This Sunday—May 21, 2017—has been designated as “Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday” by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
“We who do not live in the darkness of a prison or jail cannot truly comprehend the incredible distress men and women prisoners live with each and every day,” write His Eminence, Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, the Assembly’s Liaison to the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry [OCPM], and Father Stephen Powley, OCPM Executive Director, in their message announcing the occasion. “OCPM needs all our help to bring the love and light of Christ to these precious souls. The Orthodox Church, through OCPM, offers both hope and healing to those living in such distress.”
“The OCA Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid [CSHA] joins the Assembly of Bishops in urging the faithful to pray for the imprisoned, their families, prison chaplains and volunteers, and to financially support OCPM in its dynamic and growing Matthew 25 ministry,” said Donna Karabin, who chairs the department. “CSHA offers a number of articles on its Parish Ministry Resources page with information and insights on the roles of chaplains, lay men and women volunteers, and parishes on how to become involved in this important outreach. Some are called to work within prison walls, others in compassionate support programs for families. The stories span a period of 30 years, showing the determined development of the Gospel vision in Orthodox prison ministry.”
Among the featured articles are the following.