Prison Week's 2009 theme announced: Hold fast to hope
Aug 31, 2009
Prisoners' Week began in England and Wales in 1975. The Prisoners’ Week Committee, consisting of Prison Chaplains and other Christians involved in work with prisoners and their families, was formed to encourage prayer within churches and the wider Christian community for he needs of prisoners. This they did by producing each year a prayer and information leaflet for use on the third Sunday in November, designated Prisoners’ Sunday, with the week observed until the following Saturday. It had its beginnings as a Roman Catholic initiative by Bishop Victor Guazzelli, but quickly gained ecumenical support and became an ecumenical observance, receiving the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster and the Moderator of the Free Churches Group.
In 1995, seeking to focus attention not only on the needs of prisoners but on all those involved the field of prison care -- prisoners' families, victims of crime, prison staff and many volunteers -- the week became known as Prisons Week, and the committee known as the Prisons Week Committee.
The primary aim of the committee remains unchanged, that is to pray for and raise awareness of the needs of prisoners and their families, victims of crime, prisons staff and all those who care. This is reflected in the Prisons Week Prayer:
Lord, you offer freedom to all people.
We pray for those in prison.
Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.
Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends,
Prison staff and all who care.
Heal those who have been wounded by the activities
of others, especially the victims of crime.
Help us to forgive one another.
To act justly,
love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in His strength
and in His Spirit, now and every day. Amen.
Today the committee consists of representatives of Christian denominations and Christian organisations supporting prisons ministry.