The Los Angeles County Institutions Committee is a Joint Committee of the Christian Science branch churches of Los Angeles County. We visit and give services in 7 county institutions, with 17,500 inmates – one of the biggest single jail systems in the country. We work closely with the L.A. County Sheriffs who staff the jails, and are genuinely welcomed by them.
Volunteers conduct church services for 1,000 inmates each month
Most of the operating expenses (about $45,000 yearly) and all of the volunteers come from L.A. County branch churches. About 25 branch church members volunteer to serve in our visits to these jails. On average, we give 70 services each month. About 1,000 inmates attend these services each month. Most of these 1,000 inmates indicate they have never heard of Christian Science before the service, which means we interact with about 1,000 newcomers to Christian Science each month.
30-minute services focus on the weekly Bible Lesson
Our chaplains and assistants serve as readers in each service. The services are about 30 minutes long, focused on the Bible Lesson Sermon for the week. Inmates are sometimes given Bible Lesson printouts before the service, and almost all closely read along silently as the two Christian Scientists read the Lesson aloud. Each service begins with a brief explanation of the history of Christian Science, of Mary Baker Eddy, of its foundation on The Bible, and of the role Science and Health plays in our church.
Inmates appreciate our support
Our volunteers usually give 1 – 5 services in a day’s visit. After each service, the two readers talk with the inmates about the ideas just presented, and how to apply them in daily life. Inmates very much appreciate this interaction. At the end of a service, inmates commonly say “amen” and “thank you” enthusiastically, and they are polite and very appreciative that we have come to interact with them.