Well trained volunteer teams of men and women from the communities surrounding a prison present a 4 day event, described as a short course in Christianity. This inter denominational team of volunteers – both clergy and laypersons – work with the Chaplain who selects up to 24 participants to attend the event. This is followed by weekly or monthly reunion visits to the participants.
Kairos comes from a Greek word meaning the “right time”. As an organisation we believe that the ‘right time’ to discuss the deeper issues in the life of offenders, is when they are in prison. There they have time to reflect ,without too many distractions, on the events and impact of trajectory of their past life, their hurts, their mistakes, their often muddled thinking and the harm they have caused others. We believe the chapel not the classroom is the best venue for this spiritual introspection.
Kairos believes that true rehabilitation starts with the “heart”. With this in mind, our ministry to men and women in prison begins with a Kairos week where volunteers model and communicate God’s unconditional love, grace and mercy. It is here that God begins changing hearts. A key outcome of the Kairos weekend is for participants to find hope and a new vision for their life through a relationship with God.
The prison environment fosters isolation. During the week many participants take their first steps in learning to become vulnerable with one another. Following the week, they are encouraged to be involved in small groups focusing on accountability, encouragement and prayer. These groups meet weekly and Kairos volunteers continue to return once per month and provide discipleship and mentoring. God continues His work of changing hearts and transforming lives as the participants strengthen their relationship with Christ and with each other. They grow in their understanding that, with God’s help, a changed way of life is possible. As transformation continues, new attitudes are expressed in changed behaviour. Soon they are impacting the world in which they live—inside the prison walls or outside upon their release.
Kairos Outside is a special weekend retreat designed to support the women family members of men and women who are or have been in prison. In a safe environment with loving people, women interact with other women who are in similar situations and learn to form small groups to support and give them strength for the challenges they face.
Spouses, parents and relatives of the imprisoned often “do time” right along with their loved ones. It is important for them to know that they are not alone and that there is a Christian community that cares. Kairos Outside is designed to support the families of imprisoned men, women and juveniles. Any adult female family member whose life has been impacted by the imprisonment of a loved one is eligible to attend a Kairos Outside weekend.
The purpose of the Kairos Outside programme is to exhibit Godʼs grace and love through Christian support for women who have loved ones who are or who have been imprisoned.
Kairos Outside began in 1989 as an idea from the chaplain at San Quentin State Correctional Facility in California after the first Kairos Prison Ministry retreat. He felt, as did many involved in the ministry, that those who became involved in the Kairos programme were now open to family unity, more so than ever before.
Kairos Outside is a blend of the ʻfree worldʼ three day short course on Christianity called Cursillo (which spawned Kairos) and also the Kairos Inside course. The team consists of concerned, committed Christians who believe in these hurting women and want to encourage them on their lifeʼs journey.
The Kairos Outside weekend is based on a series of talks by women sharing their lifeʼs journey. The Guests review the talks in small family groups. The programme is interspersed with music, prayer, fun activities, and general pampering. The weekend is Christian in nature, although no religious affiliation is necessary to attend. After the weekend, the women journey together through “reunion” meetings where there is encouragement for each other on their life impacted by imprisoned loved ones.
In the UK Kairos Outside is being considered for 2020
Kairos Torch is the youth division of Kairos Prison Ministry. Torch volunteers mentor youth who are serving time in prison. It’s amazing to see the power of a caring Christian adult speak into the life of these teenage girls and boys. We literally sit on the front row seat of a miracle as God changes these young lives from crime to productive, successful citizens!
Kairos Torch is a mentoring ministry to young offenders that addresses all facets of the youth's life including mental health, socialization and decision making. The Kairos Torch program encourages young offenders to realize their potential through creating a safe environment, allowing them to learn what life can be like in a loving, caring and trusting community. The overriding goal of Kairos Torch is enhancing self-esteem, promoting constructive life choices, developing relationship and community and stopping the spiral that can only lead to further trouble. This is achieved by encouraging participants to embrace and develop a biblical worldview through which their choices and subsequent actions are governed.
Currently there are no Torch programmes running in the UK