The biblical concept of justice focuses on the victim, the offender and the community, in the hope of restoring all to a sense of God’s wholeness. It is also important to understand that our Methodist heritage is rich with examples of ministries carried out in jails and prisons. John and Charles Wesley had a passion for those in prison. As early as 1778, the Methodist Conference adopted action making it the duty of every Methodist preacher to minister to those who were incarcerated. United Methodists have reaffirmed and expanded the mandate for prison ministry and reform in many different chapters of our denominational history. This is a part of our identity and call.
Adapted from Mission Plan for Restorative Justice Ministries from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, 2012.
Why is Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Important?
- As Christians we are called to do this: Matthew 25:36b “I was in prison and you visited me”
- Hebrews 13:3a “Remember those who are in prison as though you are in prison with them”
- John Wesley believed that personal holiness needs to lead to social holiness and social justice. He ministered in prisons beginning in 1730.
- Currently a large no of people in the US are under control of the criminal justice system
- The costs to incarcerate people are considerable. If we can help prevent situations that lead to incarceration, and help those who are incarcerated avoid recidivism, we will not only save money but will gain as these individuals contribute in a positive manner to society.
Everyone can do something!
Our Goal: Ecumenical collaboration to provide support through advocacy, education, restorative justice and resources for individuals, families and communities affected by the criminal justice system. Everyone can do something!
Get started with our Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Introductory Brochure (PDF).
In response to soaring rates of COVID-19 infection and death among incarcerated people and throughout the Pennsylvania prison system, nearly three dozen state senators and state representatives have issued a joint letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. Calling it “a growing crisis” they urge him to utilize his power of reprieve to immediately release incarcerated people who are elderly or medically vulnerable. Read More
The year 2020 was a difficult one for everyone, due to COVID-19 , but especially for inmates who were incarcerated and struggling with fear and isolation. [...] What a blessing it was that members of Eastern PA Conference churches were willing to step up and once again provide encouragement through Christmas greeting cards to incarcerated inmates. Learn More
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality is a powerful film which shows how we will need to deal with our past in order to ensure we can provide equal justice for all in the present. A tremendous resource for education and group discussion. Watch this film for free on youtube.