Prison Ministry

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.
 
Being exposed 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 society.
 
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 blaufusm@ucc.org or 216-736-3214/216-736-3216.

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3214
blaufusm@ucc.org