Dear Friends,

This past Sunday was the Indiana Statewide Day of Prayer for Kairos Prison Ministry, and even though I mentioned this in my pastoral prayer over the weekend, I thought it might be good to lift up this significant ministry we participate in here at Southport UMC yet again, so that we all might better direct our prayers for them throughout this week. This is actually the first church I've been involved in that is connected to a prison ministry, but it faithfully follows the legacy of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, who often ministered to people in prisons throughout his life.

I learned something new about Kairos recently, which is that it is composed of 3 different ministries. One is called "Kairos Inside", which is a ministry for incarcerated adult offenders. There is also "Kairos Torch", which works with incarcerated youth offenders. And finally, there is "Kairos Outside", which ministers to those who are not in prison themselves, but are the parents and extended family, the wives and husbands, the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters, affected by incarceration.

Because of Covid, the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) closed the doors to all volunteers and programming. But now, after more than 2 years, while not all facilities are open yet, many prisons are beginning to reopen.

There are approximately 38,000 individuals under the supervision of the IDOC. When they are released, many eventually return to prison for committing another crime - this is called the recidivism rate. However, the recidivism rate for those who participate in Kairos is reduced by over 50%. Think of that: over half of those who come into contact with a Kairos volunteer never return to prison once they are released; instead, they begin new lives as productive citizens!

So this ministry is something we all need to pray for: That the doors of all of the prisons in Indiana will once again be opened to Kairos. That volunteers will respond to God's call to help and lead. That the lives of adult and youth offenders will be turned around, and all those affected by incarceration will know of God's transforming love.

In a recent communication from Kairos, we are encouraged to pray using words similar to those of Paul in Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine through Kairos Prison Ministry, according to His power that is at work within us and all Kairos volunteers, to Him be glory in the church, in Kairos Prison Ministry, and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane