Offering Prisoners a New Way of Life
In a maximum security prison, Bill Miller, a retired pastor, invites inmates to discover new life through their weekly study of the Bible and other related materials*. As inmates and volunteer alike read, reflect, discuss commentary, and then share how God is speaking to them through the study that particular week, they develop respect for one another, even when they disagree, and find a community of caring. Bill notes those who attend these studies at Riverbend, the prison, are just like every other group he has led.
Bill has also been able to mentor inmates and parolees, lead worship and serve Communion, be a part of the serving team at the Christmas dinner, attend parole hearings, be a pen pal, and visit with inmates. Bill says, “I marvel at the ways in which the involvement of persons with inmates and parolees has transformed the lives of those reaching out to establish relationships as well as those being served.” He reminds us—“in giving we receive and in receiving we give.” Bill talks about putting ourselves in position to find how God graces us in our reaching out to God, to one another, and to the hurting people all around us.
To reach out to prisoners or parolees, check with your local church or denominational office.
*The studies Bill most often uses are in the Disciple Bible Study series, available at cokesbury.com or Amazon.com.