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.