Prison Bible Study Group
Our Chaplain, Nick, tells us about being dropped into the deepend with his Prison Bible study group. It turne dout to be just like Narrowgate days...
Since May 2021 I have been going into HMP Buckley Hall in Rochdale on Mondays to come alongside the chaplains there, working with the prisoners. Now from the beginning of October I have also been able to go into HMP Hindley in Wigan on Tuesdays to work in a similar capacity. I spent my first two visits to Hindley getting to know some of the staff and prisoners and getting an idea of how they do things. Then on my third visit I was unexpectedly asked by the Anglican chaplain if I would lead a Bible Study Group meeting as she was otherwise engaged.
I didn't have anything prepared but I agreed to do so. As I entered the room there were four prisoners (regular attendees) waiting. Not knowing what else to do I noticed a guitar and picked it up. I simply fell into the same approach I used to use in the Narrowgate Homeless Shelter we ran in times past, and sang a song from the Psalms. I then went on to explain how that the Psalms were written by people (especially David) who had been through some difficult times.
I gave a brief rundown of some of the troubles David had faced and shared how that reading through the Psalms we see all of human experience in them. The writers spoke of their highs and lows, their triumphs and losses, family troubles, people coming against them, and how God had blessed them and brought them through. I said that even though they were written some 3,000 years ago they were still relevant now and we could identify with the situations written about. I said that we often face the same circumstances today, nothing has really changed in that respect and we can gain great comfort, wisdom and blessing from the Psalms. They show us that we too can cry out to the Lord and ask for His help.
This then led me to share my own testimony of how I came to Jesus out of the background of a difficult and tragic childhood. I sang another song and explained how those listening could also come to Christ. When I had finished you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Eventually they said how they had been fascinated to hear what I had to say. They had all been given Bibles and I pointed out several Scriptures concerning salvation and encouraged them to seek the Lord for themselves.
I felt as though I had been dropped in at the deep end but I knew this was a divine appointment and that God was, and still is at work in the lives of those I shared with. Please continue to pray for this growing prison ministry.