Prisons Week - Thought of the Day (Wednesday), with Hugh Osgood

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Today our focus is on families and prison visits.

Jesus set the standard with His Gospel identification: I was in prison and you visited Me. Few prison visits could be as significant as that made to Jeremiah in the lead up to the Babylonian exile.

His prophetic outspokenness was not popular and he ended up sinking in slime in the prince’s dungeon. It was then that his friends sought permission from the King and came with rags and ropes to rescue him.

We need to pray that family relationships stay strong during sentences and that visits from family and friends make a difference.
— Hugh Osgood

Visitors’ searches today would have stopped the rags and ropes, but for a prisoner in low spirits a positive visit is uplifting.

Separation is not just difficult for the prisoners, it is hard on families and friends too.

Visitors’ passes might be a challenge to secure and considerable distances may have to be travelled.

The minutes might slip by all too quickly but even a short time together can bring hope.

Lifting people out of despondency takes commitment. We need to pray that family relationships stay strong during sentences and that visits from family and friends make a difference.

Maybe we too should be such a befriender in the light of Jesus’ challenge.

Prisons Week - Thought of the Day (Tuesday), with Hugh Osgood

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Today our focus is on rehabilitation programmes in prisons.

When Joseph was unjustly imprisoned in Ancient Egypt, the whole experience still added to his life. He was arrested as a young man who had just transitioned from pampered son to household manager; a man with two unfulfilled (and easily misinterpreted) dreams circulating in his head, plus a whole lot to learn about Egyptian culture.

Although there was no education programme, positions of trust could be earned and this brought Joseph into contact with two royal-household prisoners. Becoming a dream interpreter secured his future position in government. Would that all prison sentences proved to be such a stepping stone!

It is painful to be caught in a cycle of offending and we need to look for ways of seeing such cycles broken.
— Hugh Osgood

Currently a lot of work is going into prison-based programmes for rehabilitation and prevention of reoffending. We need to pray for the effectiveness of such courses, both in terms of their planning and delivery.

A change in the rate of reoffending would also indicate a change in the extent of changed lives. It is painful to be caught in a cycle of offending and we need to look for ways of seeing such cycles broken.

This is part of the gospel message of setting the prisoners free.

Prisons Week - Thought of the Day (Monday), with Hugh Osgood

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Forty years ago, one of my predecessors as Free Churches Moderator joined with the then Archbishops of Canterbury, Westminster and Wales to support the recently established annual Prisons Week. In Thought of the Day this week we will be adding to the prayers of churches in England and Wales as part of Prisons Week 2018.


As we think of prisons, prisoners and prison staff, Paul’s 1st Century imprisonment in Philippi is a good starting point.

He was arrested with Silas at the request of slave owners who had lost their livelihood when a young fortune-teller they had been exploiting was set free.

The magistrates gave in to an angry crowd and had Paul and Silas imprisoned where conditions were poor and treatment harsh. A jailer’s life depended on fulfilling the magistrates’ wishes, and this was complicated by having his family living on site.  

Compassion still has an important place in prison ministry.
— Hugh Osgood

The jailer in Philippi feared for his life when a God-sent earthquake loosed chains and opened doors.

Assuming that all his charges had fled, he prepared to commit suicide in anticipation of the inevitable. Paul’s intervention saw him surrender his life to Christ, and that brought compassion to the fore.

Prisons are still challenging places today. We need to pray for prisoners and prison conditions, remembering those officers, governors and chaplains who, in the midst of extreme work pressures, seek to balance prison duties with family life.

Compassion still has an important place in prison ministry.

Lights, camera, action for Further Education!

FCG have been both working and developing links with Festive, the UK based Christian charity, who support students and staff in further education. They have just launched a fantastic, inspiring and Christ-centred new YouTube channel. You can check out all the films HERE.

These films would be great to share in your churches and youth groups.

Film topics include: How do I live for Jesus? and How do I survive as a Christian?

You can read more about FCG’s work in the arena of further education HERE.

Ready… steady… Pray…

The FCG have been working with Pray for Schools for many years. It has been a fruitful partnership, with a mutual heart of prayer and care for our schools’ sector - for all of the teachers, children and support staff.

Each year there is a Pray Day on the third Tuesday of November every year when schools across Europe and around the world are the focus of prayer.

This year it will be held on Tuesday 20th November 2018, with schools across the UK taking part. Find out more and how to get involved, see HERE.

You can read more about the work that FCG are doing with schools and other sectors in education by clicking HERE.