Jigsaw Puzzle

Jun 05, 2016

By Mary Mortenson, Director Prison Congregations of America


Now that we’ve been engaged in this blog exercise for a few months, I would like to thank Julie Thomas, our Administrative Assistant, and Eric Sponheim, our Social MediaConsultant, for faithfully finding (and nudging) authors and for posting the blog entries each week.

I have been touched by the variety of the writings. We have heard voices of prison pastors, people directly affected by incarceration, people associated with PCA, and others who simply have a passion for prison ministry. The backgrounds and expressions of the writers are varied, yet their shared passion for the value of all God’s children seems to be the common denominator.

This reminds me of the PCA family. No two of the 29 worshipping communities are exactly the same, even if they exist side by side in the same facility. The teachings and approaches to worship and Bible study vary according to the practices of the sponsoring denominations.

If you review the list of our congregations (http://prisoncongregations.org/pca-family/congregation- info/), you’ll see that the denominations that sponsor these prison congregations represent the spectrum from conservative to liberal in doctrine, yet they all stand should to shoulder with other ministries in their prisons and with one another. This willingness on their part to be respectful, if not totally agreeing, partners in ministry is made the more powerful by the fact that the members of their prison congregations are a delightful mix of every type of spiritual background.

It is this ability of these prison congregations to work respectfully with one another that I think is one of the big reasons that this model of ministry is changing the face of the universal church. When we can say, “God loves you, and so do I, even if I don’t agree with you,” I think there is hope.

Soon you will be able to make comments on our blog page. We invite your feedback, but we expect that you will follow the example of our many prison congregations by being respectful and loving in your feedback. When we work with one another from a position of love and respect, grounded in all being loved by the God who created us all, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle: all the pieces look different, seemingly only able to exist on their own, but with a little maneuvering and by looking at things from a different perspective, the pieces start to fit and the picture emerges.

The resulting picture is much more powerful and beautiful than any single piece of the puzzle. I think that’s what the church is called to be and I count myself blessed that I am daily surrounded by witnesses to this truth.

Category: mission

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