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.
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!
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.
Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Resources
True Justice: A powerful film in which Bryan Stevenson 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. Click here to watch this film for free on youtube.
National Healing Communities website: will give you more information on this organization. Local contacts in the Philadelphia area are co-directors Dr.Chris Kimmenez who you can reach at email@example.com or Dr. A`Shellarien Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org. They hold quarterly meetings with congregations who have been trained in Healing Communities to share ministries and talk about work in the community.
Kairos Prison Ministry 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.