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Left: Reverend Counsella York preaches to prisoners at a religious service in Logan State Prison, n.d.
Reverend Counsella York (1923-1995) has been called "the Jail Preacher" for her forty-three years of faithful service proclaiming the gospel and showing God's love to the prisoners of the Cook County jail in Chicago. Rev. York served the last twenty years of her life as the first female chaplain of an all-male jail. She received the Salvation Army's Chaplain of the Year Award in 1983.
Papers of Consuella Batchelor York Collection 397 document the
life and ministry of Rev. York. Below is a note of appreciation
(folder 1-1) given to "Mother" York by several female prisoners (names have been removed)
sometime during Rev. York's prison ministry.
Believed that she was called by God to preach, Consuella York graduated from Chicago Baptist Institute in 1953 and became the first ordained Baptist woman minister in 1954. She also pastored the Christ Way Baptist Church for forty-one years and served as an announcer for the weekly radio and television program, What A Fellowship Hour produced by her former classmate, ordaining minister and lifelong friend, Reverend Clay Evans. In addition, Rev. York developed many programs to provide housing, food and job training to the needy. Included in the materials in this collection are two oral history interviews with Mother York, an audio tape of one of her sermons and one video tape concerning her prison ministry. Other items (some copied) include articles, clippings, diploma, ordination certificate, photographs, handmade cards, prison newsletters and forms used in the prison ministry.