Prison Chaplaincy

Love on Mothers' Day

Each one of us, over the years will have many memories, both happy and sad, of marking Mother’s Day in some way. It can be a difficult time for many, especially those in prison, so the Prison Fellowship (PF) has a project linked for Mothers’ Day.

Angel Tree Mothers’ Day supports young adult prisoners in their family relationships by enabling them to have a gift sent on their behalf, containing their own message, to their mother or other significant adult, on Mothers’ Day.

PF’s mission is to show Christ’s love to prisoners by coming alongside them and supporting them. They seek through prayer and practical care to help, support and develop a Christian ministry to prisoners and their families.

How can you get involved? You can find out more about the Angel Tree project and the wider work of PF HERE… you can get involved in your church by praying for their work, volunteering, making donation or partnering your church with Angel Tree Mothers’ Day - find out more HERE.

You can sign up for their free prayer diary HERE.

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.”— Hebrews 13:3

Photo courtesy of Andrea Tummons, Unsplash

Learning sets us free...

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

Happy 40th birthday to Prison Fellowship!

It’s said that life begins at 40. Yet, thanks to God’s faithfulness, PF has already achieved so much in the transformation of prisoners’ lives since they were founded by Sylvia Mary Alison in 1979.

Join them and their special guests on the afternoon of Saturday 30th March at Westminster Chapel, London to celebrate the past 40 years, and look forward with anticipation to the future of our ministry to prisoners in England and Wales.

Register your attendance through our Eventbrite page. This is a free un-ticketed event, but registering will help them to plan how much cake to buy!

Find out more about the event and the contributors who will be part of it here.

Revd Bob Wilson SECRETARY FOR PRISON CHAPLAINCY AND FREE CHURCHES FAITH ADVISER will be there along with many other friends of PF and fellow workers.

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.”— Hebrews 13:3

Photo by Jason Leung @ Unsplash

Restoring hope through restorative justice

Have you come across the Sycamore Tree project which is run as part of the Prison Fellowship’s work?

Sycamore Tree is a volunteer-led victim awareness programme that teaches the principles of restorative justice. It is taught in prisons in groups of up to 20 learners, over a 6-week period. Learners on the programme explore the effects of crime on victims, offenders, and the wider community, and discuss what it would mean to take responsibility for their personal actions.

Perhaps you could pray at your church for the work of volunteers who support the Sycamore Tree?

Perhaps there are events and activities you and your church could get involved with?

The Free Churches Group support chaplains working across prisons in England and Wales - you can read more about this important work HERE

From the Prison Fellowship website: Not everyone is able to volunteer and visit prisoners. But everyone can pray. Sylvia Mary Alison wrote in her memoir:

In our prayer imagination, we can enter any prison in the world, and visit Christ in prisoners there… It is Christ who beckons us into the darkest of the world’s jails. Will you cooperate with our Lord in building his house, from the ground floor up, by marching into every prison of the world in prayer?” – Sylvia Mary Alison

Photo credit Erik Holm, from Unsplash

Encounter 13 | Incarceration

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Photo by  Denny Müller  on  Unsplash

How does religion play a role in our prison system?

Can faith stop prisoners reoffending?

We speak to Dr Ruth Armstrong from the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge to assess these questions before a hands on discussion with Imam Farooq Mulla and Bob Wilson, both of whom have spent years bringing their faith to the UK’s incarceration system. What are the challenges of this job? In what ways can prisoners be redeemed? And does our prison system need urgent help?

Please find out more about the Podcast on Woolf Institute’s website here.