San Francisco’s county jail system has been closed to outside programs, including Grace Cathedral’s, by the Covid 19 pandemic.
As long as the virus is a threat, our presence in the jails is unsafe for not only our volunteers but for the inmates. High-level sanitation and social distancing aren’t possible in the facilities, which hold about 800 men and women in multiple locations. The jails are not equipped to facilitate Zoom gatherings.
Stories from Mom & Dad
However, our mission to bolster connections between children and their incarcerated parents continues.
Prior to the pandemic, this consisted of bringing children’s books to the jails and recording parents reading to their children. The books and recordings were then sent to the child’s guardians.
Until we can return to recording the stories, we will distribute postage-paid cards for inmates to fill out with their child’s name, address, age and reading preferences. Volunteers will use this information to select books and mail them to the children, with a message from mom or dad.
When it is safe again, we will resume offering evening prayer services. As a ministry of presence, we do not preach, proselytize or judge. We simply pray, sing and lead a conversational style of Bible study and reflection, and everyone’s voice is given room to be heard.
Wondering whether this for you?
- Pray about it and spend some time with scripture references to jails and prisoners.
- Consider your gifts. Strong communication skills and compassionate listening are central to this work.
- Survey your life. Is this a sustainable and life-giving addition at this time?
Volunteers must complete sheriff’s department training and a background check before applying for a clearance.
For more information, e-mail the Jail Ministry.