Before visiting prisons, legendary slide guitarist Bryn Haworth had no idea about the church behind locked doors.
‘It started in 1990 with a “nagging” Bible verse,’ recalled Bryn, in concert at CRE 2018 (3pm, Wed 17 Oct). ‘Matthew 25:36 says “When I was in prison you visited me.” I discovered brothers and sisters who had simply got into trouble and needed help.’
That first exploratory visit developed into the Music in Ministry Trust with Bryn and wife Sally reaching dozens of prisons across the UK.
‘Prisoners are starved of resources – books, song books, music equipment, people to talk to and pray with them,’ said Bryn, now 70. ‘It has been shown that inmates who maintain healthy contact with the outside world are six times less likely to reoffend. And prisoners specially respond to the blues!’
At the end of a recent service in Wandsworth Prison, three men came forward saying they needed forgiveness for what they had done.
‘They had real urgency on their faces,’ said Bryn. ‘It was wonderful to pray with them and see the relief on their faces.’
He is well aware that not everyone is called to work in prison but he will be at CRE to show visitors how they can pray, read the biographies of ex-prisoners, use the Fine Cell web site for Christmas shopping, or even eat at The Clink Restaurant! There is one inside four prisons in the UK – Brixton, Cardiff, High Down in Surrey, and Styal in Cheshire. The restaurants train prisoners in culinary skills to help them find work on leaving prison.
Visitors to CRE will also find out how they can join The Welcome Directory and learn how to help ex-offenders turn their lives around.
Bryn and Sally will be on Stand E3 at CRE 2018
Bryn will be in concert in Cindy’s Bar (3pm, Wed 17 Oct)