Theological study opportunities for SA prisoners is bringing life change

By Pastor Jessie Sanders & Karen Vanlint

Posted in News

In October 2020 the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology (UCLT) released the first unit of the new Certificate III in Christian Ministry and Theology to inmates of South Australian prisons.

This course, developed in consultation with prison chaplains, is designed to target people with no or little knowledge of God, who may also have a limited educational background. We start with the person of Jesus, go on with how to communicate with God, how to read the bible and go deeper, as well as subjects like Ethics, dealing with conflict and sharing our faith.

UCLT has seen 50 people enrol in this course over the past 18 months, most of whom are prisoners from all the SA prison system, including the women’s prison. Although targeted at prisoners, it’s available to anyone desiring to do a correspondence course.

Some students do not complete the first unit, whereas others continue. Two dedicated students are not far from completing the course! COVID-19 has been hard on prisoners, restricting visits, and meaning they have been more confined than usual. So it’s great to think that we have been bringing light and hope into the darkness.

The most exciting part for the VET department has been reading student responses to assessment questions and their feedback about the course. This information has shown that inmates are engaging in this course, are growing in their knowledge and relationship with God and that lives are being changed. Many have said how much it has helped their faith, their mental health, and helped them overcome addiction. One even said he wants to become a chaplain and help others when he gets out.

Some quotes from our students:

‘I loved learning how to communicate with God more and love my faith and what I now believe in.’

‘When I started this subject I didn’t think I would learn and understand so much about God … I have started falling in love with God.’

‘The spiritual growth I’ve developed whilst doing this course is truly miraculous … I’ve had real actioned responses to prayer … I’ve even realised that He’s been chasing me for years.’

We are so excited to see how God is at work in the students’ lives. Please join us in praying for the inmates that enrol in this course and that more would join the course. Pray that God’s word will penetrate their hearts and bring about positive life change.

Pastor Jessie Sanders: VET Coordinator

Karen Vanlint: Certificate III course developer and assessor

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