Tree of Life (Prison Ministry)
I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me. And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the King will answer them. Truly I tell you just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. Matthew 25:36, 39-40 M.R.S.V.
The purpose of the Criminal Justice Ministry (Prison Ministry) at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, is to nuture God’s gift of redemption through Jesus The Christ. This gift frees us from inactivity by reaching out to those in prison.
With a renewed understanding of our ministry, not as a people victimized by injustice but as converters of our unmerited suffering into reestablishing God-given powers to those incarcerated. Our prison ministry is young and growing.
We are blessed to serve an Episcopal congregation, St. Dimas, behind the walls of Graterford Correctional Institution, at Graterford, PA. We seek volunteers to worship with inmates during mass, for our pen pal connection, participate in a Christmas Party and gift giving for inmates’ children, who we hope to mentor after Christmas.
We are there for the families of inmates to the best of our abiliity. Pro Boro Legal Service ( PBLS) is much needed. We hope to create an advocate hotline for issues of importance to the advancement of justice. We are looking at a nationwide program that mentors children of inmates.
As you can see, all volunteering is not face to face with inmates. Prison officials recommend all services to inmates. A prison ministry is very wide in scope. The same physical conditions exist in prison that exists on the outside. Young prisoners grow old, older prisoners grow older. They deal with health problems, family problems, broken homes without fathers and mother (female imprisonment is on the increase).
From our blessing of Freedom we can serve the lease of them.