Prisons New

International Day of Prayer for Prison Ministry

Save the date! 25th August is the International Day of Prayer for Prison Ministry

You can check out links for resources and prayers from previous years HERE.

This is date is a gathering together and praying for the work of the International Prison Chaplain’s Association (IPCA) across the nations.

FCG’s very own Revd Bob Wilson serves on the IPCA Europe Steering Committee.

You can register for the IPCA newsletter and read more about their important work HERE.

Pray with us: Lord God, Blessed are you, creator of the universe. You have called us to serve you in bringing good news to the poor and liberty to those in prison. Look with kindness upon all who serve you in this ministry, grant us the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of your mission to all. Fill our hearts with zeal and perseverance as heralds of the Gospel. Amen

(Photo courtesy of Nathan Dumlao @ Unsplash)

Clinks Training: Introduction to working and volunteering in prison

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17th July, Bristol | 24th July, London | £75 members, £150 non-members

Do you have staff and volunteers who are new to working in a custodial setting?

This interactive and engaging one-day course aims to raise awareness of the prison environment and enable voluntary sector staff and volunteers to have meaningful and professional engagement with prisons.

Delegates will:

Discuss concerns and fears, and acquire a confidence boosting approach

Be guided through an up to date overview of the criminal justice system, including different elements of the prison and probation services

Gain an understanding of the prison environment and the demographics of those in custody

Consider safe and responsible working within custodial settings, and be confident working within their boundaries.

"I wanted to let you know I thought the day was excellent and very informative. It was both engaging and interactive." – Training delegate, London 2018

Each training day has a maximum of 15 places so book now to avoid disappointment.

Find out more and book here: Bristol | London

Bedtime stories...

What kind of memories do you have been read to as a child? Perhaps you have children of your own and you have shared bedtime stories with them? Perhaps you have had to spend time away from your family which was difficult for you? Every year in the UK 200,000 children experience the imprisonment of a parent.  Many of us, from across our churches and communities, will have experience of this, as it affects so many children. It is very hard being separated from your family in this way, but there is some amazing work going on to support families - you can read all about Lewis Hardy and how he has got through things….

Lewis was struggling in prison, feeling isolated from his young family and increasingly "cold". Then he was shown a way of doing something that many parents take for granted - reading to his children - and everything began to change. He tells us about his challenges and how he got through the tough times in a recent BBC news article which you can read HERE.

This work is part of the amazing work which is done by a charity called Storybook Dads.

You can read more about their vital work and why they do it HERE

This work helps keep a connection between prisoners and their families.

Read on and see the hope that this has given to Lewis…

Perhaps your church could help support this work by fundraising, volunteering or buying their beautiful greetings cards - see here for further information and ideas and click on How You Can Help

We thank God for the work done by all the volunteers and staff at Storybook Dads and ask God’s blessing on the children and families whom they support.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Picsea

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.

Free Churches Group welcome the appointment of Revd James Ridge

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It is with great pleasure that the Free Churches Group welcome the appointment of Revd James Ridge most warmly into his new role as Chaplain General of HMPPS. Having worked with Revd Ridge over a number of years in the context of Chaplaincy leadership I know that his wisdom, skill and developmental rigour will be hugely appreciated by all who serve those living and working in the prisons of England and Wales as Chaplains. As Free Churches Faith Advisor I look forward to working with James collegiately and supportively as we strive to maintain the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Services of HMPPS, a service which I believe to be a world-leading example of multi-faith co-operation and transformational engagement.

Bob Wilson
Free Churches Faith Advisor to HMPPS & Secretary for Prison Chaplaincy