Prison Chapel Services Reopening
The pandemic, as everyone is aware, has caused much disruption in all areas of society over the last two years. Prison life has also been greatly affected.
The amount of association time (the time prisoners are allowed out of their cells to associate with others) had to be severely curtailed in order to keep people safe. There are stories of prisoners being locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day and this has led, inevitably, to increased mental health issues.
We as Chaplains have been doing what we can to help and support prisoners throughout this time, even though the chapel has been closed. We have been checking up on vulnerable prisoners, working alongside Prison Officers and other members of staff who have also been very caring and supportive of their charges. Nevertheless, there has been a sharp increase in the number of those suffering from poor mental health and prisoners have been constantly asking when they would be able to attend chapel once more.
Subsequently, the news that the authorities have given the go-ahead for the Chapel services and the various courses we run to start up again, has come as a breath of fresh air to everyone. Last Monday and Tuesday I discovered that many more prisoners than usual had put their names down on lists to attend the various groups and services offered by the Chaplaincy.
The services in the Chapels of the two prisons I work in have now recommenced and the courses in one of the prisons such as “Living With Loss”, “Christianity Explored” and “Alpha” are due to begin next month. Please pray that we will be able to accommodate everyone and that God will use these extraordinary circumstances to bring people who would not normally attend, under the sound of the gospel message.
Incarnation | Compassion | Proclamation
Image by David Lofink
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