On Monday October 11th 2016, Sixty-One, with the help of the prisons Coordinating Chaplain Muhammed Foulds, took 10 church leaders around HMP Bristol as part of its ongoing work to help offenders live lives free from crime.
They timed this to coincide with Prisons Week.
We organised the visit because we wanted to help churches to have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working with prisoners. The churches have something that prisoners, and particularly ex-prisoners, desperately need. A healthy community.
Chris Priddy, the Head of Parish and External Relations at the Diocese was one of those who attended the tour. Visiting HMP Bristol with Sixty-One and the prison chaplaincy was a humbling, informative and enlightening experience. It was a privilege to see the inside of an institution that so often goes forgotten about and hidden from sight. The prison clearly faces enormous challenges but I was hugely impressed by the commitment and work of Sixty-One and the chaplaincy team. Their desire to see prisoners supported, mentored and cared for whilst inside the prison and upon their release was clearly evident for all of us to see.
There are as many as 400 church communities in the greater Bristol area, if just 10% of these meaningfully engaged with ex-prisoners, we would have 40 supportive communities that could help ex-prisoners lead constructive and healthy lives.
Thats what Sixty-One is all about, enabling, training and supporting the church to be able to do this work, which in the current financial climate is more important than ever. If you would like to explore getting involved with Sixty-One please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 9685 676
Sixty-One runs the MentorMe mentoring project, the prison Christmas gift project, the creation of specialist ex-prisoner church Hubs, an in-prison mens course and coordinates the Sixty-One partnership of charities and churches.
Mentoring Training Opportunity with MentorMe
Our final mentoring training course for 2016 is coming up soon. This is an opportunity for members of the Christian community in Bristol to put their faith to work by training to become mentors to men and women leaving prison and resettling in Bristol.
The training allows participants to think about change, how it affects us all, how we deal with it and what would make a difference. It gives an insight into the issues faced by those leaving prison and equips those who wish to become mentors with the tools for listening, setting boundaries and building healthy relationships.