The Welcome Directory
Every year we produce a physical edition of the welcome Directory, which is sent to Prison Establishments, Approved Premises and other key stakeholders. The directory lists the names and contact details of all registered faith communities (at the time of printing), along with special forewords and stories that expand upon our work.
We invite you to download the 2022 edition of The Welcome Directory here, or browse through some the excerpts shared below.
Foreword by Tariq Usmani
PATRON OF THE WELCOME DIRECTORY
“As a practising Muslim I am well aware of the responsibilities and obligations my faith places on me.
Those that have been caught up in the criminal justice system and wish to correct their ways find it difficult to find the support needed to move on. Establishing dignity is an important and necessary journey but that journey becomes increasingly difficultas job prospects are very limited and progression in life seems unattainable. The cycle of offending and re-offending becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Faith is a strong motivator but if the promoters of faith are then perceived as unforgiving then the fragility of faith in the mind of the prison leaver becomes ever more so fragile.
There is a responsibility on the Muslim community to support those that may have made decisions which are considered erroneous. In my experience and in many instances, it is obvious that these decisions are based upon very difficult and enduring circumstances.
Re-connection to faith is enabled far more easily if a welcoming and forgiving community recognises that we as individuals are far from perfect, only our Creator is perfect. In recognition of that fact are we not able to give someone a further chance even if it is two, three or more?
As you read through this Directory, I would encourage you, whether you're part of the Muslim Community or a member of another faith community, to consider whether you could do the same?”
Tariq Usmani MBE
The Welcome Directory
Foreword by Sonia Flynn
Chief Probation Officer
“As the Chief Probation Officer for Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service I am very pleased to have been asked to contribute to the 2022edition of The Welcome Directory.
I qualified as a Probation Officer in 1988 and whilst many things have changed over the past 30 years, one aspect of Probation which has remained constant is our duty to support individuals who leave prison to find hope and purpose in the days and months following release.
A positive connection with a faith group in the community can in my experience be an important step to rehabilitation. I would encourage readers of this Directory to discuss with your Probation Officer how faith could support you during your period of licence. Also, what steps need to be taken to secure a welcome which complements the requirements of your licence period.
Engagement with faith groups can provide many opportunities from addressing feelings of isolation or making a positive contribution by volunteering for local charities. Life after prison can be challenging but the potential introductions in this Directory could lead to lifelong changes and a hopeful and happier future.
In October 2020, Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service launched its Faith Partnership Framework. This sets out our commitment to work closely with all faith communities which includes those listed in this copy of The Welcome Directory, and to support those we supervise to maintain their faith or belief whilst complying with their order and licence requirements.
We hope you will find this Directory a useful resource in finding a faith community that will provide a welcome and a hopeful future after release.”
Sonia Flynn CBE
Chief Probation Officer
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
Richard grew up in a difficult environment –his childhood was marred by violence and abuse, and early into his teen years he began dabbling with drugs to cope with the turmoil. As the patterns of abuse continued into adulthood; he steadily turned towards harder drugs and began committing crimes to support the habit. He soon ended up in a young offender's institute, where the threat of serious violence was ever present.
After leaving prison, he continued in his addictions. He was homeless and doing whatever was necessary to support his drug use. Many painful and hazy years ensued, during which he served another term in prison before returning to the streets and his old habits. It wasn’t until the 15th December 1991 that this journey of transformation finally began
At this time, he had been accommodated by the council, but still passed his days on the streets. One day he met a man named James, who invited him to a meeting with his faith community. Richard had been approached in this way before, and always met such encounters with resistance, but remembers feeling such an unconditional, non-judgmental love from James that he chose to come along. During that meeting, on a cold December day in 1991,a member of the congregation stood up to share a message of hope, saying that peace could be found through Yeshua. Richard felt sure that message was for him; he broke down crying, and describes “this love, and this peace and this joy just washing through me. I felt like I’d been born again.” In that moment he felt he was freed from his addictions, and since that day he has never resumed his drug use, and never returned to prison.
Richard’s name has been changed to protect his identity He began devouring scripture, exploring deep questions about his life, identity and faith. He described the role of his faith community during this period, saying “If I didn’t have the support of my faith community, I don’t think I’d be around today. We need each other; man is not an island. When you’re young in the faith you make mistakes, but the members of the community were like the arms and the mouths of God to help me, to feed me and guide me on my path.”
20 years later, Richard works for a homelessness charity, supporting those suffering with homelessness, addiction and offending. He is also an ordained minister, with a heart for prison ministry. He has had to navigate deeply challenging times, but at each hurdle he has found a way to lean into his faith and his community, and to identify a positive way forward.
Useful resources and explanations
The full content of the 2022 edition of The Welcome Directory can be downloaded here. You may enjoy exploring:
- An outline of the vision of The Welcome Directory (p6)
- A guide to how the directory is used (p9)
- The names and details of all faith communities registered at the time of printing (June 2021) (p11-63)
- An elaboration of our 'why', exploring the powerful role that faith communities can play (p66-67)
- Guidance about registration (p70 and p80)
- Information about how you can help (p71)
- Outline of our donors, partners, patrons and trustees (p72-74 and p78)
- Frequently Asked Questions (p75-77)
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