When considering those in prison it can be tempting to think of them as being ‘beyond redemption; and they are, after all, where they belong!’
If that describes your thoughts, then this may be a timely reminder that the Holy Spirit is at work in prisons and the gospel flourishing behind lock and key.
The reality of life in prison can bring some men and women, many of whom have come to the lowest and darkest point of their lives, to the wonderful revelation of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now in its fifth year, the annual open day of Christian Prison Resourcing (CPR) was held on 18 April at Elmstead Baptist Church in Chislehurst, Kent. I have had the privilege of attending almost every one of these events, but this year was by far the most encouraging.
We began the afternoon with an opportunity to meet and speak with CPR staff and volunteers over a buffet tea, before 120 of us convened in the main auditorium. We were welcomed by our host, Pastor Malcolm Jones, and the meeting was opened by chairman and CPR board member, Brian Edwards. What followed was two hours filled with information-packed reports from more than 12 speakers, made up of prison chaplains, believing ex-offenders, sessional workers and CPR employees.
Between them, they covered updates on the work in prisons, spoke of transformed lives, explained the need for the resettlement of ex-offenders, and encouraged partnerships with churches. We also witnessed six men and women being officially set aside for work with CPR. In all this, what was most encouraging was to hear testimony of what God is doing, not just inside prisons but in the hearts of prisoners. To hear that testimony first-hand from those present who have benefited from the faithful work of CPR was truly wonderful.