Each year ‘Prisons Week’ invites the Christian community, through individuals and churches, to remember and pray for prisoners and for the needs of all those affected by prisons. Appropriately the day (October 12th) when we remember Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), the great prison reformer, falls in Prisons Week.
To stimulate thought and prayer on prisons we reproduce words from Quaker Faith & Practice (The book of Christian Discipline of the Society of Friends in Britain)
From a memoir of Elizabeth Fry, by her two daughters:
She encountered in the prisons every grade and variety of crime: the woman bold and daring and reckless, revelling in her iniquity and hardened in vice…the thoughtless culprit, not lost to good and holy feeling… and lastly the beginner, she who from deep poverty had been driven to theft or drawn by others into temptation. She marked all these and despaired of none…
From the writings of her friend Priscilla Buxton:
Elizabeth Fry always could see hope for everyone; she invariably found or made some point of light. The most abandoned must have felt she did not despair for them, either for this world or another; and this is what made her irresistible.
And Elizabeth Fry herself wrote:
Much depends on the spirit in which the visitor enters upon her work. It must be in the spirit, not of judgement but of mercy. She must not say in her heart I am more holy than thou, but must rather keep in perpetual remembrance that ‘all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.’
Like Elizabeth Fry do we look for the light in everyone?
Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Hebrews 13.3
Could you, or someone you know, be a Prison Visitor? For more information click here.