Chester County Prison
CCP Chaplaincy Program

Heart Cries from Chester County Prison

Newsletter of the Chaplain's Office

October 2018



Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship at Camp at Old Mill

You Embraced Incarcerated Men and Women at Chester County Prison

Dear Professional Religious Volunteer 

Habakkuk 2:1

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”

 2 Corinthians 4:6

“For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”


 You are receiving this communication because you are considered a most important life that has evidenced a burden and passion for precious souls in prison. Chester County Prison has connected our lives in many meaningful ways, most especially, because you have embraced incarcerated men and women at the Chester County Prison. The two scriptures noted represent so many others that call us to watchfulness and vigilance ‘for such a time as this.’ If your experience has been anything like my own, the ‘heart cries’ of the prisoner have taught me so much. For me, the urgencies often represented in the prison have become prophetic voices demanding my own response to the callings of God.


I want to first thank you for caring enough to spend yourself on behalf of the Chester County Prison. Your testimony of loving obedience and service to God has not been in vain. Many of our Administration and Staff have long been witness to your faithfulness. Countless men and women have heard your words of life and have experienced the compassion of your visits and efforts on their behalf. May it never be said inside of our prison: “no man cared for my soul!”


As I look back on 40+ years of ministry related to Chester County Prison, I can honestly say that it’s been the urgent, heart cries of our prisoners that God has used to direct our efforts and initiatives. I can testify strongly to the fact that such ministries as City Gate Mission, Children’s Bible Clubs, Camp at Old Mill, and most importantly, present Family Reentry Initiatives were all birthed from the real and urgent cries of the prisoner’s family and personal need for our obedient and God-directed response.


Though not a scientific survey of our prisoners, I am still quite confident to share with you that near to 65% of our men and 85% of our women are fathers and mothers. In short, we have a prison full of moms and dads! What does this say to us about myriads of boys and girls in our own community whose lives have been deeply hurt and wounded? The relationship of our lives to our own children can be very telling in respect to our personal walk with God. Seeing our incarcerated men and women as parents is just one of many urgencies placed in our hearts, today. Imagine what God can do when we encourage men and women in their relationships with their own children, and seek a stronger focus within the prison related to the heart cries of the family!


Two such initiatives within the Chester County Prison will focus on these very concerns of the family. Malachi Dads and Hannah’s Gift are two resources that will center on the issue of repentance and ‘turning of the heart to one’s children.’


For the sake of ‘brevity’ let me move towards a conclusion to this first of many encouragements I want to send to you…


Your role with us is most needed. Admittedly, the tide of Criminal Justice is demanding (rightly so) that the faith-based community raise a clear and measureable willingness to embrace and serve the needs of prisoners in the community. An urgent call for the professed, people of God to create resources and initiatives for returning men and women, their children and families is paramount! I want to personally encourage you to weigh seriously your present role in these things and I look forward to ‘working-a-net’ with you in the upcoming months of 2015. There will be opportunities for training and you will be the first to know of them.


As I close, allow me to invite you to a wonderful evening of fellowship and challenge at our ministry’s headquarters: The Camp at Old Mill, 127 Brandamore Road, Honey Brook, PA. 19344 on Sunday, July 26th at 6:00 pm. You'll have the opportunity of meeting and hearing the Executive Director of Prison Fellowship, Mr. Jim Liske (who has stepped into the shoes of PF’s founding father, Mr. Chuck Colson). I'd be very encouraged to see you and I know that this can be a monumental moment in our continued relationship! This is an outdoor meeting (so bring lawn chairs) but we'll use the chapel in case of rain.


Lastly, study the Mission Statement of the Chester County Prison below...You'll realize that you and I play an important role to help those who are incarcerated to re-enter the community as productive citizens. May the Lord help us and bless us in this endeavor.


You are crucial to our moving forward, so; receive this letter in the spirit in which it has been written…


Grateful For All You Do!


John (Jack) Lawrence Crans

Administrative Chaplain


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