“But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison…drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.‘ Then he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'” (Acts 16:25-31)
When Sts. Paul and Silas were wrongly arrested, they saw no separation between themselves and those in prison. They prayed for them until the earth shook and their chains were loosed. And when the fearful guard was about to harm himself, St. Paul changed his life with these simple words: “We are all here.”
What if every Orthodox Christian in the United States followed the example of these two saints, praying for each of the 2 MILLION incarcerated men and women in this country and truly seeing them as our brothers and sisters in Christ? What if every Orthodox parish came together to serve those in the prisons of our own neighborhoods?
As the national prison ministry of the Orthodox Church in the United States, OCPM trains and inspires churches and communities —inside and outside of prison— to support the restoration of those affected by incarceration. We collaborate with churches and local service providers to support former prisoners, their families, and their communities.
OCPM is creating an array of ministry programs at different levels of engagement and commitment to make it possible for every Orthodox parish across the United States to start or further their own local prison ministry.