“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” a New York Annual Conference staff member reminded Marilyn Schneider, head of our conference’s Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice (PM&RJ) Team, when asking to copy the popular Christmas Cards to Inmates project. In fact, not just the project, but the cards, too.
“We saw a description of your Christmas Cards for Prisoners project in the UMNS (UM News Service) newsletter, and were so impressed!” wrote Sheila Peiffer, Coordinator of Social Justice Organizing, Engagement and Advocacy for the conference. “I hope you are a believer in the expression that imitation is the best form of flattery, because we would like to use this idea in our conference. We plan to try to get something off the ground this year in a small way and then be ready for a much broader effort next year.”
They asked to use the Christmas card designs and instructions available on the PM&RJ page of the conference website. “It is such a great way to make it possible for more people to participate!” wrote Peiffer on behalf of her conference’s Church and Society board. “Many thanks, in advance, for your stellar idea and your willingness to allow others to follow your lead.”
Indeed, the Eastern PA PM&RJ team uses the project to prove that when it comes to prison ministry, “Everybody can do something.” The team has been sorting and vetting signed, collected cards and will soon deliver the ones that meet exacting qualifications to area prisons. Members are confident they will surpass the 2015 total of over 5,000 delivered cards, and they plan repeat the project in 2017.
Moreover, UM Communications recently visited and video-recorded interviews and card vetting scenes with team members for an Advent video to be shown on www.umc.org later this month. Stay tuned.