Radically Welcoming Congregations work with formerly incarcerated citizens reentering society.
We are working with Illinois Unitarian Universalist congregations to become Radically Welcoming Congregations to formerly incarcerated people, by providing training and support for their efforts to welcome people who have been involved in the worship services or covenant groups inside prison as they return to near-by neighborhoods. Each congregation will find its own best path in this work. Some of the actions that have begun, and which we will continue to use as starting points for congregations are:
Sermons and educational forums to motivate and prepare congregations for prison ministry, such as Prison/Industrial Complex 101, Anti-Racism, Cultural Competency, and Radical Hospitality.
Letter writing, e.g. through Black and Pink.
Advocating for policy change around solitary confinement, less use of incarceration, and job opportunities for people with records in coordination with other organizations such as UUANI.
Re-entry assistance (“Overground Railroad”) including referrals to local resources, computer and job search training, mentoring, providing space for support groups.
The first step is still to identify a liaison to the UU Prison Ministry, a church leader with an interest in this, and to recruit a small team to lead the effort. The next step is to start with an activity, share experiences within and between congregations, and move on to other actions. Contact Dale Griffin to begin.