On a lovely spring evening in the Detroit area, men and women from throughout metropolitan Detroit came out to celebrate a very special occasion at Orchard Lake Presbyterian Church—Prison Fellowship’s 40-Year Anniversary. Volunteers, donors, former prisoners, and ministry partners joined Prison Fellowship staff for this special occasion.
Forty years is highly significant and the Prison Fellowship staff in Michigan thought it was important to celebrate the evening with those individuals that have partnered with the ministry over the years to impact the lives of the men and women affected by crime and incarceration. Attendees were treated to an extraordinary evening in an elegant, beautiful setting.
Everyone from in-prison volunteers and former prisoners to parole officers and church ministry groups attended the event. They enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and beverages as they mingled in the Lakeview room overlooking beautiful Orchard Lake. Later the audience enjoyed a delicious dinner, music, and testimonies in the church’s intimate coffeehouse.
Former prisoners Pamela Strey and Gerald Towns brought the crowd to tears as they gave moving testimonies of how Prison Fellowship’s intensive programs impacted their lives. Paul Dozier, a gifted jazz guitarist, thrilled attendees with an amazing performance.
Regional director Mary Engle told attendees about the beginnings of the ministry, founder Chuck Colson’s legacy, and the many men, women and children that have been touched by Prison Fellowship throughout the years. “Without you we couldn’t do this and that’s what this evening is all about,” said Engle. “We need to go arm in arm together. I’ll bet Chuck Colson is looking down and smiling to know the impact each of you have made on prisoners’ lives each and every day.”
State Senator Patrick Colbeck, a great supporter of Prison Fellowship, served as keynote speaker for the event. He shared his goal of showing the effectiveness of Prison Fellowship programming to lawmakers and guiding them to support the organization. “It’s in the best interest of our prisons and in the citizens of Michigan in general to show that Prison Fellowship’s Christ-based programs are effective,” said the Senator.
At the end of the event, the ministry partners present were recognized and encouraged to network with one another.
It was an unforgettable evening honoring the ministry of Prison Fellowship and those that have been a part of the journey. Attendees left feeling that they too were a part of the rich 40-year legacy of Prison Fellowship.