Rev. Fela Barrueto
|American Baptist Home Mission Societies
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, Pa. 19482-0851
Work Phone: 800.222.3872, x2493
The Rev. Fela Barrueto, national coordinator of Ex-offender Re-entry Ministries at American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), finds great meaning in her work for a number of reasons.
First of all, her calling is ministry, and she holds fast to St. Francis of Assisi’s concept of minister as an instrument in God’s hands. More specifically, Barrueto wants to be an instrument of healing and hope to individuals and families suffering from incarceration-related shame and stigma. Secondly, the volume of people being incarcerated suggests a great need for such ministry, yet few individuals are willing or able to do it. Thirdly, the subject hits home for Barrueto.
“The issues of incarceration and the criminal justice system have touched many families, including mine,” she says. “This is a sensitive and painful issue, which does not call for a stage, where lights and glamour can enhance it. Prisons are a dark world, where the light of Jesus is needed.”
Of great significance to Barrueto are Jesus’ words about doing unto “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
Barrueto, who was born and raised in Lima, Perú, believes that her mission would be accomplished if each church in the American Baptist Churches (ABC) USA family helps only one citizen returning to society from incarceration or one family of a returning citizen. “My main goal is that our ABC churches become Stations of Hope, offering a sacred space for persons affected by incarceration, so that they can experience the healing touch of the One, who was a prisoner himself.”
She reminds ABC churches that, although they may be unaware of it, an individual affected by incarceration is likely sitting within their pews. “When I visit churches or groups, or provide workshops or sermons,” says Barrueto, “there is always someone who will come and talk to me at the end, to share about a family member or loved one who is incarcerated or has just returned from serving a sentence.”
Aside from her work, Barrueto loves music—especially opera. Each December, she enjoys singing Handel’s “Messiah” with the National Choral Council at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
- Master of Theological Studies, Counseling concentration, Palmer Theological Seminary, the seminary of Eastern University, Wynnewood, Pa.
- Bachelor of Arts, Hispanic Literature, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Perú
- Certified Healing Communities trainer, Progressive National Baptist Convention in conjunction with Prison Fellowship
- ABHMS administration, 1996-2003
- Senior center, Harlem, N.Y.
- Private foundation work
- Ordained: Jan. 9, 2011
- Rejoined ABHMS staff: 2008
- Birthday: Nov. 2
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