Ministry with Prisoners & Families
Format: Paperback
Book Code: J156
Pages: 192
Size: 5" x 8"
ISBN: 9780817016647
PubDate: 2011

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List Price: $17.99
Web Price: $14.39


$1.00 from the sale of every copy of this book will fund the distribution of Christian resources to those in prison or in need.

List of contributors
Table of Contents

This edited volume considers the impact of incarceration on the African American community and the biblical mandate for an intentional response from the church. The book features model ministries that address:

  • Incarceration
  • Prisoner reentry
  • Care of families
  • Political advocacy around issues in criminal justice reform

Contributors include scholars, ministry practitioners, pastors, and formerly incarcerated individuals who offer a paradigm for “prisoner ministry” that goes beyond traditional worship and Bible study programs. They provide insight and practical strategies for developing an authentic relational encounter—not only with prisoners but with their families, from the time of incarceration to the transition back into home, church, and society.

Contributors include:

  • Karen Swanson,  director, Institute for Prison Ministries 
  • Deborah Jackson-Meyers, founder and executive director, Breaking the Chain Foundation
  • Michael Smith, founder, Cross of Christ Ministries
  • Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins, founder, National Women’s Prison Project, Inc.
  • Madeline McClenney-Sadler, founder, Exodus
  • Elwood Gray, president, National Coalition of Prison Ministries

Download this free online Study Guide for small-group use.

Editorial Reviews:

"Each author in this volume captured the concerns of the past decade with vivid accuracy... The book creates a call and response of voices, and each contributor speaks from the passion of authority rooted in personal and credentialed experience, and many connect that authority with a theological appeal." —from the Foreword by Addie L. Richburg, President and CEO, National Alliance of Faith and Justice

"This book is unique, not because of its diverse subject matter in dealing with stigma and change of the returning citizen, but because it testifies to the powerful results of real reentry ministries. It reveals also the heart and work of individuals who dare to make a difference in the way people should be treated. This book will serve as a reference for every person who desires, not only to do the work of healing, but to be a carrier of the Word of God and to cherish every man and woman afflicted with the stain of incarceration." —from the Afterword by DeeDee M. Coleman, BA, MA, DD, Chair, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Commission on Social Justice and Prison Ministry

"For too long we've abandoned people in prison and surrendered returning citizens to the whims of secular culture. A 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' mentality has won the day, spawning nothing but grief, hopelessness, and despair. This book puts communities of faith on the front lines of a battle for the dawn of a new day. If you choose to read one book on the wretched state of the criminal justice system today and its devastating effects on the family and on our communities, especially among the poor, this book is a must have. The writers provide the church with unprecedented opportunities to rise up and offer the world the answers we have had along--the truth of God's Word and the love of God's people." —Dr. H. David Schuringa, President, Crossroad Bible Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Finally, a book that equips churches to minister more effectively to those affected by incarceration! These authors have given us the benefit of  their many decades of experience and study.  Learn from them before you begin your prison-related ministry. If you are already engaged in this kind of ministry, stop what you are doing and read this book." —Joseph Williams, President, Christian Association for Prison Aftercare

"Ministry with Prisoners and Families will be important in helping to break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism, especially with its focus on the family as a critical element. This book provides a realistic, practical approach to addressing the problem of incarceration that will restore lives, reunite families, and rebuild communities. It is a must-read for churches, reentry programs, and the corrections community." —Rev. Carmen Warner-Robbins MSN, RN, MDiv, FAAN, CEO and Founder, Welcome Home Ministries (Read complete book review)

"Nearly every criminal justice expert acknowledges the disproportionate number of minorities that populate our nation's prisons and jails. This book doesn't merely lament that fact; it offers sound direction and presents biblically grounded ministry practices that can alter the future of those men and women caught in the web of incarceration. Written primarily to challenge African American churches to form healing communities of support for offenders and their families, it in fact sounds a call for all congregations who take seriously their mandate to "remember those in prison." Every pastor, along with anyone engaged in prison or jail ministry, should carefully read and prayerfully consider the principles presented in this book." —W. Thomas Beckner, PhD, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Department of Criminal Justice, Psychology and Social Science, Trine University

"Ministry With Prisoners & Families: The Way Forward is timely, and an important contribution to the body of work being developed in direct response to the impact of the criminal justice system within the African-American community. This book presents the seeds for revival within the church, stating the need, calling on the forces, equipping the Saints, and the vision for renewing and reinventing our communities from the inside out. For all those who claim the name Christian, and especially the African-American Church, this book is a must read. The hour is late, and those currently and recently incarcerated are waiting." —Christian Association for Prison Aftercare

"An excellent resource of Afro-American pastors." —Bishop John F. White, Ecumenical & Urban Affairs Officer, African Methodist Episcopal Church

"Its refreshing approach stands out in a sea of analysis that can often be enlightening but yet ineffectual. This is a highly recommended book for those who know the injustices at work in the prison system well enough to need no more convincing, and rather would seek to focus on what can be done now, a sense of urgency we could all use." —Jason Wyman, as reviewed for Fellowship, Spring 2011

"Through a collection of reflections by authors who base their writings on actual ministry experience and expertise, the editors offer a well-balanced and challenging look at models for ministering among those directly impacted by a broken criminal justice system." —Bill Mefford, Director, Civil and Human Rights, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church

"Ministry with Prisoners & Families raises the bar in terms of our collective understanding of society's most vulnerable stakeholders. It is an important book for those who take such service seriously."—Samuel K. Atchinson for PRISM Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2011

"This book, despite its 'heavy' topic, is encouraging and refreshing.  It addresses the reality of a horrific situation with truth, honesty and hope.   I would consider it a must-read for anyone with a heart and burden for the imprisoned (and I would guess that should be all of us).  Maybe it should be a must-read for all of God’s people as a reminder of who we are called to be – a healing community in the midst of the brokenness around us. It will undoubtedly be a source of direction and guidance in the years to come as churches step up to the plate!" —Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin for Englewood Review of Books, Volume 4, #16.5

"A well-documented introduction to the call for, and dimensions of, substantive prison ministry." —Congregational Resource Guide, December 2011

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