The unit provides an opportunity for inmates to explore the Christian faith, and to surround themselves with Christian support on release.
The interdenominational programme was developed with representatives of the mainstream Christian denominations and the spiritual transformation focuses on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Trained Christian mentors work on a one to-one basis with the prisoners eight months before they leave the prison, and for up to two years after they are released.
The mentors are supported by their church, which undertakes to provide the offender and their family with moral and spiritual support after release.
This approach empowers offenders and volunteers alike to take responsibility for restoring personal, family and community relationships.
Te Ara Pono (TAP) is a specially-designed prison Cursillo, based around an intensive four-day in-prison course, which is itself based on the normal Cursillo Three Days programme.
Cursillistas with a calling to prison ministry run the course in the Faith Unit each November.
Two Cursillistas within the St Matthew’s 10 am congregation are involved with this initiative.
(Te Ara Pono means the Way of Faith)
Our Vestry is currently considering the Target Programme, which gives parishes the resources they need to accept, coach, encourage and hold accountable released prisoners and assist their families. This is a big step for the parish and it will discussed in full during the Vestry Planning Day, on 16 October.
Parishioners can be involved directly by supporting and assisting released prisoners and their families, or indirectly by providing clothing, food and household items, and by supporting those who are directly involved with prayer.