Discovering Cherries & Prison Ministry
You know what’s the best thing about settling into a new home? Finding all the undiscovered treasures the owner left behind. Guess what we have found? Rainier cherry trees–2 of them! An apple tree, a pear tree (which I initially thought was a “suck-uh! tree.” I’m glad I didn’t chop it down), and huckleberry bushes. They’d been growing since I moved in, but I just now discovered them! That’s the same sense of excitement and discovery I have had often as a pastor here this last year. One of the things God has been planting, watering, and using so many of you to cultivate, is ministry at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (Purdy Prison) right down the road. I want to invite you into what God is doing there.
God has been working in WCCW for a long time. Many of you know the faithful volunteers who led the monthly chapel service for many years. You may not realize, though, just how many volunteers are involved in so many aspects of breathing life into the women! GRE teachers, clothes closet volunteers, Celebrate Recovery mentors, a choir director, a nurse, visitors, and retreat leaders are a ministry team from Chapel Hill. From inmates to employees to volunteers, we have always had a presence ministering to our neighbors in the prison.
But we haven’t been pulled together as a team before. When Amy Orr-Ewing preached 2 weeks ago and encouraged us to have visions that we could not fulfill on our own, to dream of ministry that we could only do with God, it was the WCCW that came immediately to mind for me.
Prison reform and restorative justice are tremendously huge visions that, to me, extend way beyond my ability as an individual. But you know what? God has already been working here! Just like those trees in my yard that I haven’t had to work and till and prune to receive from, so have many of our members been working diligently in the power of the Spirit as God has been forming us to be a community that can serve our neighbors.
Do you want to harvest cherries with me? Rather– do you want to participate in what God may be asking us to do at Purdy Prison with me?
I’m not asking you to join a program or to sign up for a volunteer sheet. I’m not sure what God is going to ask us to do that might be new and huge. So I’m asking you to come and pray with me at the church and ask God what he might have us do and continue to do.
Many of you already work in the prison. Please, come and let us as a community pray with you for what God is already doing through you. If you’re like me and you’ve never been in a prison in your life, come and pray with me! And ask God with me for the boldness to participate in his Jubilee work of seeing prisoners set free! We want to see people restored to who God has made them to be.
If you want to be about that work, I invite you to come and pray with me every Tuesday over the next 6 weeks in the Prayer Chapel. We will be alternating mornings and evenings to allow more to come.
August 13, 7:15am
August 20, 7:15pm
August 27, 7:15am
September 3, 7:15pm
September 10, 7:15am
September 17, 7:15pm
See you there! Be on the lookout– you don’t know how God is going to get your attention. Maybe it’s a cherry tree. Maybe it’s a neighbor you’ve not noticed or prayed for for years. I hope you’ll join us in serving our neighbor.