About Prisons Week

For forty years now, Prisons Week has prepared prayer literature to enable the Christian community, through individuals and churches, to pray for the needs of all those affected by prisons: prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, those working in the criminal justice system and the many people who are involved in caring for those affected by crime on the inside and outside of our prisons.

Prisons Week raises awareness and generates prayer. It motivates volunteers to step forward and give their time and gifts, in prisons and in their own communities. It provides an annual focus and reason for Christians to work together, building capacity and motivation to make a difference for people who are out of sight and often out of mind.

Prisons Sunday – the second Sunday in October – marks the beginning of the week of prayer each year, running through until the following Saturday.

A week of prayer

Prisons Week aims to encourage prayer and awareness of the needs of prisoners and their families, victims of offenders, prisons staff and all those who care, reflected in the Prisons Week Prayer offered throughout the week:

Lord, you offer freedom to all people.
We pray for those in prison.
Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.
Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends,
prison staff and all who care.
Heal those who have been wounded by the activities
of others, especially the victims of crime.
Help us to forgive one another.
To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ
in His strength and in His Spirit, now and every day. Amen.

Each day of the week, a new prayer brings into focus a different group affected by prison or criminal justice. Churches and individuals are also asked to reflect on what they might do or offer as part of their response, through the range of Christian agencies and charities involved in supporting Prisons Week.

Prisons Week Board of Reference

The Board of Reference and smaller Working Group consist of representatives of Christian denominations and Christian organisations working in prisons or supporting prisons ministry. All members are voluntary (there are no paid staff), meeting several times a year to guide and continue the work of Prisons Week.

Current members of the Board of Reference are as follows:

Sam Adewumi

Fountain Harvest & Prison Chaplain

Gareth Barton (Vice Chair)

Spread Creative Agency

Claire Bonham

Salvation Army

Fr Patrick Cope

NOMS Chaplaincy

Philip Gay

Langley House Trust

Sophie Giles

Caring for Ex-Offenders

Stephen Hawkins

Prison Fellowship

Father Richard Hearn

Dean, St George’s Cathedral, Southwark

Trevor Howard

Churches in Communities

Martin Howe

Clean Sheet

Daniel McNamara

Pact (Prison Advice and Care Trust)

Roger Reader

Catholic Bishops Conference

Tim Rosier

Reflex

Rachel Shackleton

Spurgeons

David Spademan

AoG and Prison Chaplain

Alison Tyler

Prison Chaplain

Bob Wilson (Chair)

Free Churches Faith Advisor to NOMS

Matt Wall

Community Chaplaincy Association

History

Prisoners’ Week began in England and Wales in 1975. The Prisoners’ Week Committee, consisting of Prison Chaplains and other Christians involved in work with prisoners and their families, was formed to encourage prayer within churches and the wider Christian community for the needs of prisoners. They produced a prayer and information leaflet for use on the third Sunday in November, designated Prisoners’ Sunday, with the week observed until the following Saturday.

It had its beginnings as a Roman Catholic initiative started by Bishop Victor Guazzelli, but quickly gained ecumenical support and became an ecumenical observance, receiving the patronage of: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Archbishop of Wales and the Moderator of the Free Churches Group.

In 1993 Prisoners’ Week became a registered charity and in 1995, seeking to focus attention not only on the needs of prisoners but on all those involved and affected by prison (including prisoners families, victims of crime, prison staff, those working in other parts of criminal justice and many volunteers) the week became known as Prisons Week, and the committee known as the Prisons Week Committee.

Previous Campaigns

Prayer Leaflet

The costs of printing and distributing the prayer leaflet are met through the generous support of sponsoring organisations, churches and individuals who share the vision of Prisons Week.

Donations are gratefully received and can be made either online or by post to Prisons Week c/o Free Churches Group, 27 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HH

Prisons Week campaign literature is designed by Spread Creative Agency.

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