"I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." (Matthew 25:36)
The Bishop's Committee on Prison Ministry was created in 2010 at the 194th Annual Convention. Its continuing focus is to raise awareness of the need to bring Christ's light into North Carolina jails and prisons.
At its 203rd Annual Convention in November 2018, the Diocese voted to approve Act 2018-12, calling for reform in the country's money bail system. With the backing of Convention, the work of the committee and others across the Diocese has turned to focus more on this fundamental issue of justice in our society. If you are interested in learning more about the money bail system in North Carolina, download the committee's fact sheet, or visit the Pretrail Justice Institute website.
Continuing the work centered around reform of the money bail system in North Carolina and the nation, the 204th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina approved Act 2019-4, an additional resolution aimed at raising awareness of specific issues concerning money bail reform through education. A concise explanation of issues relevant to pretrial release reform in North Carolina can be found here and important stories of personal experience with the money bail system within the United States can be accessed through viewing the documentary film “The Bail Trap”. Information on viewing or screening the film in your parish community can be found here.
If you are interested in ministering directly to prisoners, keep reading to learn more about active prison ministries throughout our Diocese.
FORSYTH JAIL AND PRISON MINISTRIES
Founded in 1977, Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries have been serving incarcerated men and women in Forsyth County for more than 40 years. The ministry operates programs at the Forsyth County Detention Center as well as the state run Forsyth Correctional Center. Support for those in detention includes worship services, music, Christian education and many opportunities for fellowship and mentoring. Assistance for those re-entering society from prison is provided through the Transition to Work program and support is given in both the pre-release and post-release settings.
YOKEFELLOW PRISON MINISTRY
Yokefellow Prison Ministry is an interdenominational, racially diverse Christian ministry of reconciliation begun in 1969 (and incorporated in 1972), which includes both lay and clergy volunteers, and serves both incarcerated men and women. It is founded on the idea that people’s lives are changed through committed relationships. The ministry is conducted by trained volunteers who lead weekly meetings of small groups inside North Carolina’s correctional institutions. Yokefellow is not focused on worship, preaching, teaching, counseling or Bible study but is a ministry of listening, sharing, caring, encouragement and support provided by community volunteers from the “outside” yoked in fellowship with those on the “inside” through the weekly small group meetings.
To learn more about volunteering with Yokefellow Prison Ministry, contact Carlton Gooding, 336-740-0392.
Or for more information, contact the Rev. David Stanford, 773-671-6887.
INTERFAITH PRISON MINISTRY FOR WOMEN
The Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) is a nonprofit organization serving the greater Raleigh area with a mission to build bridges of hope for women in prison before and after release through chaplaincy services, transitional programs and re-entry support.
On any given day, almost 3,000 women are incarcerated in NC; as many as 76% of these women are mothers. We believe all people deserve another chance, and IPMW helps women to empower themselves with tools and resources so they have that chance upon release.
Contact the Rev. Mark Davidson, chair of the Bishop's Committee on Prison Ministry, for ideas on getting started or to share what you are already doing!