New graduate chaplains bringing hope to prisoners
Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy has welcomed the three latest graduates of Carinity’s certificate course in pastoral care.
Debbie, Myra and David were recently awarded a Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care. The course, offered by Carinity and run by The Training Collaborative, is the first certificate course of its type in Queensland.
Between them, Debbie, Myra and David have more than 30 years’ experience serving as prison chaplains in correctional centres through Carinity’s Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy program.
“I believe chaplains are vital in prisons as each resident finds themself in a position where they often have the time and the inclination to seek help and support. More than ever, these people need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on,” David says.
Debbie believes prison chaplains help to “bring light into darkness” for people in jail.
“It can be at times overwhelming to be sitting all day and listening to their tragic, so very sad stories of their lives but Christ is the answer, their only hope and we are there to bring him to them,” Debbie says.
Myra says the men and women in prison appreciate the efforts of Carinity’s prison chaplains who volunteer to visit them.
“They know we really care and they can’t believe that we don’t get paid. They know that they can trust us and they say we light up their unit with our smiles when we enter, as they say, the ‘dark place’,” Myra says.
Carinity has almost 60 chaplains working in hospitals, aged care and retirement communities and correctional centres across Queensland.
Chaplaincy is experiencing a growth surge, with Carinity seeing a 10% increase in the take-up of chaplaincy positions over the past year.
Manager of Carinity Chaplaincy and Mission Services, Reverend Don McPherson, says the increasing demand for chaplains is being driven by growing realisation of the benefits of caring for people holistically and by increased social isolation and rising incarceration rates.
Don says the need for more prison chaplains is increasing, with the number of adult prisoners in Queensland corrective services custody increasing by 6.6% between February 2017 and February 2018.t
Find out more about Carinity’s Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care at carinity.org.au/certificateivchaplaincy.
t Source: Queensland Government, Custodial Offender Snapshot, 2018.