Prisons Week 2017

What does the Psalmist say about freedom?

What does one of the Psalmists say about freedom? From Psalm 111:9, we read… ‘He sets his people free. He made his agreement everlasting. He is holy and wonderful.’ (NCV)

Freedom… what does freedom mean to you? You may have all sorts of powerful responses to this profound question. It may be a concept linked to your faith.

Freedom?

Do you live your life knowing the reassurance that God has set you free?

Do you live in the constant blessing of God’s wonderful and holy power?

Prisons Week theme this year explores the idea of freedom, in light of this Scripture verse, and encourages us to pray about and reflect upon what freedom means… what freedom means particularly for prisoners and their families as well as victims of crime, communities and those working in prisons. .

The Prisons Week prayer sheet, which you can download HERE can be shared in your church or be used as part of your personal devotions.

THE PRISONS WEEK PRAYER 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.

(photo courtesy of Aaron Burden @ Unsplash)

Prisons Week starts this weekend - find out more, join with us, pray with us...

The theme for Prisons Week this year is What does freedom mean to you? And are you free?

I wonder what freedom means to you? Is it a feeling you get on holiday or when you get a few hours away from caring responsibilities? Perhaps it is a time when you are in church and can worship freely? Or perhaps it is when you are admiring a beautiful view…?

Prison chaplains, who carry out vital pastoral work with prisoners (as well as staff), often see that prisoners find it hard to believe that God has any interest in them or their lives. I know, at times, we may all have these feelings when things are tough or we are going through hard times. But for those serving custodial sentences, whose liberty has been taken, and who are struggling with a sense of guilt for their crimes, the idea of freedom and being within the love of caring God may feel very far from them.

In the introduction to this year’s Prisons Week prayer sheet The Ven. James Ridge (Chaplain General/Head of Faith Services, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service) shares some inspiring thoughts on what freedom is and what it means in light of the work that prison chaplains undertake. Reverend Ridge writes: “God’s will and intention for all his people is freedom – the freedom to be the people he created them to be. As Prison Chaplains we work with people who often find it hard to believe that God has any interest in them or their lives. They struggle with the concept that they are made in the image of God and do not dare to hope that they may have a future in God which does not involve crime, arrest and imprisonment. In the same way, those whose lives have been marred by crime and its effects, or whose work brings them into daily contact with its destructiveness, often struggle to see a new future in which the promise of freedom in Christ might be fulfilled.This Prisons Week we give thanks that the freedom which God offers is available to all, even to those whose liberty has been temporarily or permanently taken away by society. As we pray together for all those who come into contact with the criminal justice system in any way, we share in that work of establishing God’s covenant of redemption – that each person, precious to God, might discover what freedom can truly mean for them.”

Join with us and pray through the coming week…

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.

(photo courtesy of Tom Barrett at Unsplash)

What does freedom mean to you? Voices from people on our streets and in prison

What does freedom mean to you? Have a look at this short film, made for Prisons Week and see what people think…

What would you say if someone asked you that? How do the responses gathered in the film differ?

Whilst the answers vary, all are heartfelt in some way; whose is the most heartfelt response? Which reply chimes most with how you feel about freedom?

The theme for Prisons Week this year tackles the questions posed in the film… what does freedom mean to you and are you free?

Join in with praying with us in the coming week. Download the free prayer sheet to share in your churches and groups.

A bit of background…For forty years now, Prisons Week has prepared prayer literature to enable the Christian community, through individuals and churches, to pray for the needs of all those affected by prisons: prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, those working in the criminal justice system and the many people who are involved in caring for those affected by crime on the inside and outside of our prisons. Prisons Week this year is from 13th to !9th October - pray with us…

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.

(photo courtesy of Pablo Heimplatz @ Unsplash)

Prisons Week - free event with amazing keynote speakers: Southwark Cathedral: 17th October

Coming up very soon… to help us to focus on Prisons Week… 17th October at Southwark Cathedral

Engaging in conversation with Christians in criminal justice.

Keynote speakers: Robert Buckland QC MP and Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

The 2019 Prisons Week lecture arrives at Southwark Cathedral for an evening with Robert Buckland QC MP, Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice, and Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the incoming Bishop of Dover.

Hear from keynote speakers on the theme of FREEDOM and engage in dialogue with Christians and Christian organisations working and volunteering in courts, prison, probation and the community as a whole.

There will be a time for networking from 6pm-6:45pm in the cathedral refectory, with the formal lecture part beginning at 7pm The evening is expected to finish at 8:30pm.

To book your free place and find out more click here.

(photo courtesy of Dyu-Ha at Unsplash)

What does freedom mean to you? And are you free?

What does freedom mean to you? If I was to consult the dictionary it might tell me that freedom is the “power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants” or “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved”. I could say that I feel particularly free when I am on holiday or when I am in prayer. Freedom might mean very different things to us depending on our background or current circumstances.

With inspiration from Psalm 111:9, this is the question that Prisons Week illuminates in the resources and prayers for our churches to share and pray through from 13th-19th October.

‘He sets his people free.

He made his agreement everlasting.

He is holy and wonderful.’

(Ps. 111:9 NCV)

In the opening sentences for this year’s Prison Week prayer sheet, we read that, “God’s will and intention for all his people is freedom – the freedom to be the people he created them to be.”

Download your free prayer sheet and share in your churches and groups.

For over forty years Prisons Week has prepared prayer literature for the Christian community to use as they pray for the needs of all those affected by prisons: prisoners and victims, their families, their communities, those working and volunteering in prisons and the criminal justice system.

(photo courtesy of Aaron Burden @ Unsplash)