A note from Rabbi Michael Lerner
It's a mitzvah we are all asked to do – visit those in prison.
PVS (Prisoner Visitation Services) has been at work, sending visitors to prisons since 1968.
[Note: The United Church of Christ is one of the Sponsoring Bodies of PVS]
I was imprisoned in 1970 as one of the "Seattle Seven" for organizing
against the Vietnam War. During my time in prison, I was scared,
lonely and cut off from all sources of support.
to the deep suffering of others throughout my life has helped to ground
my in the belief that love and caring is the bottom line that will
counteract the hatred and alienation that is so prevalent, and that many
small acts of sharing are needed to turn this world into the place it
is meant to be.
Many federal prisoners live thousands of miles
from their families, forgotten by the world, aching for a little bit of
non-judgmental attention. PVS sends volunteer visitors to Federal and
Military prisons throughout the US. Every month, 300 visitors travel
many miles at their own expense to bring some light into a desolate
place. Many of these are men and women who have been visiting ten years
or longer, and have created their own support groups for newer
visitors. They don't lay religious trips on prisoners, but come only to
listen and lend emotional support.
PVS has been commended for
its work by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is the only organization
authorized to visit all federal and military prisons. PVS visitors are
often the only face to face connection prisoners have with the outside
world. They help prisoners maintain a sense of self-esteem and
encourage their efforts at self-growth so they can be reintegrated into
PVS trains volunteers at workshops across the
country. With new prisons continually being built, the need for
visitors keeps growing.
PVS Visitors help restore life. I remember the words, "He who saves one life, it is as if he has saved the world entire." Follow this link for more information on becoming a visitor of PVS or contact Executive for UCC Volunteer Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-736-3214/216-736-3216.
Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.