Justice That Restores

We interview Heather Rice-Minus of Prison Fellowship to learn about how they balance following clear commands and navigating terrain that's open to wisdom.
In this episode…
  • Heather Rice-Minus is Vice President of Government Affairs and Church Mobilization for Prison Fellowship, a ministry that transforms the lives of prisoners, cares for their children and families, and advocates for justice that brings restoration to everyone affected by a crime.

  • Rev. Drew is a member of the Christian Civics teaching team and the author of "Surprised By Community: Democrats and Republicans In The Same Pew." He recently retired from Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in New York City, a ministry with a particular focus on Columbia University and nearby schools. He and his wife live in New York City, where he continues to teach and preach.

  • Rick Barry is Executive Director of Center for Christian Civics, where he helps ministry leaders and faith communities develop missional approaches to their local public squares. He has worked on campaigns for local, state and federal office, is a former writer and editor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and oversaw communications for the Grace DC church network. He and his wife live in Washington, DC.

  • Introduction (00:30)
  • Interview (07:10)
  • Describing Our Opponents Accurately (35:55)
  • Prayer (38:10)

Our guest this week is Heather Rice-Minus. She’s vice president of government affairs and church mobilization for Prison Fellowship. Prison Fellowship is in a rare spot where some of the work they do is responding in a simple, direct way to simple direct commands in scripture—to not forget those in prison and to visit prisoners. But another part of what they do is taking big, broad principles that we’re supposed to dedicate ourselves to and finding specific ways to apply those themes in a complicated, multifaceted system.

Prison Fellowship is a great example of a collection of Christians humbly trying to figure out the best way to be a practical, visible example of the kingdom that is to come in the middle of the here and now. They don’t shy away from engaging with a very hard, very complicated form of brokenness, and they do it while leaving room for people who don’t share their approach to still exercise their best wisdom. 

We recorded this via Skype, so the connection is not great, but the questions Heather raises—”What is the purpose of the justice system?” “How do we as Christians take our thoughts about crime and punishment captive to the gospel?”—are worth wrestling with even over a poor-sounding connection.

Pray for Your Prison

Spend a few minutes this week or weekend looking up information on your nearest prison, including its location and its warden/senior staff. Pray for its senior staff members by name, and for the rest of the staff and inmates collectively. Pray for safety for them from COVID-19, wisdom for how to deal with the outbreak, and for God’s Spirit to fill the walls of the facility and provoke healing, change and restoration in peoples’ hearts.

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