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The 2013 Correctional Ministries Summit will be held at Wheaton College from May 30th to June 1st. This is a wonderful opportunity for those of us interested in working with gang members and other incarcerated youths to come together in search of more effective means of helping these youths. The Summit will help the participants in:

  • Developing professionally through informative workshops
  • Learning best practices from dynamic leaders in correctional ministry
  • Building relationships with others who share your ministry passion
  • Speaking meaningfully to the issues of mass incarceration

When: May 30 – June 1, 2013
(Thursday evening – Saturday lunch)
Where: Wheaton College, IL

For additional information please go to the website:

http://www.cmcainternational.org/

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A Willow Creek Jail and Prison Ministry:

                                     Hebrews 13:3

“Don’t forget about those in prison. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those being mistreated, as though you feel their pain in your own bodies.”

http://prisonandjailministryconnection.blogspot.com/.v

OK, this is how I want you to think about responding to this post. Think about the world and all the goals you’ve set for yourself. What do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish). Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing in five years?  Write it down. Do you think that the goals, hopes, and/or dreams you’ve just jotted down are possible?  Want to have a car, home, job, wife, or kids? Do you want to have a chance to get a better education or do some travelling? Want to help some other people who are down and out too?  Well, let me tell you this, God puts those dreams in your head, and if God puts those dreams there, it’s because he wants to fulfil those dreams. Not only that, he is able to fulfill them, and much more. If you are a Christian, you worship a God is bigger than anything you can imagine. He is the God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20). OK, here’s the kicker. Remember all those goals and dreams you just jotted down? Well God wants to do a lot more than you thought about just then.

A few years ago, I met Anthony.  He was a Spanish Lord from Humboldt Park that I had written to while he was incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center.  Those letters led to us getting together to talk after his release. When we first met, Anthony was sleeping on a backroom floor in another Gs apartment. He didn’t have a whole lot to look forward to at that moment in time.  I remember in one of our first talks, I asked him about what he wanted out of  life. He mentioned that he’d like to have an apartment of his own some day, maybe get his driver’s licence and eventually buy a car. That way, he could drive around the hood and help people he saw in need of help. Well, that was a nice vision, but way too small. Anthony eventually committed his life to Jesus and good things began to happen. Anthony now has an apartment he shares with Amanda and his son Vincent. A second child, a little girl, is on the way! Anthony works 50-60 hours a week and not only has a car, but also has use of a company car. He certainly helps old friends from the hood, but has also traveled to Turkey and Nicaragua. In Turkey he helped on an archaeological excavation and in Nicaragua he worked with the poor and destitute.  God has given Anthony way more than he imagined just two years ago as we sat and talked. On top of that, he’s only 22, so can you imagine what God has in store for him the next 60 years of his life? Way more than he or I can begin to image right now. That prospect is very exciting.

Now translate Anthony’s experience into your life. Go ahead, think about it. God wants to do the same thing for you that he did for Anthony. If you think about the dreams you wrote down and think about how God has expanded Anthony’s vision, you might be able to get an idea of what God will do in YOUR life. The message I want to leave you with here is to think big and never underestimate what God can do in your life. He is the creator of the universe and in control of all things. His ability to do more than you can think or imagine is beyond doubt and displayed in the lives of believers all over the world! So sit down, write down, kneel down, and look up. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God just waiting to expand your horizons and do more in your life than you can ever imagine. Are you game?

Arloa Sutter is the Founder and Executive Director of Breakthrough Urban Ministries. Breakthrough restores broken networks by providing neighborhood-based holistic services to individuals and families in Chicago’s East Garfield Park community. For more information on Arloa Sutter and Breakthrough Urban Ministries please go to:

http://www.breakthrough.org/

and

http://arloasutter.com/

Breaking Ground is a faith community characterized by grace and truth that seeks and develops those who desire to become instruments of lasting change in their community.

Vision
Breaking Ground is a mission-driven not for profit organization building strong inner city communities through self-sustaining entrepreneurial programs and services.  We are a comprehensive community development corporation focused on transforming low income individuals and their communities by offering integrated real estate development, homeownership assistance, job training, and direct employment, along with client-centered services.

Find information about this transformative ministry at:

www.breakingground.net

A story about getting a second chance in the Chicago area. We believe in fresh coffee and fresh starts. We roast our Specialty Grade coffee fresh daily in small batches so you can enjoy the natural flavor and aroma of each bean. And we help ex-offenders get a fresh start by providing gainful employment, job training and a nurturing community of acceptance. Passion + purpose. It’s a beautiful thing.

