In 1974, while serving time in prison for his role in Watergate, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson was wrestling with thoughts about what he would do with his life after his release.
“Here I was in pris on, public enemy number one, the notoriety of the Watergate publicity, and the most depressing thing to me was the realization that I probably couldn’t ever do anything significant with my life again.”
But God had something in mind. “God used my greatest defeat,” Chuck said, “for His greatest glory.”
An unlikely encounter was one of the early signs to Chuck that God was going to do something he didn’t expect.“
There were tremendous racial tensions in the prison,” Chuck said. “I can remember one time in the dayroom, I was writing a letter home to Patty and some of the guys were listening to the television, which was turned up very loud, and others were playing cards. “
One black man shouted so loud that it brought silence to the room:
Colson, what are you going to do when you get out of here? How are you going to help guys like us?“
His name was Archie. I said, ‘Archie, I won’t forget you guys. I’ll do something to help you.’ He threw the deck of cards on the floor: Ah, bull! Big shots like you leave the prison and you forget little guys like us.”
Chuck didn’t forget. He responded to God’s purpose for his life and formed Prison Fellowship. And he returned to prison with the Gospel message—and much more.
Today, Prison Fellowship is active in all 50 states, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to prisoners and their families. With the help of churches across the country, thousands of volunteers are continuing Chuck’s call to “remember the prisoner” and to turn defeat into glory.
To those of you who have contributed your time, your prayers, or your support in the past year, our sincere thanks. You are continuing the work God started in Chuck in a federal prison over 40 years ago. And if you would like to learn more about how you can be a part of this ministry in the coming year, either financially or as a volunteer, please visit the Prison Fellowship website.