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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

3 April 2013: John Callaghan, Life Church Petersfield

Hope in a dark place

Have you ever felt yourself to be trapped, as if you are in a prison? Sometimes life seems to be a locked door, finance, relationships, the boss, the children! Well I have been volunteering in a real prison using a Restorative Justice Programme, helping prisoners to realise what their own victims go through. Did you know that Petersfield has a long tradition of visiting those in prison?

A crazy drunken angry five minutes can lead to incarceration and an unending nightmare of regret. We invite a victim to the group. Her son was kicked to death by a gang as he travelled home from work, late at night, in a London suburb. Through her prison of pain, anguish and despair she chose to forgive and, as a result, she is rescued. In her words 'it's no good drinking poison and hoping it will harm another person!'

She looks each prisoner in the eye and says 'you are not rubbish, you are alive, and if you care about what happened to my son you will turn your life around and live to put something back '. Many are persuaded by her words, to leave the past behind, find hope in the middle of despair and, when they are released, to make a positive difference to the community they settle in.

In their dark prison of self hatred and despair a light of hope has started to burn!

How about you? Could you dare to believe there could be hope in whatever darkness you find yourself in?

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post 3 April; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

Find out more about the activities organised by PACT for childern and young people

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