Christian Prison Resourcing (CPR) enjoyed an informative and inspirational Open Day at Elmstead Baptist Church, Chiselhurst, on Saturday 13 April.
The day began with training for CPR chaplains and associates, led by senior men in the prison service: James Ridge, the chaplain general; Bob Wilson, the faith adviser to the Free Churches; and Phil Chadder, chaplaincy training and development officer.
They delivered challenging, interactive training based around 1 Thessalonians considering: prayer, signs of growth, working in an alien environment, and understanding the theology, all targeted at those working ‘inside’. This was greatly appreciated by the CPR Associates.
After lunch, slightly more than 100 supporters of CPR gathered for reports and a celebration of the ministry throughout the year.
Mr Ridge spoke about the changes taking place within chaplaincy in the prison service and encouraged us to get involved supporting communities and churches to assist in the resettlement of ex-offenders. He closed with the challenge to ‘Stand up and take pride in the cross of Christ’.
Next, Mr Wilson highlighted the creation of a welcome directory of churches who are prepared to accept ex-offenders and help them in their reintegration into society.
There were contributors from across the country from those who work with CPR in prisons and detention centres. Several ‘ex-residents of HMP’ gave testimony to the change brought to their lives through the work of CPR chaplains and volunteers.
David Fortune, director of CPR, gave an overview of the CPR vision for the future, which included ensuring that the many CPR courses would be used in every establishment in England and Wales, and training residents to be able to minister in Christian organisations and churches on release.
The urgent need for the appointment of an associate director to continue the growing work of CPR was also highlighted. It was thrilling to see lives transformed by the power of the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Open Day on 25 April 2020 will be our 10th anniversary.