NEWPORT PAGNELL COMMITS TO WELCOMING EX-OFFENDERS

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THE two churches of the Parish of Newport Pagnell will be among the first to put into practice The Welcome Directory’s new training and resource packs for 2018, launched last month. 

The Welcome Directory has a simple yet powerful vision: to help faith communities become places where people who leave prison find acceptance. A place to belong that not only nurtures faith but also offers appropriate practical support.

The need for such a directory is sadly a reality as often the church welcome can be very limited for prisoners.  Many of them undergo real life-changing spiritual experiences whilst inside, and, on release, their home church can be less than encouraging once the congregation learn of their criminal past.

The Rector of Newport Pagnell, the Revd Nick Evans, said “As in Matthew 25:36 we are encouraged to visit those in prison, so should our Christian outreach extend further to ensure our churches are places of welcome, hope and love for ex-offenders re-joining our communities after serving their sentences.”
The Welcome Directory’s vision resonates strongly with the Oxford Diocese’s call to be Christ-like; Compassionate, Courageous and Contemplative, and the PCC of St. Peter & St Paul and St Luke’s has responded with strong support to back this initiative to welcome and support ex-offenders. Several members will be taking part in training led by Revd Alan Hodgetts, Chaplain of HMP Woodhill as well as attending parish-led sessions using the new material provided by the Welcome Directory.