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21 Rikers Island Inmates Dedicate Their Lives to Jesus During a Hillsong NYC and Prison Fellowship Event

07-28-2019

In early July, Hillsong NYC and Prison Fellowship combined efforts to lead a “night of hope” at Riker’s Island prison, in which they evangelized to the prisoners at the detention center.

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The evening, which was centered around a night of worship, was put on by around 35 volunteers from Hillsong NYC and the prison ministry. During the event, they talked with 43 inmates, of which 21 dedicated their lives to Jesus.

Jennifer Lowrey, the senior director of programs and special events for Prison Fellowship told the Christian post that the event meant a lot to her personally because her own parents did time at Rikers when she was little.

“It just moved me so much. The guy right next to me couldn’t stop crying. It was amazing to see,” Jennifer Lowrey told The Christian Post.

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One of the songs the prisoners listened to was “Another in the Fire” by Hillsong United.

“It just moved me so much. The guy right next to me couldn’t stop crying. It was amazing to see,” Lowrey added.

Bringing the Word of God to Riker’s

Last year, 209 Hope Events were held in detention facilities all over the country.

Prison Fellowship, who leads the “Hope Events,” hosts one-day and two-day events in prisons and detention centers across the United States, where speakers, musicians, and volunteers share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with inmates.

According to their website, Prison fellowship works to reach inmates and to “share the real, living hope of the Gospel with people who long for its power to make them new.”

The Hope Events are curated in order for inmates to have a chance to respond to God, and “take the next step of joining a faith community behind bars.”

“I think the thing that moved me on a personal level was that I am so grateful that we have an opportunity to bring hope into places like Rikers,” Lowrey told the Christian Post.

“At the same time, it makes me really sad because when I see the guys, a lot of times I wish that my dad had somebody to intervene and do that for him. You wonder, what if someone had been able to be there for him at a key point. His trajectory could have changed,” she added.

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Lowrey shared her own story with the Christian Post. As a child, she lived with her grandparents, as they were her legal guardians. One day her parents tried to kidnap her, which resulted in their imprisonment at Riker’s Island Prison.

“The thing I’m really grateful for is that the Lord has given me an opportunity to kind of come full circle. It really is illustrative of the kind of change that we hope for,” Lowrey said.

The July 3 event was the first event that Hillsong NYC partnered with Prison Fellowship, and it won’t be the last.

“They have been just super excited about finding ways to serve. So they now have volunteers that are coming in, working as volunteers in our [Prison Fellowship Academy] at Rikers,” Lowrey told the Christian Post. “They’re there helping with the Angel Tree sports clinic that’s upcoming.”

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