Catching Stones | May 25, 2018
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Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

—Psalm 82:3, NIV


Youth for Christ’s Juvenile Justice Ministry

Youth for Christ USA’s Juvenile Justice Ministry (JJM) focuses on teenagers in juvenile jails and detention centers across the United States. Volunteers, chaplains, and mentors provide “balanced ministry” and positive relationships for these high-risk young people, witnessing to the love of Christ. These relationships continue as the teenagers reenter their communities, providing the youth with a sense of stability and committed role models and friends. Watch this video to learn more about this transformational work.


“It’s the Christian thing to do”

At the California Medical Facility, a medium-security prison, two dozen men provide “dignified deaths” to their fellow inmates. These hospice workers—most of whom are convicted murderers on life sentences—pull 10- to 15-hour shifts, seven days a week, making just 15 to 32 cents an hour. They are the ones who hold round-the-clock vigils for patients in their final hours—no prisoner dies alone. For these workers, hospice care teaches compassion and respect for death; it is redemptive. Read about this care-filled work.


Calvin App Offers Reentry Assistance

Calvin Prison Initiative and the Henry Institute at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., have created an application to help in the transition of returning citizens reentering society. The Returning Citizens Resources app offers an interactive, spatial map of resources and services in the Grand Rapids area, including housing, employment, counseling services, and welcoming churches among other categories. The app creators hope that the app will empower returning citizens and give them the tools to be successful. Learn more about this resource-ful idea.


“Transforming Canada’s Criminal Justice System”

For one and a half years, the Minister of Justice and her Parliamentary Secretary held roundtable discussions across Canada as the “start of a national conversation” about the criminal justice system. Their report highlights several key findings, including many partners’ concerns that most people entering the criminal justice system are “vulnerable or marginalized individuals” and that an “over-reliance on incarceration” exacerbates the underlying issues. Participants urged the Minister to look at restorative justice services and community-based approaches. Take a look at the report.


Every Square Inch

The recent graduating class of the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI) program featured 15 inmates from Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Mich., the first CPI students to earn a degree while incarcerated. Launched in 2015, CPI is the result of a partnership between Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and the Michigan Department of Corrections, offering students the opportunity to earn a certificate or an associate degree in ministry leadership or a bachelor of arts degree. Read this hopeful story.


“Looking at the totality of an individual”

Funding has been earmarked for three Community Justice Centres in Ontario, building on a relatively new-to-Canada concept of providing legal and social services under the same roof. The first community hubs will be in London, Kenora, and Toronto; each center will be unique, created by local community members to meet specific community needs. Kenora’s center will include a focus on Indigenous education and restorative justice practices; London’s will provide employment, mental health, and substance abuse support; and Toronto’s will cater to harm reduction, housing, and mental health support. Read about these centers here.


Holland Restorative Circles

Holland Restorative Circles and Hope Church are cosponsoring a restorative circle facilitator training. The two-day training will be held Thurs. and Fri., June 14-15, at Hope Church, Holland, Mich. No prior experience is required to attend this learning opportunity. Find more information and register here.



FaithCARE (Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences), a Shalem Mental Health Network program, helps churches across Ontario work through conflicts in a restorative manner, facilitating conversations in restorative circles. FaithCARE also provides churches with tools to become restorative congregations. Visit the FaithCARE website for more information or to schedule a consultation or restorative circle facilitation.