For many years, St Andrew's Church has supported the work of Prison Fellowship.
Pete Appleby writes the following:
The weekly Sunday service is regularly attracting about 50 men. This is an encouraging number as at one time there were problems with there being insufficient officers, to fulfill the security requirements due to cut-backs. But God has brought a sense of oneness between officers and inmates on Sundays. This has come about through the power of prayer and the way God’s word has been shared over the last year. Dale, head of the Chaplaincy team, has allowed a real variety of speakers that have captured the men’s attention and brought a sense of hope to them.
Hope is essential for these men as they can be locked in their cells for up to 18 hours of the day when the prison is short of officers to cover all duties. The officers are under great pressure, and sickness and absence from work is high due to these pressures. It could be like a tinder box ready to explode, but I believe it is through God’s word and his spirit moving through the prisoners that somehow God’s peace reigns in a good many parts of the prison.
Prison Fellowship regularly runs a restorative justice programme called ‘Sycamore Tree’ based on the story of Zacchaeus meeting with Jesus. It is all about changing lives and bringing the prisoners to an awareness of the impact their crime has on their victims and their families. In week three a victim is introduced and his or her story has a profound effect on the men who attend. Over the six week course we hope to bring about change in the way the men view their neighbour.
Prison Fellowship members meet once a month to pray about situations and individuals in the prison, and to encourage those who volunteer.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me Matt 25: 35-36