‘Lives are Changed’:
Prison Ministry Sunday: A year-round ministry
A resolution adopted by the Diocesan Convention in 2005 urged parishes to hold an annual Prison Ministry Sunday. It encouraged “all parishes to celebrate and hold a Prison Ministry Sunday each year .. and to “structure partnerships with people in prison and their families and those who minister to those in prison, and help ex-offenders return to society in productive ways by working with reentry programs.”
“Any Sunday is appropriate,” said the Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, chaplain at the once notorious Sing Sing Correctional Facility in the Diocese of New York, who first proposed the special service.
Some parishes recognize Prison Ministry Sunday during Epiphany, Lent or on the day before Martin Luther King Jr., Day.Ways to minister to the “least of his,” include working with the children and families of prisoners, writing letters, visiting inmates, leading Bible studies, mentoring ex-offenders or advocating repeal of the death penalty, supporting reentry programs and for better prison conditions and lower telephone rates.
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, the Bishop of Maryland, encourages parishes to recognize Prison Ministry Sunday.“Following the command of Jesus to visit the prisoner (Mt 25), we must continue the necessary and hard work of sustaining our prison ministries. Our journey of faith with be deeply enriched and nourished by our love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness for the incarcerated and their families,” he said.