Don't Be Alone

May 07, 2018

By Mary Mortenson, Executive Director, PCA

“Don’t be alone, “ is what I said to him when we parted company.

This comment was made in response to a number of discussions about how hard prison ministry is.  An obvious reason that prison ministry is hard is that working in a correctional system means working within the parameters of often confusing and frustrating rules.  More to the point, though, is that those called to service to the marginalized people of society are really called to ministry in the shadows.  More often than not, those with whom they work are somehow hidden – their stories not told.  Thus it falls to those servants to tell the stories to the church on the outside – and that’s when things can get tough.  Many of the stories are testimonies of joy and new life, but there are also stories of violence and fear and hopelessness, which are harder to grasp.  I can care about and pray for those struggling with addiction and living under the constant reality of gun violence, but I do not know what it is really like – not like the one called to serve within the chaos.

People don’t mean to be disengaged; life and circumstance just cause them to be so.  I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t connected with Prison Congregations of America many years ago, I would be one who supported prison ministry, but who wasn’t really involved other than to write a check and maybe visit when it was our congregation’s turn to do so. 

And so I said, “Don’t be alone.”  We all need those to whom we can go for validation, rest, and renewal.  I invite you to be one of those who will simply listen in love to the stories that you cannot imagine, to thank God for the servants who have chosen to step into that world, and then to say, “Teach me how to help.”

 



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Category: love

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