See their website at:

http://www.ihaveabean.com/

See the Tribune story at:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-second-chance-coffee-w-zone-oct14,0,6010009.story

A list of Illinois resources from the Billy Graham Center for incarcerated and recently released individuals trying to straighten out their lives. Find more at:

http://www.bgcprisonministries.com/index.php?id=108&state=IL

Here is a list of resources for men and women who are in jail, facing release, trying to find a job, and/or looking for vocational training.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Billy Graham Center Institute for Prison Ministries: http://www.bgcprisonministries.com

Jewish Vocational Serviceshttp://www.jvschicago.org/ 

Prison Fellowship: http://prisonfellowship.org/pf_resources

Wayside Cross Ministries (transitional housing): http://www.waysidecross.org

Administer Justice (legal,tax, and reconciliation services): http://www.administerjustice.org/

Adonai House (housing): timlindquistwwjd@yahoo.com or phone 630.479.1612

Safer Foundation (employment): http://www.saferfoundation.org

Crossfire is in the process of beginning some Gangs Anonymous groups. if you’re trrying to deal with gang-related issues and could use some help in sorting through things, Gangs Anonymous may be able to help. The actual places that we will meet is dependent on the numbers of guys wanting to attend in various neighborhoods and the presence of someone to lead the groups. Groups will be available for men or women. If you are interested in being part of Gangs Anonymous in either of those capacities, please let us know by calling me at 773.294.8849 or e-mailing me at:

 rlg2@uchicago.edu

More than 1.7 million children across the USA have a parent in U.S. prisons, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The number of children with a father in prison grew by 77% from 1991 through mid-2007. And those children are two to three more times likely to wind up behind bars themselves, says Christopher Wildeman, a University of Michigan sociologist who has studied the effects of imprisoned parents.

To try to snap that trend, Angola and other prisons across the country sponsor two programs aimed at reconnecting prison dads with their children: Returning Hearts, a day-long carnival-like celebration where inmates spend eight hours with their kids, and Malachi Dads, a year-long training session that uses Bible passages to help improve inmates’ parenting skills. To find out more, see the links below:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-06-17-prison-dads_N.htm?csp=34news

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2008/summer/12.13.html

http://www.pfi.org/cot/prison/offender/spiritual-care/lifeline-malachi-dads-awana-usa/?searchterm=None

http://awanalifeline.org/

So Life Sucks…

I was talking to G the other day and his commentary on life was simply, “Life sucks”. I asked him what he was doing about it and he said he was waiting for Obama to keep his word and bring about change. Listen brothers, if there’s going to be change, if your circumstances are going to take a turn for the better, there’s only one person that can make that happen, YOU! You’d better not wait for Obama to change things; better not wait for your alderman to change things; better not even wait for your pastor to change things; because any change that’s going to take place around you has to start with you. So if you want to start, what do you do? Listen to this song be Toby Mac:

City on our Knees http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNA8sAxQ4pk&feature=related

Mission Statement:

Barrio Bonito has a mission to inspire economic growth, celebrate the strengths of inner-city communities, and empower urban youth to lead positive change amongst their peers. Barrio Bonito is dedicated to creating innovative employment opportunities for urban youth, by showcasing their artistic talents, encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit, providing interpersonal and career development education, and through strategic partnerships, offering them job placement services.

Objective:

Our primary objective is creating sustainable employment opportunities that increase the self-sufficiency of our participants and decrease the crime and violence associated with unemployment.

Goals:

 Barrio Bonito is a passion driven organization founded on a comprehensive model for Arts, Community, Entrepreneurship and Hope, constructed to pioneer innovation in Social Enterprise.

While pursing our mission and employment objective, Barrio Bonito seeks to achieve the following:

  • To stimulate economic development in under-served communities by creating innovative job opportunities for urban youth, a demographic afflicted by our nations highest unemployment rates.
  • To foster personal growth amongst our youth participants by encouraging conviction in their self identity and by providing opportunities to develop interpersonal skills.
  • To lower Entrepreneurial barriers to Chicago’s urban youth by providing start-up business education and legal counsel.
  • To initiate a trend of young people leading change in their communities.
  • To reduce gun, gang and related violence by empowering youth to commit to their passions and encouraging them to take ownership over the positive effects of urban culture (style/fashion, entrepreneurship, entertainment, art, athletics, faith).

 

Find out more at: http://barriobonito.org/

A very interesting Christian “12 Step” form of recovery program that has applications for recovering gang members. CR has developed 8 principles that are based on the Beatitudes. They are as follows:

CELEBRATE RECOVERY’S EIGHT RECOVERY PRINCIPLES
The Road to Recovery
Based on the Beatitudes

Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step 1)

“Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.”

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2

“Happy are those how mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3)

“Happy are the meek.”

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps  4 and 5)

“Happy are the pure in heart.”

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”

Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9)

“Happy are the merciful.”  

“Happy are the peacemakers”

Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)

Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”

Find the larger website at:

http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

The Open Table provides an interesting model for helping to restore individuals and communities and could have specific applications for turning around the lives of gang members in those communities. Find their site at:

http://theopentable.org/

Advice for job-seekers from Gangstyle:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/how-to-find-a-job.php