The PCA Model
The PCA model is built on the conviction that a partnership is formed between the inmate congregation and the church in the larger community. This model places responsibility, ownership, initiative, and trust in the members of the congregation to carry on ministry within the institution. In facilitates where it is allowed, there is an inmate council which makes decisions regarding programming. On the outside, an Associate Council handles fiduciary and personnel matters.
Each week, visitors from neighboring support congregations worship and fellowship with the inmate members, erasing barriers of prejudice and fear and building bridges of trust, acceptance, and affirmation.
The support congregations provide volunteers and on-going financial support for congregational expenses and are potential "resettlement" stations for inmate members when they are released and need a base of spiritual and emotional support.
The members of the support congregations who become involved in the prison congregation are rewarded with a unique and rich worship experience and get to see first hand why Jesus commanded his followers to "remember those who are in prison."
All of this is done within the rules and parameters set by the prison. Implicit for the model to work is an atmosphere of trust and respect among the prison administrators and the pastor and visitors. A PCA congregation is meant as an addition to, rather than a substitution for other programming in the prison.
To hear Mary Mortenson, Director of PCA, explain the model: