Ministry to the Incarcerated

Women at the Well - Mitchellville Prison

Women at the WellWomen at the Well is a United Methodist congregation inside the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, IA - one of only TWO chartered United Methodist congregations of this kind, and one of approximately 19 worshipping communities inside prison walls around the U.S.

Why a prison congregation? It's a response to Jesus' words, "I was in prison and you visitied me." It is a place for the women to "be" the church; worship and ministry aren't just brought in from the outside, but are an expression of their call to these women to participate in the Kingdom of God.

Women at the Well UMC is a mission congregation - which means that it will never be fully supported by its members (most incarcerated women are employed but earn less than a dollar per hour). Women at the Well receives only about 40% of their support through the larger United Methodist Church of Iowa, and depend greatly on the financial support of churches like Ankeny First who covenant with them to be a partner church supporting them with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

Interested in this ministry? Here are some things you can do:

  • Keep up to date on what is going on at Women at the Well. "Like" their Facebook page and hold them in prayer.
  • Support them with your financial gifts. You can place money designated for Women at the Well in the offering place at any time, or give to them along with your online contributions to the church.
  • As a partner church, 8-10 of us may attend worship at the prison twice a year (Thursday evenings at 7:00pm). Their pastor, Rev. Lee Schott, preaches at Ankeny First annually. Watch the bulletin for those details.
  • Go through training at the prison and get your yellow badge which entitles you to visit the prison to volunteer to work and worship with the women more frequently. 
  • If you have questions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Katie Bryant, or Pastor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learn even more about Women at the Well by visiting their website at

Women at the Well altar clothThe altar cloth made at the 2016 Annual Conference in Des Moines. It is made of prison rags, and ribbons brought from across the state by United Methodists to weave into it as a way to bring beauty to a place that can sometimes be bleak and solidarity and love to a place that can be lonely and frightening.