Thirty years ago, I began my first degree in English and Education at Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University). I had been attending evening classes the previous year to brush up my Maths skills and gain an O level. I was both nervous and excited about this new venture - but once I began, I was amazed at how my mind and heart opened out and my confidence grew, with all the new things I was learning. It felt like a kind of freedom!
It is thirty years since the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) was established. Since it started the Trust has been providing access to broader learning opportunities for prisoners to enhance their chances of building a better life after release.
After I graduated, I spent time as an Education Manager across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire which included managing education contracts for those serving prison sentences (both short and long terms, in youth and adult jails). I had the privilege and honour to see, first hand, the way that men and women actively engaged in all kinds of education and how they like me, had found a new sense of esteem and freedom through this learning. Many years later, I worked alongside a Free Church Prison Chaplain in Gloucestershire and spent time with prisoners who through their church life, worship and educational programmes were building a future full of hope.
In your church you can get involved in volunteering or fundraising for the work of PET. You can find out more information HERE.
PET’s motto is: Every prisoner a learner, every prison a place to learn
Pray with us for the work of PET, as they celebrate thirty years of service to prisoners and for the work of our Free Church Prison Chaplains across the nation.
Lord, you offer freedom to all people. We pray for those in prison. Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist. Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends, prison staff and all who care. Heal those who have been wounded by the actions of others, especially the victims of crime. Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in his strength and in his Spirit, now and every day. Amen.
Prayer from http://prisonsweek.org/2018-prayer-campaign
Photo courtesy of Steve Halama @ Unsplash
Sara Iles, FCG Education Asst