The Effectiveness of the Prison Ministry
By: Steve Hable
As you know, a few of us are directly involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry program. Twice a year, we ask that you become directly involved by baking cookies and offering prayers for our “weekends” in the prison. A Kairos weekend consists of a very structured program for 4 consecutive 12 hour days. Your homemade cookies and prayers are vital to our success. Kairos volunteers will always tell you that we receive more from the experience than we give. We say that because we see the remarkable changes in some of the inmates that occur during the weekend. You can also witness the effects of the ministry by attending the Sunday afternoon closing session of one of the weekends. Both men and women are invited, but you need to get clearance from the state prison system. We can provide the forms to you, but your request must be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the Kairos weekend. The next event is October 23-26. To attend the closing ceremony in the prison, your application form would have to be submitted by September 20. Please contact me if you are interested.
As participants, we know the Kairos program makes a difference. We recently had that verified by the people that are closest to the environment. Each year, all volunteers must attend a training session at the prison. Last month, the Correctional Officer leading the training told us about a recent “white paper” report. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the labor union representing the correctional officers, wrote a report on the current condition of the penal system in California. The report stated that with the budget cuts over the last several years, there was very little opportunity for rehabilitation of the inmates. The officer told us that the report concluded the only program that actually changed the character of the inmate was the program with the volunteers in the prison chapel! Being fishermen of men is what we are called to do and the effects are life changing for all of us.