There are myriad ways that churches and individual Christians can be involved in this restorative ministry. The following are just some of the ways you can be involved within the Central Texas Conference.
PEP (Prison Entrepreneurship Program) is a life-giving ministry that provides mentoring, education, case management and preparatory classes in business development for convicted felons currently serving sentences and committed to change. Volunteer opportunities include attending monthly support sessions, mentoring, serving as business plan advisors, partnering in re-entry, Bible Studies, and a variety of other ways that support transformation. Pat Gotcher, one of the coordinators of Arborlawn UMC’s partnership with PEP says, “The PEP Program is transforming lives, both those of the participants and of the volunteers. Showing up is critical to these men. Being there is redemptive for them and for the volunteers.” Many volunteers are former executives or business owners, but volunteers come from all walks of life. Kay Phillips, Arborlawn member and retired attorney says, “The men in the PEP units are changing their lives completely, finding new direction and creating a pathway to success when they are released. They are so grateful for our interest in them.”
PEP graduates have a 7% 3-year recidivism rate, compared to a national rate of 50%. 100% are employed within 90 days of release from prison, with a starting wage averaging over $11/hour.
The volunteers at Arborlawn UMC would love to share their experiences with you. You can make contact with them through Patrick Gotcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rev. Bayard Pratt (email@example.com).
PEP’s website is www.PEP.org.
Kairos of Texas is an arm of Kairos Prison Ministry International, Inc. – the parent organization of a body of ministries operating as chapters that are located in many states and countries addressing the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women and children, and to their families and to those who work in the prison environment. Kairos of Texas operates as a State Chapter and serves in prisons and jails through a contractual agreement with the Warden and Chaplain of each unit. At present, Kairos of Texas is in 40 units (prisons & jails) across Texas. Learn more about Kairos and Kairos of Texas at kairostexas.org.