Listen now as Marilyn Shaw, Community Ministry Coordinator in Kitchener, Ontario, describes what happened when a prison inmate reached out to a church.
August 2011—a letter arrives in the mail at one of the partnership churches I work with for Community Ministry: a young man in prison writes about the day two and a half years earlier when he broke into the church’s office. He had come for an AA meeting but was overwhelmed by the number of people and chose instead to hide in the church and sleep there. He was homeless, and it was a cold night after Out of the Cold had closed for the season. In the morning as he was leaving, he frightened two people from the congregation as they came to the office. He was charged with breaking and entering at the church and other places in the community.
His letter was an apology, asking for the congregation’s forgiveness. Within days, congregation members had 20 letters ready to send to him in prison. We continued corresponding until his release about five months later. We were his only connection to the community when he was released to a halfway house. Regular contact continued while he established himself. He is now working and has contributed to a fundraising event for Community Ministry.
Community Ministry is an outreach partnership of Calvary Memorial United and St. Mark’s Lutheran churches. Our motto is “Where people matter.”
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