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Prison Ministry Team April Report

Philip R Beck

The Prison Ministry Team “endeavors to become informed advocates for justice and build relationships to decrease isolation of those confined in the Iowa Justice System.”  Here are some of our latest endeavors:

  • In April plans continued for a June 11 screening and fundraiser at FilmScene as part of their Community Collaborations series.  Beyond Walls is a program of five short documentaries about prison life, its effects on families of the incarcerated, and life after incarceration.  Kim Palmer and new member Zach Palmer are working with FilmScene on this important part of our mission to educate the public.
  • Kim and Zach also attended the screening of “The Inside Singers,” a new documentary about the Oakdale Choir, at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival on April 6.
  • Ron Pile continued to correspond with an incarcerated individual at Newton Correctional Facility about establishing a prison ministry there.
  • Phil Beck attended a Reentry Simulation at Coe College in Cedar Rapids on April 10.  Simulations such as this one aim to educate the public on the numerous challenges faced by those returning to the outside world after incarceration.  The event was organized by Coe College’s Prison Justice Initiative.
  • We now have a presence on the bulletin board in the church lobby thanks to Sally Hartman and Bonnie Penno, who created a space for Prison Ministry Team and posted information about the pen pal program and resources concerning prison justice issues.  We will post bulletins about upcoming events in this space.
  • The Prison Ministry Team continues to be active through the Pen Pal program. Members regularly correspond with incarcerated individuals either by “snail mail” or through the Iowa Department of Corrections’ o-mail system, CorrLinks. We are always looking for volunteers to write to inmates. Incarcerated persons tell us over and over how important it is for them to hear from those of us outside. Just knowing that there are caring people who haven’t forgotten them and are willing to spend time writing to them is a deeply meaningful, positive experience for them. And it is very rewarding for volunteers, too. We can set you up with contacts, instructions for using CorrLinks and postal mail, and a sample introductory letter to use or modify as you see fit. If you think you might be interested, please email prisonministry@uusic.org and one of us will get back to you.  You can also check out our page on this website at https://www.uusic.org/connect/#justice.
  • The UUA has a prison ministry through the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the Worthy Now Prison Ministry Network. They’re also looking for people to become pen pals to incarcerated individuals nationwide. For more information, go to worthynow.org.
  • The UUS Prison Ministry Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the UUS Conference Room. You are welcome to join us at our next meeting on May 7, 2024, either in person or via Zoom (Meeting ID: 848 0842 4430; Passcode: 193553).

Post Content URL: https://www.uusic.org/connect/#justice  (under Social Justice Groups & Community Service Teams)

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