UK Prisons Week: Wednesday
Stephen James pictured with Enocent Silwamba, PFI’s regional director for Anglophone Africa
To mark UK Prisons Week, our Director of Prison Ministry, Stephen James, will be sharing what a typical week looks like for him.
My job involves lots of international travel as part of CEM's partnership with Prison Fellowship International.
We've developed an international prison edition of Christianity Explored, called The Prisoner's Journey® and we have created some testimonial videos to go with it, showing prisoners from all around the world talking about how the gospel has changed their lives. The programme has the tagline: “Come and listen to Jesus, the prisoner”.
My role is to travel to countries who are going to start using the material in their prisons to provide training to volunteers.
Wednesdays are a good day to knuckle down to planning these trips as there is so much to organise - from discussions with the PFI national ministries, to Visa applications (the criminal history section is fun) and embassy visits, flight and hotel bookings and putting together the content for the training. Up to a third of my year can be spent travelling and planning travel.
This year alone I have been to Albania, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Liberia and Russia.
South Africa was a five-day training event to new PFI national ministries where we gave an overview of the whole course, including preparation, promotion, course content, discipleship and evaluation. I was simultaneously translated into three languages as I spoke (Russian, Lebanese and French) which was a surreal experience.
During training I run a simulation session, there's often funny moments when the volunteers take on the roles of a prisoner and I have to facilitate this!
The room always comes alive when we teach identity, mission and call in Mark’s gospel and the passage from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. Scripture never fails to excite and reveal God in the training events.
The Prisoner's Journey® is running in 700 prisons in 40 different countries now, and we’re hoping to take this up to 50 in the next two years. The global prison population is about ten million.
Keep an eye on the blog all week as we'll be sharing more about the ministry Stephen is involved in each day.
Read more about our prison ministry