Jackie Mean photo

E-mail: jmeans@ecusa.anglican.org

 

The Reverend Jacqueline Means

Director for Prison Ministries

 
     
 

Jacqueline Allene Means has responded to the gospel call to mission by entering what she calls the "biggest evangelism field in the world," our prisons. Not content simply to exercise the lonely ministry of prison chaplaincy, however, she has also become an advocate for those driven to the margins of our society. She has led the Christian community to recognize, embrace and live out our baptismal promise to serve Christ in all persons. Since 1999 she has been Director of Prison Ministries for the Episcopal Church, in the office of the Bishop for the Armed Services, Healthcare and Prison Ministries.

Jackie Means' ministry has been on the edge of things from the start. During seminary, she discovered her love of prison ministry while doing field work in the women's section of a county jail. Then on January 1, 1977, amid threats on her life and objections from the assembly, she became the first woman regularly ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. After her ordination, she served for 12 years as Chaplain at Indiana Women's Prison, while still on the staffs of parishes in Indianapolis. She has been chair of the Advisory Board for Marion County Indiana Juvenile Detention Center, and director of Jail and Prison Ministries for the Diocese of Indianapolis. She is the founder of Craine House for Women, a facility which began as a half-way house for women coming out of prison, and which continues as a facility for women serving prison time who wish to keep their pre-school children with them. She has programmed and implemented several national prison ministry conferences sponsored by the Office of the Bishop for the Armed Services, Healthcare and Prison Ministries, and she has pioneered an innovative summer camp experience for children whose parents are in prison. Faithful to her continuing concern for women in prison, Jackie developed a clown ministry for them which encourages creativity, strengthens self-esteem, and allows the women to use their talents to enrich their family life outside of prison.

Jackie has also served the marginalized from inside a local congregation. Under her leadership as Rector from 1986-1998, the small parish of St. Marks' in Plainfield, Indiana operated the only homeless shelter in the county, as well as a program tutoring schoolchildren, a health screening and monitoring program, a food pantry, and a drug screening program. Jackie is married to William D. Lyons, and has four grown children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In May 2001 Jackie received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
 
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