Patsy Godfrey glanced at her ringing phone one day in January 2007 to see a number she didn't recognize.
“Hi, Bobbie, how can I help you?”
“I don't know.”
“Drugs are just a symptom of another problem,” Angela Holcomb, another class member, said. “People don't just get over the things we've been through. I never had coping skills before this class, and that's why I took drugs. This gives you a place that's safe and personable where you can learn those skills again. Without this class, these people, I'd be back in prison.”
That risk of recidivism is why Mrs. Godfrey and others associated with the ministry want to build a transitional house for female ex-offenders, called New Wine Ministries.
“We had a lesson one day, and to fill the rest of the time I said, 'What is on your heart?' Nearly every one of them said 'transitional housing for ladies coming out of prison,' because there is not enough, especially for ladies,” Ms. Godfrey said. “I shared with them how the Lord had put on my heart to have one and name it New Wine Ministries. So they said, 'Well, Patsy, get busy!' So I got busy.”
The verse that inspired the name is Luke 5:37-38, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”
Mrs. Godfrey applies the idea to women who are ex-offenders.
Even in their addiction, several of the women were believers, they said. Ms. Craig will be clean seven years in March, Angela nearly 10.
The ministry, which has spent the last year gaining its 501c3 status, is in the fundraising phase and accepting donations, said the organization's secretary, Terri Langen. The organization also needs a location for the facility and “spiritually focused” board members, she said.