God Behind Bars
As you might know many churches are live streaming their services to different sites and beyond - see my blog about online church. There are many examples of this across the world.
As I was looking at these I came across a concept I hadn't seen before.
Due to the capability to stream online, some churches are streaming services into prisons and this also offers the possibility for family members of prisoners to watch the same service at the same time - to attend 'church' together.
This concept has been poioneered since 2009 by God Behind Bars. They have partnered with churches around the USA to help transform the lives of prison inmates and their families. Currently there are services in 23 correctional facilities in 9 states.
Here is a 2 minute 2014 report by local ABC news in Florida which gives more detail:
God Behind Bars partners with local churches and other faith based-organizations to live stream dynamic, high-quality worship experiences into prisons. Wardens at the facilities offering these services say most of the inmates attend each week and the very culture of these places is changing for the better.
They also offer a way for family members of prisoners to watch the same worship service at the same time—to attend church together.
Also included is a church-run addiction recovery programme and a re-entry process that helps prisoners return to society with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, helping inmates find jobs, housing, and education opportunities; reconnecting with family and friends; and developing a plan to move forward in healthy ways with the support of a faith community.
Volunteers from the local church meet them as they leave prison and stay connected in the weeks to come, helping with practical needs like housing, groceries, medical treatment, counselling, life skills training, and more.
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