Nancy H. Broeder, 1985 M.A.R.

2005Distinction in Lay Ministry

Nancy H. Broeder is a native of Davenport, IA. Since 1980 she has been visiting prisoners under auspices of Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS). As a �national visitor� with PVS, Broeder is authorized to visit at every federal and military prison in the United States and meets yearly with the director of the Bureau of Prisons. It was work in her other passion, archeology�and, specifically, excavation of an 1850 lock-up in Norwalk, CT �that led indirectly to her association with PVS.

She describes visits in the �cacophony of a Federal prison visiting room� or in �the inhumanity of a solitary cell.� Over the years, Broeder has been to prisons in 17 states in the South, Northeast, Midwest and West. She estimates that she has made over 2,000 prisoner visits, including visits to Death Row inmates.

Prisoners enjoy speaking with Broeder not only about her worldwide travels but about theological subjects as well. Broeder derives great joy from watching prisoners grow in their faith -- whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Rastafarian, or Buddhist -- and takes pride in encouraging such growth. Prisoners especially value her nonjudgmental attitude.

While working part-time at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, CT, following a sojourn in archeologically rich Turkey, she had enrolled as an undergraduate anthropology student and received her B.A. from SUNY in 1980 -- with an honors thesis on the archaeology of the old jail in Norwalk. During this period she also completed "The Palestine of Jesus" course at St. George's College in Jerusalem and then studied theology and Near Eastern archaeology at Oxford. She has worked with the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain (EDSP), conducting research on the jewelry from tombs and sanctuaries of the "cities of the plain" of Genesis 13.

Broeder lives in Lighthouse Point, FL in winter and in Princeton, IA during the summer. Married and the mother of four children, one deceased, she has eight grandchildren.