St Philip and St James’ Church in Up Hatherley has been working with local probation services to allow a group of people to help with the maintenance of the parish churchyard.
Fr Mark Catherall started the project in 2020, in cooperation with the Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire Probation Service. It is now in its third year and is much appreciated by all involved.
Fr Mark said, “The work carried out each week in the growing season assists me in the maintenance of the church curtilage for which I am very grateful, not only for the assistance but also the opportunity for mission.
“After all, the age range of most of the groups of mainly men are between 18 and 60, non-churchgoers and yet, due to situational ethics, they have been eager to ask varied questions concerning matters of faith, religion, the church and its practices. There have even been times when counselling and confession have been sought and given whilst weeding between Ashes plots.
“Our project was recently awarded, out of all the projects in the scheme, the gift of a bench made by local prisoners in celebration of King Charles III’s Coronation.”
A blessing ceremony was held to bless the bench, attended by the PCC, the Community Payback Manager, Stewart Wellman, the Project Supervisor, Paul Smyth and members of the scheme.
If you’d like to learn more about how your church could support people who have contact with the prisons and probation services, you might be interested in this event: https://gloucester.anglican.org/event/rebuilding-life-after-prison/
Send your stories to Kelly on ku.gr1701472789o.coi1701472789dsolg1701472789@newo1701472789k1701472789