Bridgecare Ministry to Ex-Prisoners
For many, this journey of transformation begins inside Canadian prisons and jails. However, as prisoners are released back into the community, the journey continues, and in many cases gets harder. The need for stable Christ-centered community in their lives is essential in ensuring their success moving forward. To that end, PFC has been diligently growing its network of local church partners in Canada, and now has just over 500 partners from coast to coast.
As of March 2020, PFC has decisively pivoted to put a major emphasis on BridgeCare which is PFC’s response to those leaving the criminal justice system and transitioning back to the community. Bridgecare is an essential interim before former prisoners are connected directly into a church community. Current times have forced this necessity, but historically we have also seen this as a necessity to longer-term discipleship. Going forward, PFC will continue this effort.
As part of this emphasis, PFC is pleased to have established a new partnership with New Life Prison Ministries (NLPM), an organization that provides Bible study correspondence courses to prisoners in every province in Canada, and also has had an active Aftercare program in Ontario. On March 25, 2020, PFC assumed the responsibility of a toll-free number that is available to prisoners who are looking for aftercare support upon their release in Ontario. This number is now being answered by PFC staff, who are assessing the needs of prisoners and ex-prisoners and providing resources and connections to our local church and community partners. We are working diligently with the goal of expanding access to this toll-free number to prisoners in institutions right across the country and increasing the scope of our Bridgecare work through our local church partners.
Historically, PFC has also run a Pen Pal program, matching prisoners with trained PFC volunteers who provide spiritual friendship through written correspondence. Moving forward, for those who are interested in becoming a Pen Pal, PFC will be encouraging them to apply to become an instructor with NLPM and bring encouragement to prisoners in this way.
This collaborative approach between PFC and NLPM will be mutually beneficial and will allow both organizations to focus more effectively on their respective missions in serving those connected to the criminal justice system.