Passionate Ministries

December 8th, 2011 by admin

The following is from a volunteer at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women shared with the congregation during our Prison Ministry Social Justice service in late October.

How do you live to be 100 years old? Dr. Phil had a one-word answer in the discussion that followed, “Passion.” Work with the incarcerated can quickly become a passion.

My passions involve challenges. I had known nothing of prison work. Even when my daughter went into prison work, I went, “What? What is all this!”

The challenge of it motivates me to prayer, serious prayer. It has lead me to use many of the ideas I find in the worship here, to use them in the Sunday night prison worship service, ideas from the morning worship bulletin as well as ideas from the sermons. It leads me to a closer fellowship with other Sojourners, even sojourners with a small “s.”

I prayed to broaden and deepen my scope of preparation for my prison work, prepare in every way possible. I pray on the way to the prison. When I arrive, pray some more to know what part of the preparation to employ, and even to give up all the preparation for the needs of the moment.

The passion also involves rewards. The rewards are many as one gets glimpses of God’s work in the lives of others and as one finds a challenge of spiritual growth in one’s own life.

I live with the challenge from an incarcerated woman whom I visited in the infirmary just after she had come back from the hospital having had major surgery. The doctors had ordered her to walk the hall twice daily. The officer on duty was required to permit her out of her cell for this purpose each day. Day after day the officer for the infirmary refused to allow her to follow those doctor’s orders. It could have eased her recovery. Day after day she sat in her cell and prayed about her predicament.

Then she remembered that she had been in the military herself. Through prayer she took a new attitude toward that unreasonable and unfair officer. She concluded, “I could have been that officer!” She gave me a fresh understanding for, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I thoroughly appreciate being here among all the lay ministers. You have so many ministries, so many passions here. This church embodies and emboldens passionate ministries. Thank you for your passionate ministries.

Sarah Litchfield