Prison ministry cares for “invisible children”

This summer, Episcopalians in at least 20 dioceses are reaching out to them — children under under the radar of government aid — by sending them to summer camp for a week of learning and fun.

The president says there are 1.5 million of them, the smallest victims of crime. The Bureau of Justice statistics say they have a 70 percent chance of going to prison just like their parents. “If we can give them a week of unconditional love, there is hope,” says the now-retired director of prison ministry for the national church, the Rev. Jackie Means. These children bring to camp “anger, fear, insecurity, suspicion and shame” said Means. “They need to know that Jesus loves them as they are. They need a safe place to deal with the hard stuff and to be shown respect.”

Sponsoring dioceses in 2007 include: Rio Grande, Oklahoma, Northern Michigan, Mississippi, Texas, West Texas, Nevada, East Carolina, Montana, Maryland, Florida, Southwest Florida, Arkansas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Easton, Md., Connecticut, Northern Indiana, Alaska and Louisiana.

Val Hymes of the Diocese of Maryland has the story.

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