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Prison Ministry

“I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25 v 36

Living in this locality we have a wonderful opportunity to do just that – we have a men’s open prison at Hollesley Bay, next door to Warren Hill, a closed men’s prison. Including inmates and staff there must be a community of more than 1000 people. The staff includes a Chaplaincy team who run Sunday services and weekly Bible study groups, as well as attending to the pastoral needs of the inmates. Through the Chaplaincy team we have opportunities to help and witness to this community. However bad their crimes and however well-deserved their sentence, we can show God’s love for all mankind and perhaps thereby help men to change their lives.

There are many ways we can do this:

  1. Regular prayer- for the Chaplaincy team, for prison staff, for the volunteers going into the prisons.

  2. There are two teams from St John’s that assist the chaplaincy with the Sunday services. Each team goes once a month, helping with the worship and chatting after the services at both prisons.

  3. Other volunteers attend the weekly Bible study to help with discussions, or assist with Alpha (2 have run in 2015 in the closed prison) and with the associated follow-on groups.

  4. There is a local Prison Fellowship Group- a multi-denominational group of Christians who meet in Ipswich once a month for prayer. They support the Chaplaincy and provide the Sycamore Tree - Restorative Justice and Victim Awareness Course. Find out more on the Prison Fellowship website.

  5. Taking a prayerful interest in the justice system in this country. Crime is a problem that causes hardship, suffering and wastes money and lives. Considering the welfare of ex-offenders once they are released, as good care and support is a major contributing factor to reducing re-offending rates.

  6. Caring for Ex-Offenders- In 2014, with PCC agreement, St John's registered as a CFEO church. This means we are a church willing to welcome and help support ex-offenders following their release from prison. This can be from any prison in the country where the ex-offender wishes to make a new start in this area and has requested support from a local church, through the CFEO organisation based at Holy Trinity Brompton. We have a team in place who would provide help with practical and spiritual needs, including meeting the ex-offender at the prison gates on release. 

  7. The band FinnyMusic, led by Finny, is supported by St John's and goes to prisons and give concerts, lead services, share testimonies and give out freedom packs containing practical information, useful contacts and copies of the FinnyMusic CD & various testimonial books. Find out more by speaking to Luc Ray-Mathur, visiting the FinnyMusic website or contacting events@finnymusic.co.uk.
 

If you are interested in any of these ways of getting involved please contact the Church Office and they will pass on your enquiry to the appropriate person.