Prison Ministry

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.

EPA Conference Committee on Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice

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!Restorative Justice: Healing the Effects of Crime


Rev. Marilyn Schneider

‘Remember those who are in prison…’ Hebrews 13:3

Sending Christmas greetings to prison inmates again

Christmas Cards for Inmates in Eastern PA, 2017

Can you imagine how it would feel to be separated from your friends and loved ones at Christmas?  Inmates who are incarcerated can find it difficult to maintain connections with important people in their lives. At holidays, their distance, and the pain of absence, can be felt most deeply.

Last year, thanks to your efforts, over 8,000 Christmas cards with brief handwritten notes of caring encouragement were provided to inmates in 10 correctional facilities in Eastern PA.

This year, through a simple, signed Christmas card, you can again share the spirit of Christmas with persons who are incarcerated. Your participation in this project can send a powerful message of God’s love to those who are incarcerated. You can remind them of their sacred identity as God’s beloved sons and daughters, at a time when they may be feeling very much alone. We hope we will be able to reach even more inmates through this project this year.

Please follow carefully the specific directions in the attachments provided, so that you and others in your congregation can reach out during this coming holiday season. Also provided are sample Christmas images you may use and some thoughts and phrases to help if you are at a loss for words to get started.

Please note that all cards must be completed and returned by Monday, November 6.  Thank you so much for your willingness to share the blessing of God’s love with others!

The Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team 

Information and instructions:

Learn more: “Sending Christmas greetings to prison inmates again”

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."I was in prison, and you visited me." Matthew 25:36
Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Resources
Kairos Prison Ministry

Kairos is a 3-day course on Christianity similar to Walk-to-Emmaus for men and women who are inside prisons and, through Kairos Outside, meeting the spiritual needs of women waiting for their incarcerated loved ones. Kairos teaches about Jesus Christ and his call to each of us, his healing, and his request that we help each other and love each other. Even more important, the ultimate goal is not outsiders caring for those inside. Its goal is to build a strong community of faith on the inside – so inmates are there for each other, to support one another and lift up their brothers and sisters when they need it. They are there for each other – every day, throughout the day – at times when volunteers from the outside could never be there. Kairos prison ministry has programs in 38 states in the U.S. and in nine other countries, including 9 programs in Pennsylvania and two in Delaware.

Contact Scott Johnson for more information: 610-608-7862,, Royersford UMC

Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice News

  • Christmas card outreach to inmates grows
    The Eastern PA Conference’s Christmas Cards to Inmates Project scored another record-breaking year in December 2017. Nearly 9,500 Christmas cards were, in the words of a popular song, “signed, sealed, delivered,” mostly to recipients in 11 of our region’s county and state correctional facilities.  Read more
  • Christmas Cards for Inmates ministry grows
    Deadline for cards is Nov. 6 The best gifts keep on giving, and that’s what is happening with the Christmas Cards for Inmates Project, a growing initiative of the Eastern... Read more