Grace Center opens doors Sunday

ministry for former female inmates
Mar. 16, 2013 @ 04:53 AM

A ministry for women that began in Rutherford County 14 years ago now has a home.

Abounding Grace Ministry is located at 222 Charlotte Road in Rutherfordton.

On Sunday, ministry executive director Kriss Landry and her team will open the Grace Center for the public to tour the facility.

"It is absolutely thrilling to finally have our own ministry center," Landry said.

Landry is the chaplain for the female inmates at the Rutherford County Detention Facility and said the center will be a way to continue ministering to the inmates after they leave the detention center.

She has been working with female inmates since 2006, visiting the jail at least once a week, spending hours with the women. She also tried to go to the jail on other days for brief visits.

From the center, Landry said, "We also want to equip these ladies with the practical life skills so they can get jobs, stay off drugs and alcohol so they can then stand on their own, without government assistance, thereby breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence for them and their children."

The center will be a place where women from churches can minister, a place women can be equipped for the outside and a place for Bible Study for ladies who have been in jail and are recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.

Meetings will be held at the center on a daily basis with mentors and other volunteers, Landry said.

"But most importantly, I believe God will use Grace Center to allow continued transformation of lives of women, girls, their children and families. It will not be a transition house for ladies to live in, but rather it will be a spiritual lifestyle transformation center to give them the encouragement and tools to live for Christ on the outside," she said.

The goal, Landry said, "is to build on what has happened in the jail and go on to help build these ladies into strong Christians and good citizens on the outside."

The center also has a room where volunteers will prepare and teach Bible studies, and where other materials and books will be available.  

Women will also be invited to "drop in" and fellowship with other ladies who are facing the same struggles they are and get encouragement from one another and the Scriptures, Landry said.

A kid's room will also be available where children can play during Bible studies for women. The room is painted with bright murals, by volunteer Laura Harris. 

If a woman is just released from jail and has no money and no transportation, she will actually be able to walk to the center until she can get a ride home.

"To my knowledge," Landry writes in a brochure,  "Grace Center will be the only place in the county where the entire ministry is about facilitating God's transformation of the lives of ladies that most everone else has given up on. Our focus will be on rebuilding lives through God's transforming Grace."

The house was an anonymous gift from a woman who wanted to help women in Rutherford County.

Although the house was a gift, there will be maintenance and operating costs. 

ABG ministry will be seeking funds to help with expenses.