The Rev. Donald Schaible
St. Anne’s, Trexlertown
After spending more than 25 years in teaching and parish ministry, I had the opportunity to participate in prison ministry. Like many of the pastoral situations I have found myself in, it was not my first choice. However, after all of this time, I have learned that God puts us in places that we need to be.
Many of the preconceived notions that I had about prison were not correct. Granted, none of the inmates are there for j-walking, but they were not the type of people that I had assumed they would be. In the midst of seriously wrong life choices, actions, and consequences, the power of redemption is superabundant. That is not to say that all of the inmates turn to God or are necessarily going to pursue their faith as vigorously when they are released. It is not ours to judge (or pre-judge) that.
It was both very humbling and a great blessing to facilitate worship and the pursuit of faith for an inmate population. Many of the inmates that I worked with (of all faiths) had a hunger for knowledge of God, deep contrition, and strong desire to grow in their faith.
I can honestly say that I have never been treated with more respect by any group than I was by the inmates – to a person, regardless of whether they professed a faith or not.
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