Dec 052010

Stephen, 18, first time in an adult prison; “I did this Christian course, I wasn’t going to but I thought, oh well I’ll give it a go, it was wicked, the people who came in loved me, I’ve never felt anything like it before. I couldn’t stop smiling, I smiled for three days, I smiled so much my jaw ached.”

Dennis, early 30’s, in prison for many years, chronic mental instability;
“you guys (chaplains) share the journey (life in prison) with us, why do you care about us, no one else does, why do you do it? I know it’s Gods work.”

James, given by email, arrested and brought in on remand. Assessed as a chronic slash up – suicide risk, placed in Crisis Care Unit safe cell (no hanging points). Released a few months later and sent the CCU team, i.e. Manager, Chaplain, Psychologist, Mental health nurse. “a very big thankyou to you guys who supported me and kept me from committing suicide, you saved my life. I have no intention of committing suicide now.”

Jan, serving a life sentence, never to be released, husband commits suicide in men’s prison; “thanks (to chaplains) for coming to see me, organising and conducting his funeral, thanks for caring, no one else does, sometimes they seem to but they always have a hidden agenda.”

People from St Philips and elsewhere go to the Prisons with the Chaplains every month, for years. Others from St Philips go down the beach on Sunday evenings in the summer, picking up some of the fall out from excessive indulgence in booze, drugs, the laissez-faire lifestyle. The Wakimbizi project, time, money, commitment, prayer, for those who suffer the horrors of civil war and refugee camps.

This is where the Gospel rubber hits the road as we go out from the Church into the world. Taking the ‘Good News’ of Jesus and the Resurrection, the light of Christ to people and places where ‘Good News’ and ‘the light’ are rare commodities.

All this, and more, is the work of the Kingdom of God motivated by the Spirit of God and supported by the prayers of the whole Church, especially those who because of age or infirmity, cannot be in the front line action.

Paul Gill

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