Last Sunday, Rev. David Rebey spoke about the Breaking The Chains Ministry, the mission of the month for October. During his message and children’s message we were urged to BOTH stand up for others AND say we’re friends of people who are bullied.
How can we support prisoners by BOTH standing up for them AND being a friend?
One way is to take part and/or continue the letter writing campaign we have been doing for years. Reach out and listen to someone in prison.
Another way we can help is to support legislation working to provide human dignity to prisoners and people reentering society. Prison reform is slow to happen, but it can occur for issues including trying a 17 year old in Wisconsin; parole; sentence lengths; housing after serving time; and the fortunes made off the prison complex. MICAH and Project Return are two Milwaukee organizations working to make legislative and social changes in the lives of prisoners, communities, and those reentering society.
Mt Zion is now a storage warehouse for new and gently used furniture donated to those moving into housing after prison. There is already furniture being stored in the space! You can donate or refer neighbors and support prisoners who may be leaving prison with nothing. Basic furniture can provide prisoners the opportunity to once again live with their children and family in a safe, affordable home.
Mt Zion is pleased to announce it will serve as a community service site. Before reentry, men from the Felmers Chaney facility will be able to conduct community service around the church. The goal is to “provide a positive work experience, build new skills, and give back to the community” (doc.wi.gov).
Lastly, an exciting opportunity discussed during the Faith Forum was to engage in a program called, “One Parish One Prisoner”. This program asks one church to support one prisoner for two years. The church will develop a relationship with the prisoner for about one year prior to reentry and then continue walking with them for a year once they are in society. The church supports the prisoner as they face barriers of re-entry. Prisoners can lean on the trusting friendships they built with the church as they seek housing, employment, family reunions, and other day-to-day activities that may feel overwhelming. For more information and videos of people impacted by this ministry, visit https://undergroundministries.org/opop
*Image by David LaChapelle, Last Supper, 2003