Click on the images to see the full size photo from recent weekends
(L-R Kinross, Chippewa and Straits)
Keryx Prison Ministry
Statement of Faith
1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God.
2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His
miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily
resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in
power and glory.
4. We believe in the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
5. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Chippewa Area Keryx is one of five local councils affiliated with the Keryx Michigan Prison Ministry, a 501(c)3 organization.
Palanca for the weekends should be sent to: Chippewa Area Keryx, P.O. Box 404, Conway, MI 49722. Email palanca can be sent to email@example.com. Color graphics are welcome.
This page was last updated: January 15, 2014
What are the requirements for becoming a volunteer?
There are two sets of requirements - MDOC requirements and Keryx requirements. The MDOC requires volunteers to be at least 18 years old and to have passed a LEIN clearance check. The MDOC Volunteer Application also states that if approved, the volunteer will comply with all MDOC policies and guidelines. Keryx requires its volunteers to have completed a three-day "Cursillo-style" weekend of their own. We also require volunteers to abide by issues such as homosexulaity, christian character and spritual gifts By serving as a Keryx volunteer, you are stating that you will comply with these issues.
Who do I contact with questions?
For general questions about the ministry, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about getting on a volunteer list for an Ultreya, Serenade or Closing, or to see if your name is on the list, contact our Community Coordinator at email@example.com
What kind of agape is allowed?
MDOC guidelines state that paper products are all that is allowed. Agape can be signed by the person or group producing it, but there will be no address or phone number on the agape. Lamination is allowed, but no material other than paper is allowed inside the laminate. Glue, crushed flowers, etc. are not allowed inside the laminate. Polaroid photographs are not permitted. No personal messages to an individual inmate are permitted.
Why are you always asking for cookies?
As a token of our appreciation to the MDOC and its staff for allowing us inside the prison to do a weekend, we deliver cookies to all five institutions in the Kinchloe area each during a weekend. The cookies do not enter the institution proper - they are only for the officers and staff. It takes approximately 200-250 dozen cookies to supply the facilities during the course of each weekend. Only home-baked cookies are requested, and cookies should be labeled so the distribution can be planned. Pick up points for the cookies can be arranged by writing us.
Isn't it dangerous going inside the prison -especially for women entering a men's prison?
There is always an element of risk for anyone entering a prison, be they male or female, staff, visitor or volunteer. But the risk is minimal. The prisons are very careful in making the facilities where volunteer activities occur a safe and secure environment. Volunteers are not allowed to stray from the group and go alone with an inmate at any time. Females are always accompanied by male volunteers. There is no guarantee of absolute safety, though, just as there is no guarantee in our own hometowns and neighborhoods. We trust that the Lord will watch over us while we are inside.
How do you deal with the crimes these men have committed?
We don't. Our policy is that we do not ask the inmates what crimes they have committed. We are not there to deal with their crime - we are there to deal with their relationship with Almighty God, and the separation that we all have from Him due to our sin, and the reconciliation that needs to occur that can only be made possible through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are also not there to intervene on behalf of an inmate with the legal system or the parole board. Our role is attending to an inmate's spiritual needs.
Is there a lot of "jailhouse religion"?
Not a lot, but it is a real thing. But if we were to ask our own clergy, they would probably speak of the people on the outside who have a brief religious experience and then fall away. Our stance is that each man's spiritual relationship is truly only known to himself and God. If that relationship is not genuine on the inside, but appears so on the outside, then that person will have to deal with God. We are not there to judge the validity of each man's relationship with God. If an inmate is only professing Christianity in the hope that it will obtain favor with the parole board, he is only setting himself up for disappointment - both with the system, and from a spiritual sense.
How do you aid inmates who will be released from prison shortly?
The MDOC has specific polices on what can and cannot be done in aiding an inmate who will be released from prison, and Keryx has incorporated those into its own policy. The policy is stated here:
"It is Chippewa Area Keryx Board policy that we will not use volunteers who provide or assist inmates or parolees with arrangements for post-prison living or work settings. Volunteers are not permitted to give or receive gifts of money or property to or from an offender at the facility at which the services are being provided.
Volunteers are not permitted to visit, correspond with or accept telephone calls from offenders at the facility at which they provide volunteer services. Any information a volunteer needs to provide to, or receive from an offender as part of his/her volunteer services shall be processed through the volunteer program coordinator (the institution Chaplain)."
There is no denying the tremendous need for aftercare assistance in helping inmates make the transition back to life outside the prison. When we receive an inquiry from an inmate regarding this, we refer the inmate to the Chaplain or to his counselor, who are much more able to help the inmate than a volunteer could.
Can I write or call an inmate?
There is a two-part answer to that question. It depends upon whether or not the inmate resides in a facility where the volunteer actually serves. If the inmate is in a facility where the volunteer does not serve, then yes, the volunteer may write, call or visit the inmate. If the inmate resides in a facility where the volunteer serves, then the volunteer may not write, call or visit (as a "visit" is defined by the MDOC). "Serving" as a volunteer goes farther than having an MDOC volunteer ID card. Once a person is LEIN cleared and enters a facility for any volunteer activity, then he or she is considered a "volunteer" at that facility.