Prison Ministry and the Labyrinth have a shared sacred meaning of the complex paths of returning to the community after a criminal offence.  It offers a healing journey from incarceration to community. With prayer and compassionate acts of kindness the burdens of the journey are eased.

Once a month at the Grand Valley Institution for Women our small group leads a celebration of Holy Eucharist that would be familiar to Anglicans, as it is simply adapted to our context.

We often sit in a round formation; sometimes participants need to be gently encouraged to sit in the circle rather than in a back row (not unlike how many in our parishes gravitate to the back pew!).

We sing a few hymns — accompanied by keyboard whenever possible. One or more readings are often offered to women in the congregation, and typically in place of a traditional sermon we have a time of lectio divina or group discussion arising from one or more of the readings. Each person who attends is given the opportunity to add names to the intercessions list for the prayers of the people.

In the prison setting sacramental wine is authorized for use in Catholic and Anglican services, though only a small amount, which is to be consumed by the presiding priest.

Sometimes it is clear that some who participate in our liturgies come from Anglican or Lutheran backgrounds, but oftentimes our gatherings are quite ecumenical, drawing people from Roman Catholic, Protestant, or evangelical/charismatic backgrounds.

Our interventions are in the context of Restorative Practices:

  • Worship and Eucharist celebrations in prison
  • Christian visits and accompaniment
  • Phone in-reach for prayer opportunities
  • Victim and offender support
  • Family support to children of incarcerated parents
  • Bible studies and clergy in-reach
  • Acts of restitution through community connections
  • Work release opportunities

How can I get involved?

If you feel the Holy Spirit moving, you can explore the many possible roles in being present to those in our communities who have been imprisoned for safety reasons.  First, pray for those already involved and those who are carrying the burden of consequences, and consider including them regularly in the Prayers of the People. Second, donations of items may be permitted (but limited, as items are very difficult to get into the prison). And third, consider relational opportunities with training and support. We can be messengers of mercy to the degree of our own capacities because this work is personal, as we have all been harmed or made mistakes ourselves.  Contact us and let’s have a conversation on how to get involved with the redemption work of our Lord.

Leadership Team:

Restorative Practice

Deacon Miles Schell-Rodnick
St. John’s Anglican Church, Cambridge (Preston)

In-Reach Coordinator

Deacon Cheryl Highmore
Trinity Anglican Church, Cambridge (Galt)

Spiritual Director

The Rev. Matthew Kieswetter
St. Andrews Memorial Anglican Church, Kitchener

St. Dismas pray with us,
God makes the sun rise and the rain fall upon both saint and sinner
accept us as instruments in your care to those who have experienced incarceration.

(With Reference to Matthew 5:45)