On paper, my nephew should never have become addicted to drugs. He was a bright young man raised in a wonderful home by godly parents. And yet, he traded it all in for his substance abuse, leaving his heartbroken family behind when he went to prison.
“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.’” – John 11:41
Jesus had a friend named Lazarus who died of an illness. By the time Jesus arrived at the home of Lazarus’s grieving sisters, Mary and Martha, Lazarus had been dead for four days, and his body was sealed in a tomb with a large, heavy stone.
On a recent trip to Michigan, I approached a man that I thought was our local Prison Fellowship field director. I hugged him and thanked him for all he was doing.
When I asked how he was, he said, “I’ve been out for three months, and I am an associate pastor!”
In my decades as a pastor, I saw a lot of things in church, but this was a first.
In the middle of the church auditorium, surrounded by their families and other worshipers, were about 100 prisoners in orange jumpsuits. They are part of a partnership between a county jail and a local congregation.
The following is a version of remarks given by Prison Fellowship President and CEO Jim Liske at Movement Day NYC, a gathering of Christian leaders discussing how to cultivate Gospel movements in urban areas across the country. For more information about Movement Day, visit www.movementday.com.
Ron and Phil sat side-by-side on a platform, sharing about the decades that their life stories have intertwined. The journey began when Ron, then a drug addict desperately seeking cash, shot and killed Phil’s father.
After Ron pulled the trigger, he went to prison.
In the Bible, a period of 40 years represents a generation. I’ve been thinking about this as Prison Fellowship prepares to celebrate its fortieth anniversary.
In the generation since Chuck Colson founded Prison Fellowship, America has gone from incarcerating just over 200,000 people to more than 2.2 million.
One of the most beautiful churches in upstate New York is the Church of St. Dismas, The Good Thief, in Dannemora. Built between 1939 and 1941, this Neogothic-inspired stone chapel boasts massive oak doors and an impressive spire.
The church stands on the grounds of Clinton Correctional Facility, a short distance from the prison’s outer walls.
In September, high schools are once again brimming with teenagers, looking through college brochures, figuring out who to ask to the homecoming dance, and worrying about exams and report cards. But that’s not the case for every young person on the edge of adulthood; too many embark on a course that leads them to prison.
“E.J.” is a mom serving time in a Texas prison. A new Christian, she was baptized in August and is in awe of God’s deep love for her.
Just a few weeks ago she participated in a “Day with Mom” event that allowed her some precious time with her children.