Next week it is Prisons Week across the country. Andy Kerr, the prison chaplain at HMP Ford & Lewes has written this ‘Diary of a Prison Chaplain’ to raise awareness and encourage us to prayer for the prisoners and prison workers.
Name: Andy Kerr – Member ACC
Location: HMP Ford / HMP Lewes
Monday – Hand an Arabic Bible to an offender who bursts into tears, immediately clutching it to his chest and thanks me profusely. I reflect and ponder when was the last time that I cried over the Bible.
Tuesday – Spent time with someone on remand for rape. He can’t forgive himself. He wants everyone and everything to leave him alone because he deserves to die. I tell him Christ did the dying to heal him for the living.
Wednesday – I stand outside a cell in Segregation where a guy is on dirty protest having covered himself and his cell in excrement. I pray silently for God to intervene, as all the guy is doing is telling everyone where to go.
Thursday – I see 15 new inmates for an induction, individually. One is too scared to come out of his cell, it’s his first time in prison and he’s just been sentenced to 10 years. Another spends his first night ever away from his children. Some are regular faces and know the routine. Two refuse to speak. One has serious mental health difficulties.
Friday – Team meeting with the multi-faith chaplaincy team. We exist to care for the spiritual and pastoral needs of those of faith and of no faith in the prison establishment, including staff.
Saturday – I tell a guy that his mother has died. He storms out yelling and kicking in every direction. The officer calms him down. He was due for release next week. He realises he’ll never see her alive again. I ask whether he would like me to pray with him.
Sunday – 60 attend Chapel this morning for Remembrance service. I speak on selflessness and Christ who laid down his human rights for us. We can have 10% of the prison in Chapel at Lewes on a Sunday, and about 20+ people at Ford.
Please pray for the 520 guys 2 miles up the road who live in temporary accommodation, and also those in Lewes prison. And pray for all those who work within the prison establishments. It’s such a privilege to walk with the outcast.