Wednesday 20 February 2019

Prison Ministry

A few months ago, Roger received what seemed like a most unlikely email.  A prisoner contacted him (via his chaplain) from a reasonably local prison to say that he had got hold of Worship Works, loved it, and was wondering if we had any more similar resources we could send him.  As the email conversation progressed, it turned into an invitation for Roger to travel to the prison to lead a Worship Works afternoon with the choir and other worshipping prisoners.

So on Thursday last week Roger, Helen and Brian travelled to the prison to meet the chaplains and prisoners and to lead an afternoon of worship teaching.  Of all Roger's works, Worship Works is probably the thing we least expected to lead in a prison, but it turned into a wonderful opportunity for some amazing ministry.

There were about 30 men there in a very well-equipped chapel, and most of them formed part of the choir that had used Roger's song 'Celebrate' at Christmas.  They were amazingly welcoming, enthusiastic and worshipful, as well as terrific singers.  Amongst them was an excellent trumpet player and a brilliant organist!

Roger began by speaking about the 'Worship Seeker' - it was so incredibly poignant to share about God's search for relationship with us and his arms that are open wide, no matter what we have done.  We sang Matt Redman's 'When I stand before your throne' and the words were so right for the occasion: 'I will see you as you are, love you with unsinning heart, and see how much you paid to bring me home... No more fears, no more shame, no more sin and sorrow ever known again...'

After a little break we took the opportunity to be more creative, and the men enthusiastically gave it a go, improvising along to various chord sequences and worship songs.  Helen was also privileged to sing 'Precious and Honoured' and 'Child, you are more precious than silver' over the men.  They were so, so receptive and we hope and pray that many of them know and understand God's look of love over them, since when they are released they will struggle to find a loving welcome in the world outside.

At the end of the afternoon the men sang 'Celebrate' - with Roger on keyboard (he'd never really played it before!) and Helen on guitar, as well as some trumpet and organ in the background.  Please pray for the men as they look to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ and for the chaplains who guide and help them.

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