Pathways: Where Mentoring is the Key
Pathways to Freedom is a prison ministry birthed out of one women’s’ experience in the provincial justice system in 2001. When the words prison ministry came from God to the founder Nancy Hynes in 2007 she rejected it but the word was confirmed and the ministry was founded in 2008. Nancy was mentored during and after her incarceration by a wonderful Christian woman. This became the basis for the ministry, from her experience she knew that matching Christians from the local church with inmates and ex-offenders could help them grow in the Lord and support them as they return to their local communities.
The ministry has grown and set a standard of excellence as volunteers serve for their Lord Jesus Christ. Miracles have happened continually, almost immediately the door opened at the provincial correctional centre. “As inmates came to Christ in chapel we were able to build relationships” says Hynes, “that lead to the opportunity to follow them as they moved through to Correctional Services Canada facilities in Springhill, NS and Westmorland in Dorchester, NB. The men want to change their lives, so many come to know Jesus but because of choice or circumstance they don’t know how to walk with God. God has blessed the work of our hands; in 2010 the application for Charitable Status with Revenue Canada was approved in record time.”
In 2012 a ministry rebranding launched the phrase “Will YOU Help Set Men and Women Free?”. Support from a local radio station garnered the first mentor who was outside the group of people who became the first board of directors. He has now mentored two men long- term in two institutions and also supports the ministry by serving on the board of directors. Mentors due to circumstance come and go, but the ones who have gone inside even once, can testify to the feeling of being appreciated. The volunteers know they have made a difference in eternity for each man they meet. The clients have caught the vision of what Pathways is trying to do for them. The chaplains tell Pathways that their clients look forward to visits and they appreciate the help. Hynes says “We can do what the chaplains can’t, we can meet with the clients inside and follow them as they are released to half way houses. Seeking education, work and living in society is a challenge for those that have never be incarcerated it is even harder if you carry a criminal record.”
The prison ministry is so satisfying, but there are never enough workers for the harvest. Training is provided to all volunteers and their facility coordinator is available to help in any way necessary as you work with your client. “We work alongside the chaplains in the facilities where we visit our clients. The clients go to chapel because even if they don’t understand it, they know there is peace, joy and unconditional love to be found in that place of refuge. ”
So Pathways is asking “Will you HELP SET A MAN FREE?” Can you give some time each month to help a man be free; free from habits, free from bondages, can you pray with a man; Can you be a friend to a man in need? Your gift of time can mean so much, not just to the client, but to his family and wow what a way to impact society. Walk as Jesus walked within the walls, with the oppressed and marginalized, ask yourself – What would Jesus do? firstname.lastname@example.org
Pathways to Freedom, is a non-denominational ministry that believes unity in the body of Christ is what will be the greatest witness to those outside the church.
They are also always in need of prayer warriors; e-mail email@example.com
Monthly giving supports one client and his/her mentor monthly, we tithe to our scholarship plan- this enables us to support education and retraining; one time giving help to get support the work of the ministry, www.canadahelps.org
At this time the ministry has an opening for a Treasurer/Secretary, they use Simply Accounting and estimate that the time needed per month would be 2-5 hours per month. Board meetings are bi-monthly. They would love to hear from you if you feel you have an ability to serve in this area. Not everyone is called to go inside, but this is a way to help without going insdie. If you would like to know more about this position or anything about Pathways just e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org