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Jesus said, “I was in prison, and you visited me.” At Mt Zion, we are joyfully growing disciples in Christ, and one of the things disciples do is visit those in prison. We have long had a prison ministry here at Mt Zion, but we now have more opportunities than ever to show those in prison that they too are “a reflection of God’s image, worthy of life and love.”

What all can you do to be a part of our prison ministry?

  • Letter writing. Those in prison often have few outside contacts, and maybe few friends in prison as well. Many are in near-isolation most of the day. For years, with the leadership of Jean Morack, Mt Zion has written letters to those in prison, serving as pen pals and vital supports for those who want it. These letters are sent through the church so that no personal information (like address) needs to be shared. We are always looking for more letter writers (a particularly great activity for someone who may be homebound or unable to find a regular time to volunteer). Youth can write letters if they have an adult working with them in the endeavor.
  • Prison worship. Thanks to the new ministry work of Rev. David Rebey at Breaking the Chains, there is now opportunity to go to prison and take part in worship together. Worship takes places on Saturday evenings. For your first time worshipping, you’ll be invited to join on Zoom. If you find you liked the experience, you can go and worship in person after some background checks and a 3-hour training session (next training is April 23rd in the afternoon, so if you’re interested, plan on worshipping on Zoom soon!). Those in prison appreciate having a larger community join them as they praise God.
  • Meal service. Felmers Chaney is prison with a work release program where inmates can go out into the community to do work and community service. Mt Zion is now a community service site where a vanload of inmates come to clean the building monthly, covering the areas our maintenance staff is unable to clean regularly. As a thank you, we need people who will provide quality meals for the crew.
  • Furniture donation. As people are released from prison, they need help getting back on their feet. Many come out with few resources. One way Rev. Rebey is helping the inmates at Felmer Chaney is by collecting furniture and small appliances to furnish their apartments upon release. Mt Zion is one of the storage locations for donations, and more furniture is always needed. However, donations need to be approved by Rev. Rebey first to ensure they match what is currently needed.
  • Project Return. Many additional opportunities are available through Project Return, a program that helps former prisoners successfully return to society.

As you can see, there are so many ways we do and can support those in prison. Would you be interested in getting more involved with our prison ministry? Please contact Pastor Tyler, let him know which activity(s) interest you, and he’ll connect you with those who can help you get started.

P.S. from Pastor Tyler: As a Christian, I have long known that visiting those in prison is one of the clearest things Jesus asked us to do. But it is also one of the hardest these days. I have never actually stepped foot inside a prison in my life. I bet many of you could say the same thing, though some of you have been more times than you care to remember. If you’re like me, I invite you to commit to walking this path Jesus invites us on and make prison ministry a real part of your life.