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September- October 2010

WESTERN – CENTRAL EUROPE
Dear colleagues in Prison Fellowship,
Next week we will gather in Washington nearly all 40 RLT* members. The members of the PFI
Board of Trustees will meet as well at the same period. Pray for us so that we may be able to make it
a concrete and fruitful meeting in order to serve our region better and better, paying attention to
your needs and wishes (that you are always welcome to share with us anytime!).
We will be planning national ministry visits, support, trainings, new ministry development visits,
work on commissions for 2011, focusing on our Convocation which is approaching fast!
Be blessed in your ministry and praise the Lord for our ‘reconciling community’!

Constantin, Hans, Tobias and Dominique

* RLT: Regional Leadership Team ( European Support Group for Western Europe ☺ )

Welcome to PF Iceland new chairperson !
The decision was taken Sept 7th on a Board meeting: Sigridur Hronn is the new
Chairperson, taking over from Pastor Hreinn Hakonarson, prison chaplain, who remains
on the Board. Here below in a brown coat in front of the Reykjavik main prison with her
fellow Board members, Sigridur is part time volunteer for PF. She has many other
missions as a nurse and theologian. She is writing a book about a 90yo lady who worked
in the Salvation Army and leads pastoral care for women. She used to be a missionary in
Africa too. PF Iceland has started monthly visits in almost 4 of the 5 prisons of the
country, lead worship Sunday services, pray with the prisoners, share testimonies and
cakes baked by Sigridur. One Board member is missing on the picture, he is around 25,
a former addict, who came to faith 5 years ago and has a strong testimony to give to the
prisoners.
Awareness campaign in England & Wales
PF E&W has launched a campaign called ‘Love Beyond Bars’ to highlight the need for
more volunteers, donors and prayer supporters to further the excellent work volunteers
are already doing to ‘see lives transformed’. The campaign runs from 20th September to
27th November, the end coinciding with National Prisons Week, and has already
generated lots of interest. They have sent out press
releases, have made specific calls for younger
volunteers eg as press release to all university and
college Christian Unions by email –and also to Bible
colleges. They have also created a church resources
pack that includes sermon notes, church magazine
articles and prayers that can help churches focus on
prisons during Prisons Week. Those who have
requested the church resources pack, have been added
to a mailing list, hopefully that will generate more
volunteers and donors in future. Campaign leaflets
have been flying off the shelves through current
volunteers who are getting behind the campaign.
‘Love Beyond Bars’ represents an opportunity to
showcase the wonderful work that Prison Fellowship
England and Wales is already doing through its
volunteers, and sets out our ambition to see even more
prisoners reached and given a message of hope.

PF Switzerland visiting Prisma (PF in Germany)

The exchange of best practices among national ministries in the
region is an approach we would like to extend. On September
18th, PF Switzerland Board visited Prisma Juvenile Centre of
Detention / Seehaus where youngsters from 16-22yo are staying
12-18 months as an alternative to prison. On this occasion they
shared about ministry development in both countries and the
Swiss team has been impressed by the ‘positive peer culture’.
Before their integration in Seehaus, the juveniles were used to
spend time hanging around drinking and smoking. Now they
enjoy a family life that they had never had before. They learn to
behave like in a family. They study and for the first time in their
life they get a diploma at the end of the course. Sometimes their results are better than
elsewhere! The diploma is recognised by the authorities. They practise sport that helps them
reach limits (eg: 5.45am jogging!).They work and behave with discipline. For the first time in
their life they are proud of having done something concrete and good (carpentry as on the
pic, or metallurgy). They are trained by professionals in integrated workshops that take
orders from a wide external client network. Also they make amends by erasing graffiti in
the town, or help elderly people. And this is why they are well accepted by the inhabitants
of the area: positive actions are done for the community. Punctuality, discipline and loyalty
are among the main values the juveniles learn at Seehaus.
If you would like more information on this project visit the website: www.prisma-jugendhilfe.de and if you would like to
be involved in a visit of a ‘best practice project’ in Europe in a perspective of development of your own ministry, let the us
know!
PRAYER REQUESTS

- Pray for the full recovery of Billy Gilvear the PF Guernsey Chairman and the dedicated team
which is increasing the activities and visits in prisons.
- Pray for Prison Fellowship Spain as they struggle to get financial results after their recent
fundraising campaign

- Pray for PF Hungary and their meeting this week with the State Under Secretary of Hungary
to discuss Church questions and show him what PF H and IPCA H do.

