KAIROS PRISON MINISTRY
Kairos is a Christian, lay led, ecumenical, volunteer, international prison ministry in which men and women volunteers bring Christ's love and forgiveness to incarcerated individuals and to their families. Kairos consists of three programs: the Men's and Women's Ministry, begun in 1976, Kairos Outside, begun in 1991, and Kairos Torch, begun in 1997.
The mission of Kairos Prison Ministry is to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women and youth, as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.
A Community spiritually freed from the effects of imprisonment reaching all impacted by incarceration, through the love, hope, and faith found in Jesus Christ.
St. John’s has been actively involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry at Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton, NC since 2009. We serve young men ages eighteen to twenty-six. . A team of forty to fifty Christian men go into the prison Thursday through Sunday to share Christ’s love and forgiveness. The Kairos motto is: Listen, Listen, Love, Love. We share the story of Christ by sitting at table families of three team members (including one Clergy) and six participants. There are seven tables for a total of forty two participants. In 2015, the Superintendent and the Chaplain asked us if we would add a second weekend in the fall, because of what they had witnessed as a result of this ministry. We started a second weekend that fall and continue to have two weekends a year.
We go back the following Saturday after a weekend for an Instructional Day to help the participants learn how to form Prayer and Share groups within their environment.
On the first Tuesday of each month, we go to Foothills for a Reunion Night, which is led by Kairos graduates and includes songs, scripture readings, and “Prayer and Share” time in small groups.
In March, 2020 a Kairos graduate from Foothills did a promotional video for a halfway house where he was transitioning back into a normal life. In the video, he talked about the spiritual experience at the Christian led halfway house and how his walk with Christ began while in prison on a Kairos Weekend. (He did not mention Kairos by name, but he named the Kairos leader at Foothills.) He said he was a gang-banger and knew of Christ, but did not really KNOW Christ until he made his Kairos weekend. He met other Christians and began to go to Bible Studies and church services. He credited another Kairos graduate who served, and still serves, as a leader in the Foothill’s Kairos community with helping him grow closer with Christ. He said he went to his gang leader and “turned in my colors”, which means he dropped out of the gang. His story does not stop there. With the help of Christ and the Kairos leader in Foothills, he led his gang leader and other gang members to Christ.
Of the 42 participants on a weekend, the Chaplain says, “25% become Christians, 25% are very interested in faith issues and intentionally pursue a better understanding of their faith, 25% have their lives changed but do not become Christians but have a better respect for Christians, 25% really were there just for the food.” Kairos is proud of the statistic that 85% of Kairos graduates who complete their time do not return to prison. Each weekend the seed is planted.