The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu is to visit Kirklevington Grange Prison on Christmas Day. He will lead the Christmas Day morning services and will spend time with staff and prisoners as part of his 6-month Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing across the Diocese of York.
Speaking on his Pilgrimage, Archbishop Sentamu said: “I was a Prison Chaplain once and as Bishop for Stepney used to go into the two local prisons on Christmas Day. I was reminded of Matthew 25: ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me’. On Christmas Day, I will be telling all at Kirklevington of the love of God in Jesus Christ for each one of us. For those who are in prison, who are lonely, who feel lost or abandoned– they are all stand-ins for Jesus Christ. You can encounter Christ everywhere, even in prison! The birth of Jesus of Nazareth reminds us that God is in the business of making all things new. All of us can make a fresh start with God and with one another today!”
HMP Kirklevington is an open prison for adult male offenders, focused on developing links with families and the wider community. Its aim is to prepare prisoners for their release, addressing offending behaviour and encouraging responsibility for actions.
Angie Petit, Acting Governor at HM Prison & YOI Kirklevington Grange said: “We are delighted to welcome the Archbishop – it is a particular pleasure to have His Grace here on Christmas Day which is always a challenging day for both those residing and working in prison, separated from family. I am sure he will see the atmosphere of hope we provide here, with opportunities to prepare for successful release into the community and we wish him well with his onward pilgrimage in the North East.”
Following his visit to the prison, the Archbishop will continue his Pilgrimage and will be visiting Ayresome Court Nursing Home. Prayers outside Yarm Town Hall at around 1pm – all welcome. To follow and to share in the Archbishop’s Pilgrimage, please visit: http://pilgrimage.archbishopofyork.org/
For more on HMP Kirklevington, please visit: http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/kirklevington-grange