For several years, the United Methodist Women group at Asbury UMC in Shelby County has spent many hours making homemade cookies, place mats, posters and cards for Kairos weekends at St. Clair Correctional Facility near Springville. The Kairos prison ministry, a three-day weekend which takes teams into prison to minister to inmates, addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, children, and their families and also those who work in the prison environment.
The Greek word kairos means "God's Special Time," and the purpose of the Kairos weekend is to bring spiritual renewal to inmates. It is an Emmaus-type experience that brings the love of God and the light of Christ into prisons. The essence of Kairos ministry is love. Not just any love, but the love of Christ, delivered wave by wave by the Body of Christ.
Although most of us cannot go into the prisons as ministers, there are several important ways that Asbury UMC members have helped share the light of Christ into the darkest corners of a prison unit.
Homemade cookies, placemats, posters, cards and prayer are tangible expressions of Christian love to a group of people who seldom encounter concern or love in the course of their daily lives. These acts of mercy and love represent the never-ending love of God to all who will receive it.
Rev. Greg Foust is Minister of Discipleship at Asbury United Methodist Church in the Birmingham area.