Prison Ministry - HMP Huntercombe
In the Holy Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew (chapter 25) there is a famous image that Christ Himself paints, related to the judgement of all, when the Son of Man (Himself) will return for the second time:
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
So faith, really, in this context can be defined as faithfulness, expressed through what we do and He gives us a few specific actions, duties of all of us, the last of which is visiting people in prisons.
We take this very seriously and over the past few years we have had regular visits to one of the prisons near Reading, HMP Huntercombe (more details about it can be found HERE). Father John is a registered chaplain there: he visits every Monday and leads regular services (prayers, Holy Sacraments, Bible Study). Furthermore, twice a year he celebrates a Divine Liturgy at HMP Huntercombe and members of the parish are invited as well.
The educational side of this ministry is also important: we provide from our parish funds Bibles, prayer books, icons for the cells, calendars and religious books.
The testimonies of the prisoners there are very powerful, as they receive grace and help in what is, for most of them, one of the most difficult times of their life. Prison can be (although it is not, often enough) a place of reflection and change; we strive to help and support this.
Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved!