Chocolate Cross Day was held at the Lancaster County Prison with a follow up Luncheon at the Eden Resort on April 14, 2022, 8am-1:30pm.
Our Event Was a Huge Success Because of You!
Greeting A Christian Through the Bars
At 8am, 29 volunteers who paid $200.00 per person for the privilege to go through the prison arrived to bless the inmates. They handed each one a chocolate cross, a Christian greeting card about the true meaning of Easter and gave a personal Christian greeting to the inmates right through the bars. Our Justice & Mercy volunteers went to every cell block in the prison and let the prisoners know that God has not forgotten them, and the Church cares about their present, and their future. We’ve been doing this every year for the past 15 years at Lancaster County Prison. Our goal is to let the prisoners and staff know that the Church showed up to bless them with a message of hope. The handout went great, and the Spirit of God was upon the prison and the volunteers. Each one felt like they were about to make a difference in the lives of the inmates and in their own life to refocus their perspective in meeting need to those who feel they’ve been forgotten. Jesus said, “I was in prison”, so we we’re looking for Him, and we found Him among the least of these.
Public Officials Spoke with Great Ideas After We Prayed for Them
The volunteers and other guests then arrived about 10 am at the Eden Resort 222 Eden Rd, Lancaster, PA. We were blessed to hear about testimonies of the handout and four speakers which included District Attorney of Lancaster County, Heather Adams; Lancaster County Warden Cheryl Steberger; Lancaster County Vice-Commissioner, Joshua Parsons; and Volunteer Coordinator of the PA Prison Society, John Hargreaves. We laid hands on the speakers and prayed for them before they spoke. It was amazing how the Spirit of the Lord was in the meeting as we talked about prison reform and changes that are being made in the Criminal Justice System. We all know the system is far from perfect, but on April 14th, we continued to work on it to be more Godly and more just, particularly for the poor. Justice & Mercy is called to affect public policy for good, and we will continue to do so.
Looking for Jesus in Prison
Presently, our primary work is our Matthew 25:36 project, where Jesus says, “I was in prison, and you visited me”. Justice & Mercy, through the PA Prison Society (PPS), has the right and responsibility to visit any prisoner in private throughout the State of PA, in County jails and State prisons. We’re able to make a substantial difference in many prisoners lives through letters, phone calls, emails, and occasionally personal visits in the prison. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to visit all the requests we get. That’s where you come in.
Hearing Inmates Problems
When inmates’ problems at the prison can be solved without a personal visit, it’s much more economical. The hard work is being able to understand the problem a prisoner faces, and then come up with a solution that works for the prisoner, his family, and the prison, plus the people of PA. This requires time, equaling $100-1,000 per solution. There is no true justice without some mercy. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect, and no one can afford to throw the first stone. We work hard to get to the right decision for everyone involved. Thank you for helping us do the right thing.
Tough Problems are a little Harder & Impossibilities Take a lot Longer & More Prayer
Of course, there are much tougher cases that we work on like alternate sentencing before a person goes to trial, helping deserving people get parole and a home plan that guarantees successful reentry into society. Then there are the innocent people who’ve been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, called wrongful conviction. Justice & Mercy has served on the Innocence Commission appointed by the Senate of PA for a three-year period, and we are amazed how many innocent people are serving a murder conviction where the exculpatory evidence has proved they’re innocent and they’ve been set free. Unfortunately, we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Finding the truth about innocence or guilt can be lengthy and expensive process. Along with other organizations, Justice & Mercy estimates we’ve been able to help about 300 people get set free in PA, through discovery of exculpatory evidence or DNA testing. This process can take 5-20 years as the truth is not always easy to discover. The problem with convicting an innocent person is, the real perpetrator is still out there committing more crimes. Justice & Mercy works at improving public policy and improving the criminal justice world, so we get the right perpetrator the first time.
Good relationships with Public Officials are Important & Prayer is More Important
After it’s all said and done, sometimes your prayers are the only thing that make the difference. Revelations 8:3-4 paraphrased says God is still hearing our prayers and an Angel who stands before the throne is offering our prayers up to God. Please keep praying and giving, as God is still on the throne.
Thanks so much for your help, and may God bless you a hundred-fold for all you do, and give, and pray.
By Dr. Tom Zeager, President
Justice & Mercy, Inc.
Pictures of Our event