Bessie “Doll” Dodd was released from prison on June 27, 2016.
While she said she was “glad to get out of there” after 35 years of confinement, she added it was “the hardest thing to walk out of those gates and leave my church behind.”
The church Dodd is referring to is Grace Place United Methodist Church, one of two United Methodist Churches located inside U.S. prisons.
… Grace Place is pastored by Rev. Diane Harrison, who started the congregation in the face of many obstacles and setbacks, but has persevered and followed her congregation to its new location.
Dodd told the celebration crowd how “Pastor Diane” came into her life and “turned it upside down” by bringing her to Jesus Christ.
Even though she was physically in prison, Dodd said Grace Place and her new-found faith provided her another kind of “freedom” inside the walls of her prison home.
Dodd was baptized by Memphis Conference Bishop Bill McAlilly when he visited the prison in February, 2013. Click here to read story about McAlilly’s visit.
Dodd said Grace Place became a place for her and other imprisoned women to go for worship, Bible study, exercise, craft classes and more. She called it her “home” and said, while choking with emotion, it “transformed” her life.