One Parish One Prisoner (OPOP) Update & Fundraiser
Chrystina, our friend in prison, is so grateful to the Bethany community for caring about her, supporting her, and for walking alongside her toward healing and freedom. Her release date is in August. Chrystina has expressed some fear and anxiety about all she needs to take care of once released. This is quite understandable. Newly released prisoners have so many barriers to overcome before life beyond prison can take a more normal form. Examples of are: Finding housing, finding work, money for rent, court fees, Driver’s license, food, clothing, and transportation to name a few.
We, the OPOP team, are now asking you, the Bethany community, to help remove some “barriers” by participating in our upcoming fundraiser for Chrystina. Due to Covid we are keeping it simple. You will soon see a “fence” display in the fellowship hall. On the fence there will be “keys to freedom “ cards with items that you can chose to support financially. Just pick a card that speaks to you from the fence. All donations will go through Bethany and are tax deductible. The OPOP team will disperse the funds by directly paying for rent, ID card, court fees, etc.
It’s been such a pleasure to get to know Chrystina a bit and support her through this transition. It’s hard not to contemplate on what it means to be free. To be able to just go for a walk, talk with family, share a meal with friends, and have financial independence. So precious. And at the same time, do I feel truly free? I do in part, but I must admit that true inner freedom (and peace) often eludes me. In John 8:31 Jesus says “If you hold on to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. I think freedom is the result of knowing the truth we get a glimpse of when following Jesus’ teachings. There is freedom in knowing that Christ loves us all equally.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. Galatians 6:2
Thanks for reading,
Helene Mansfield (part of the OPOP ministry team at Bethany)