Through the office of Global Mission and Service, the Church of the Brethren is renewing its partnership of grant support to the organization Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS). In addition to the denomination’s grant support, which began in 1985, PVS has benefited from Brethren serving as prison visitors and as representatives on PVS’ board of directors.
Global Mission and Service recently provided a grant of $1,000 to PVS, which previously received annual grants from the Church of the Brethren.
PVS is described as “the only nationwide, interfaith visitation program with access to all federal and military prisons and prisoners in the United States,” according to a background document relating the history of the organization. PVS was founded in 1968 by Bob Horton, a retired Methodist minister, and Fay Honey Knopp, a Quaker activist, to visit imprisoned conscientious objectors.
“In its first five years of service, PVS volunteers visited over 2,000 conscientious objectors,” the document said. “PVS was encouraged by the war resisters to visit other prisoners and, today, PVS visits any federal or military prisoner wanting a visit. Today, PVS has 350 volunteers who visit at more than 97 federal and military prisons across the country.
It is sponsored by 35 national religious bodies and socially-concerned agencies including Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and secular organizations. “PVS seeks to meet the needs of prisoners through an alternative ministry that is separate from official prison structures,” the description said.
Brethren are invited to consider participating in this ministry of prison visitation. PVS is in especial need of volunteers for prisons in California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Mississippi. More information can be found at www.prisonervisitation.org .
— Kendra Harbeck, manager of the Global Mission and Service office, contributed to this report.