The week of April 10-16 has been declared National Volunteer Week—a time to honor and appreciate men and women who are making a difference in the lives of others. Prison Fellowship is greatly appreciative of all those who offer their time and efforts on behalf of prisoners and their families, whether they are mentoring and training prisoners, providing support to children and family members of those behind bars, or offering prayer and encouragement to those affected by crime and incarceration.
In the coming months, Prison Fellowship will be sharing stories from some of our staff and volunteers around the country, talking about the exciting ways God is working in the lives of prisoners, their families, and the criminal justice system.
The first installment of our new video blog features Denise Harris, Prison Fellowship’s field director for southeastern Michigan.
Having retired following 18 years as a corrections officer at several facilities in Michigan, Billy Stewart is once again returning to prison—this time as a volunteer with Prison Fellowship. Denise Harris, Prison Fellowship’s field director for the Detroit area, asks Billy to share his thoughts about his perspective of prisoners as an officer, and what is taking him back behind bars.
Writer Kelsa Battig shares how her experiences in prison ministry taught her how to better share her faith.
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.”
“I didn’t know where all this was going to take me,” Jorge remembers. How could he? He was only a boy.
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.
“This Bible … it’s just whack!”
The young man, a prisoner at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup, is discussing a reading assignment with Jerome Copulsky, a professor of religious studies at Goucher College in Baltimore. The in-prison class is part of a new program set up by the Department of Education to provide “high-level educational opportunities” for incarcerated adults.
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.
T. J. has been volunteering inside the Carol S. Vance Unit in Richmond, Texas, for about five years. The time spent behind the walls there has been life-changing.
“I can’t tell you what a wonderful experience this has been for me,” T.
“My name is Carlos,” the letter begins. “I am 44 years old, a husband and father who is incarcerated, and has been for going on 9 years.”
Carlos is one of thousands of men and women who have been a part of Prison Fellowship’s in-prison programs.
When Ann Lownin first considered volunteering with Prison Fellowship, she admits to being a little nervous.
“At first I thought it was going to be intimidating, but it is not intimidating at all,” Lowin says. “It is so rewarding, and I have met some of the most special people.”
As an actress in the “golden age” of Hollywood, few had a more impressive résumé than Coleen Gray. She rose to national prominence in the late 1940s, starring in classic films like Kiss of Death, Kansas City Confidential, Red River, and The Killing.
Hayden’s life collapsed the day his daddy went to prison. But today, Hayden is getting the love and support of caring Angel Tree volunteers and the church community where it all happens.
When Charles W. “Chuck” Colson entered the Maxwell Correctional Facility in July 1974, he did so as a humbled man. The former special prosecutor for President Richard Nixon had pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during the ongoing Watergate scandal investigation, and was preparing to serve a one-to-three-year sentence in the Montgomery, Alabama, facility.