A church in Illinois is helping to change its local county jail system by bringing their church services to local inmates.
Even though the church has only been holding services in the Jasper County Jail for three months, the employees and inmates of the jail say they have already seen noteworthy progress.
“We have a quieter atmosphere,” Jasper County Sheriff Patrick Williamson told WLFI-TV. “In times past, you would hear banging, kicking, yelling, screaming, but now it’s very quiet. They get along well, they treat staff better, so we have fewer incidents. It just complements the other things going on in our jail.”
Prior to the jail services being launched, Williamson worked with John Hill, pastor of First Church, on an addiction recovery house for men. After seeing success from that initiative, Hill decided to pursue a bigger ministry program with the Jasper County Jail.
“Our church was really excited just to build bridges with these families, help them connect with our community, help them with employment, and just show them that we care,” Hill said.
“The miracle of that is something to behold,” said Williamson.
The weekly worship services take place on Thursdays. The church brings in sound equipment, chairs, and donuts, while the jail supplies the coffee.
The service is an optional activity for inmates, but around half of the men and women in the jail attend.
Anthony Gann, who was arrested in March for drug-use, told WLFI-TV he appreciates the positive impact the services are having on the jail community.
“It’s awesome to get to have that real church experience while we are in here doing our time,” Gann said. “Some of the best guys I know are in here.”
// Amazing grace! 💙—Today, a member of our Jasper County Jail Campus led us in singing “Amazing Grace.”—Chris Tomlin
Posted by First Church on Thursday, May 30, 2019
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