Four Friends Speakers Bureau
"We, everyone, cannot grow spiritual, emotional and mentally alone. Everyone needs someone to walk with them. All of us have a need to belong. We [returning citizens] come to tell our story what it is like to walk out of prison and have friends like those who carried the paralytic to Jesus." -- James Clay, Restored Citizen and All In Community Leader
The Four Friends Speakers Bureau is an outreach ministry that supports formerly incarcerated individuals, also known as returning neighbors, bringing their stories of faith and transformation to others.
HOPE Letters is an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC)-approved faith-based reentry mentoring-by-correspondence program. HOPE Letters writers offer encouragement, guidance, and restorative relationships with men and women incarcerated in Ohio’s prisons. At the same time, HOPE Letter groups become welcoming communities for the men and women they are corresponding with upon their return to the community. Several HOPE Letter trainings are offered throughout the year to launch new HOPE Letter groups with ODRC institutions. A HOPE Letters Grant is available to UMC groups launching a new HOPE Letters group.
The AIC initiative offers a network of 72-Hour Churches that have the capacity to be “first responders” upon a person’s release. A 72-Hour Church meets crisis needs – such as housing, clothing, and meals – and provides referrals to long term support. The following churches provide assistance to people who are just released from prison.
For assistance with a reentry referral, contact Jami Nathan at jami.nathan.22 [at] gmail.com.
Healing Communities offer a congregational culture that mobilizes existing resources and relationships to be “Stations of Hope” for persons affected by the criminal justice system. Trained in the Healing Communities USA national framework, Healing Communities congregations are restorative justice focused to help the person who offended, the victim, and the community as a whole to find responsibility, forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation from the harm that has been done.
Good Samaritans are specially trained and equipped AIC lay ministers and Stephen Ministers who walk with crime victims, and often their families, in their healing journey. Currently, the AIC initiative works in partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Stephen Ministry Network to provide care receivers for individuals in the greater Cincinnati area.
For more information about starting a Good Samaritan initiative, contact Reba Collins at allincommunity [at] wocumc.org.