detail once you are a Freedom Sister.
First complete The Moody Church application for approval. You will then be interviewed by Heather Bausell. Once you are approved, you will need to complete a Cook County application, which will be submitted to the Sheriff’s Office for their approval. Applications are received only during certain windows each year, usually in January and August. Every organization is limited to 20 people, and it is our goal to have all 20 positions full all the time.
When you complete the Church’s application, please return it to Heather Bausell or Mary Lowman, either at the Women’s Ministry kiosk at church or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have completed both applications and they have been approved, you will be required to attend a one-hour evening training session at a facility at the jail. This is required in order for you to get a red badge, which authorizes you to enter the jail. Once your training is completed, you will have to go back to the jail a few days later to get your badge. All these details will be explained as we move forward. Everyone involved must attend a training session and have her
red badge validated each year.
It’s a bit of a hassle and takes time to get approved, but it’s worth it!
Prayerfully consider whether this is something that fits with your gifts and you would be able to make the necessary commitment. If so, please complete The Moody Church application and return it to Heather as soon as possible!