You may already be aware that there are over 2 million men, women, and children currently incarcerated in the United States in jails, federal and state prisons, juvenile lock ups, and immigration detention facilities. What you may not know is that 97% of them will eventually be released, some after decades of the deprivation of imprisonment that more often than not amplifies maladaptive behavior as a means of survival in that environment. Those few who come out better versions of themselves do so in spite of the system, not because of it. Many times their overcoming is because in the rawness of their desperation and isolation they cried out to the heavens and Jesus met them where they were at.
We, as people of faith, are commissioned by Christ to love and care for those in prison which is reason enough to do so. Very often, the absence of love and thus the pursuit of filling that void is what creates the trajectory toward incarceration. The love of God shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit has the power to heal. When Jesus overheard the Pharisees ask His disciples why their teacher sat at the table with sinners and tax collectors He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.”
From a practical public safety standpoint it is in our best interest to make meaningful efforts and significant investments in the lives of justice-involved children of God because they will one day leave the segregation of prison and reintegrate to our communities. They will be our neighbors, literally. We serve the Lord and one another by welcoming them in love and helping them grow in faith, empowering them to leave their past in the past and walk boldly in newness of life. In so doing, we are also changed for the better because we discover we are no different. There is no us and them, only we. All in need of a Savior’s grace and a forgiving community of individuals who gather at the foot of the cross - sacred and level ground. No one is better than. We are all both saint and sinner, equal in the eyes of God.
Prison Congregations of America is able to share this message and continue this work because of the generosity of those who faithfully give. We are grateful for your prayers for strength and courage to rise to the fulfillment of the call. We would appreciate your willingness to promote this mission in your home state, and if there is a prison congregation already near you we encourage you to reach out to the pastor and offer your time, talent, and treasure. We also ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a part of this ministry by supporting PCA financially so that we can continue to move toward Pastor Ed’s vision of planting a church inside every prison in the United States, and to assist in establishing welcoming communities of faith on the outside to embrace those coming out of incarceration.