Sep 17, 2021

Imagine what it would be like to be behind bars this Christmas, with limited contact with family and friends.  Receiving a card with an encouraging note that shares the message of God’s love from someone “outside” would be such a meaningful gift!

The Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team (PMRJ), led by the Rev. Marilyn Schneider, launched this year’s Christmas Cards for Inmates Ministry effort Sept. 13, hoping to build on its pandemic-forced, scaled-down effort last year.  

Most churches were closed and events were canceled in 2020, limiting opportunities to have cards produced and signed. But the team still provided over 4,000 signed cards to correctional facilities for their inmates and staff. It credits that successful effort to supportive congregations and determined team members who picked up and dropped off bagged cards from containers placed at cooperating churches.  

The team will use the same system this year, relying on at least six participating churches and the Conference Office as pick-up and drop-off locations for prepared cards. Meanwhile, it encourages now-open churches to make their own cards again, and bring or send them, once signed, to the Conference Office. Just download and copy the cards, and follow the simple directions on the Christmas Cards for Inmates Ministry web page.

Your participation would mean so much.  It is a perfect way to remember the true reason for the Christmas season. 

Completed cards need to be returned by Monday Nov. 1 to cooperating church drop-off sites or to the Conference Office (P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482, or 980 Madison Avenue, Norristown, PA 19403).  Contact the PMRJ with any questions or to offer any help.

Also view the UMCom video about this ministry, produced in 2016:  Church Christmas Cards Show Care to Prisoners | View on YouTube 

CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR INMATES – 2021

PICK UP / DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Questions? Contact Rev. Marilyn Schneider, 610-696-2663, prisonministries@epaumc.org

In addition to all drop-off locations below, completed cards may also be mailed to: 
Eastern PA Conference of the United Methodist Church
Attn: Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice
P.O. Box 820
Valley Forge, PA  19482-0820

CONFERENCE OFFICE – 980 Madison Avenue, Norristown PA 

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote outside the door of the Conference Office. Available for pick up M-F, 8 am – 4 pm. If tote has been moved inside door, please ring bell for assistance.
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag.
  • Location Contact: Regina Raiford Babcock, Office Manager, 484-762-8222, rbabcock@epaumc.org

NORTH DISTRICT – EPWORTH UMC, 3245 Oakland Rd, Bethlehem, PA

  • Pick up: Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote under portico outside front door of church.
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag.
  • Location contact:  Linda Shafer, Secretary, 610-868-5354, epworthchurch@rcn.com

NORTH DISTRICT –ST. JOHN’S UMC, 1218 W. Arch St, Coal Township,  PA

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote outside the main entrance to the church. 
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag  
  • Location contact:  Pastor Karyn Fisher, 570-648-2842 (leave a message), karyn.fisher3@gmail.com

SOUTH DISTRICT – GROVE UMC, 490 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote outside the front door of the church
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag  
  • Location contact: Grove Church Office, 610-696-2663, office@grovechurch.org

SOUTH DISTRICT – WEST LAWN UMC, 15 Woodside Ave, Reading, PA

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled canvas divider on a table in the hallway of the Reiner Education Building, outside the church office. Available for pick up M-F, 8:30am – 4 pm
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag  
  • Location contact:  Kathy Ballick, Administrative Assistant, 610-678-5611, kathy@westlawnumc.org

EAST DISTRICT – FIRST UMC of GERMANTOWN (FUMCOG), 6001 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote outside the church office door, on top of a bench from 9-5, Monday through Friday
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag, 9-5,  Monday through Friday 
  • Location contact: Michael Yancey, Office Manager, 215-438-3677, fumcog1@gmail.com

EAST DISTRICT – TINDLEY TEMPLE UMC, 750-62 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 

  • Pick up:  Cards are located inside the church and can be accessed during office hours. Availability times and contact information to be determined. Please check back.  Cards are inside a labeled container, in a bag labeled “Cards to be Completed.”
  • Drop off:  Completed, signed cards may be returned to the same container, and placed in the bag labeled “Completed Cards.” 

WEST DISTRICT – GOOD SHEPHERD UMC, 1500 Quentin Rd, Lebanon, PA

  • Pick up:  Cards are located in a bag labeled “cards to be completed”, in a labeled tote inside the church and can be accessed during office hours, Monday-Thursday,  9:00 am – 1:00 pm, (ring the bell). 
  • Drop off:  Cards may be returned to the same tote, and placed in “completed cards” bag  
  • Location contact:  Rev. Lisa Flory, Pastor of Equipping, 717-272-7741, lflory@umcogs.org

WEST DISTRICT – Linda Van Til

  • An additional source of cards to be picked up or dropped off is Linda Van Til. Contact her by phone at 717-626-0745 (leave a message if need be), or by email at raven303@ptd.net.