EASTERN EUROPE – CENTRAL ASIA
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our small team in the European Office salutes you -- the faithful workers of the Lord !!!
We pray for you daily, we are with you in spirit -- whether you are doing an in-prison program,
lead a rehabilitation center for released prisoners, or are meeting partners from different churches,
sponsors, or justice officials.

I just returned from a PFI seminar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on rehabilitation and social adaptation
centers. It was heartening to see Christian leaders from 7 countries in Eastern Europe and Central
Asia sharing their work, their achievements and struggles in this particular area of prison ministry.
PFI ministries in the region have built up solid programs of transformation of the offender through
programs of spiritual and vocational training resulting in incredibly low levels of recidivism,
which no other program could claim. Released prisoners break the vicious circle of crime and
punishment, they re-enter society, they join the churches, they marry, they establish new families.
We must speak boldly about this and attract allies and resources at municipal and government
level. To have this important moral and social task only upon the shoulders of churches is not right!

Ivan Sotirov

Seminar in Bishkek
PFI leaders of rehabilitation and social adaptation centers met in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan,
Oct. 20-22 for discussing the current state and the future in this important segment of
prison ministry. The following countries were represented at the seminar – Russian
Federation, Ukraine, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A
substantial discussion on the principles of the work of such centers, their funding, their
programs and output took place. An idea to establish an experts group, able to offer on-
site counsel on different aspects of the activities of rehab centers was put forward and will
be duly considered in the near future. The participants in the seminar visited 3 of the
rehab and vocational training center of PF Kyrgyzstan.
PF Kazakhstan
The ministry leadership is reaching out to many local churches in an effort to attract them
to launching PFI programs like Angel Tree and Sycamore Tree projects. At the same time
PF Kazakhstan has greatly improved the relationship with the prison administration and
the ministry leaders were among the NGO representatives invited to a special event
during the meeting of the president of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan last
September.

PF Russia

The ministry staged successfully in the city of Samara on the Volga river this year gala
concert to mark the system wide competition in song writing and performance “Kalina
krasnaya”.

On the organizational side, PF Russia has a new Executive Director – Mr. Valery Zhirnov,
a former officer in the Federal prison service correctional programs department. He
succeeds Gennady Staroverov, the former ED, who died in July as a result of a heart
condition aggravated by the huge forest fires last summer in Moscow.

General Sushkov is taking part Oct. 27 in St. Petersburg in a church conference on the
perspectives for expanding aftercare programs, which are of special importance in the
post-Soviet space, given the large number of prisoners who are released after serving long
sentences.
PF Bulgaria

Elena Yoncheva, the ministry Executive Director has received a grant from the Embassy of
the Netherlands in Sofia to support the vocational training and moral uplifting programs
in the framework of PF Bulgaria Community of Restoration in the prison of Vratza. The
program leads to a certificate in landscaping and gardening, skills which the trainees
apply to improve the perimeter of the prison as a practice segment of the course.

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Please pray for PF Albania restructuring and leadership change, so that the ministry may be
reinvigorated.
• Pray for the ambitious Angel Tree program of PF Russia led by Yan Volkov. More than
12,000 children of prisoners will be reached, so the ministry still needs to print 6,500 children
Bibles on top of the 3,500 they have already printed.
• Pray for PF Lithuania new programs – Angel Tree and Eyeglasses for prisoners.
• Pray for PF Latvia seminar for partners and volunteers, which will discuss programs for
ministering to elderly and disabled prisoners and former prisoners.

Resources
The PF World Convocation online registration is now open in English, Spanish,
French, Russian and Arabic at PFI’s website, www.pfi.org. Join us 28 June – 2 July
in Toronto, Canada! Visa applications can take time. Don’t delay, register today.

Be sure to promote the PF World Convocation to your volunteers and supporters
through your website, newsletters, and blogs

ALL YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE NEXT EUROPE NEWSLETTER ARE MORE THAN WELCOME:
Please send them to dalexandre@pfi.org (Western Europe) or isotirov@pfi.org (for Eastern Europe
and Central Asia)

PFI Europe News is brought to you by Prison Fellowship International. Compiled and edited every other
month by Dominique Alexandre and Ivan Sotirov - PFI Europe Secretariat, Rue du Panorama 4, 1800 Vevey, Switzerland
© 2010 by Prison Fellowship International - All rights reserved - Reprints permitted with acknowledgement