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Church ministry becomes angel for prisoners

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

Little Zion Baptist Church is inviting former prisoners to an event on helping their lives after jail.

Prisoners and those who were incarcerated often times are unable to get their wishes of employment answered with a job offer. This is often merited upon their records and/or behaviors.
Yet one church is planning to help them find answers this Saturday.
On July 13, Little Zion Baptist Church, under the direction of Reverend Earl T. Howerton Jr., will be hosting the Hope, Help, Restoration and Renewal program for those searching for how to manage their lives following incarceration.
The program will assist individuals in such areas as dealing with the mental and emotional challenges of life after prison, having civil rights restored and managing family issues.
“I think they’ve done an outstanding job,” Howerton said, about the ministry. The goal of Saturday’s program, Howerton said, is to uplift those who have been incarcerated and those currently in prison.
He added that this is one example of how the ministry is helping to intervene.
“I know how destructive it is and how it affects families,” Howerton said.
Deaconess and president Rita Johnson, of the church’s prison ministry, said she has many friends, family members and those related that have spent time in the prison system. She thought it only fitting to be a part of a group to give aid to those in need.
“I know how hard it is on the person, the children, the family and the community,” Johnson said. “It’s a vicious cycle and we want to do anything we can to avoid it.”
The president said this is not the first effort the ministry has made to aid those incarcerated. Members of the ministry send letters, monetary donations, personal hygiene items and keep records of their family members for special occasions such as anniversaries or birthdays.
Johnson said in their experiences, those incarcerated are grateful for their gifts.
“They are blessed and we’re blessed as well. As they word says: it’s better to give than to receive,” Johnson said.
Keith Johnson joined the ministry a little over a week ago since attending the church in 2008. Since then, he has been on a trail to help promote the event.
“I joined this ministry to help be an encouragement to someone who has fallen to the system and be a blessing to someone else,” Keith Johnson said.
Minister Hasan Zarif, ordained & renewed prison chaplain, and commonwealth attorney Julia Hutt Sichol will be among the guest speakers on July 13 beginning at 4 p.m. it is a casual dress function and will last until 7 p.m.
The church is located at 7748 Leedstown Road in Oak Grove.