WELCOME TO IPCA
The International Prison Chaplains Association welcomes you to its Worldwide website. We exist to provide support and encouragement to prison chaplains everywhere, and to engage in advocacy on prison-related issues.
We invite you to visit the various pages and if you are a prison chaplain, to join us – membership is free. There are a number of ways you can connect with your colleagues in prison ministry around the world. You can also visit the websites run in our various regions worldwide.
As prison Chaplains around the world we share in this ministry together. If you have any suggestions for improving this website we welcome your ideas. Feel free to contact our President David Buick.
A Christmas Message from President David Buick
Thinking about the Christmas story this year, I’ve been struck by how the birth of a baby is such a disruption – a creative disruption! A baby’s needs force changes to our routines and in doing so, make us start considering our own lives from a new perspective.
The birth of Jesus brought the shepherds away from their jobs, down from their peer group in the fields, into the town, into contact not just with the Christ Child but also a whole range of other people. It brought them out of isolation and got them thinking about much wider issues than their immediate concerns. The encounter changed their entire outlook – for the better.
For many inmates, the sudden change of circumstances brought on by arrest and imprisonment is also a disruption, and thus an opportunity to start thinking about some of the bigger questions in life. Immersed in their day-to-day lives, they may have had little time, opportunity, or inclination to step back and think about where they were going and what was really important to them; now they have!
Being locked up, separated from family and friends and from the usual distractions has a way of bringing those issues to the surface. Prisoners come face to face with themselves, perhaps as never before – and in doing so, may start to ask some of the big questions. That’s where we as chaplains come in, supporting them through that process, and on occasion witnessing their own life-changing encounters with Christ.
The global health crisis has made providing that support much more difficult for most of us – and all the more important. Our ministry rarely makes the headlines, but it does make an essential and positive difference; I want to encourage you, wherever you are, that as the apostle Paul reminds us, our ‘labour for the Lord is not in vain’.
Here at IPCA we are doing what we can to serve you in that ministry. In 2021 we plan to host further events online serving different regions in the world, and continue our advocacy for prisoners’ rights within UN structures. The Worldwide Steering Committee will also be doing work in the back office to update our membership arrangements and improve our administrative operations. As health and economic conditions allow, we very much hope that at least some of the Committee will be able to meet face-to-face in 2021, as a first step towards organising a new Worldwide Conference after cancellation of our Bangkok edition in 2020. We’ll also be keeping in touch via the website and social media, and look forward to hearing your stories, suggestions, and feedback.
Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and every blessing in the New Year,
President, IPCA Worldwide
Former IPCA President Rod Moore receives Order of Australia Medal
New Blog Post!
IPCA’s virtual symposium ‘keeps hope alive’
INTERNATIONAL PRISON CHAPLAINS ASSOCIATION
Organisation in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council since 2014
IPCA’s virtual symposium ‘keeps hope alive’
14 November 2020
On 11 November 2020, IPCA held the closing event in its ‘Keep Hope Alive’ virtual symposium: a worldwide webinar that brought together prison chaplains from Nepal to Costa Rica via Australia and Norway. Chaired from Manila by IPCA Asia representative Gerry Bernabe, the meeting marked the conclusion of a series of virtual gatherings in each of IPCA Worldwide’s six regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, North America, and Oceania).
Over 120 attendees followed the closing webinar, which is now available on YouTube. In addition to IPCA’s core community of Christian chaplains from different denominations, the symposium also welcomed chaplains of other faiths, including Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist colleagues.
Keep Hope Alive was an opportunity for chaplains to share their stories of dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on prisoners and on their own ministries. In the face of today’s extreme difficulties, participants were encouraged by the realisation that they were not alone. As one Scottish chaplain attending summed it up: “It was wonderful to be reminded that prison chaplaincy all around the world is essentially the same. We are one big family!”
In addition to grassroots feedback about prisons in the Covid-19 era, the symposium also highlighted IPCA’s role in global advocacy. IPCA’s new declaration on prisoners’ rights to spiritual care amid the health crisis was presented in each regional meeting before being formally adopted in the closing webinar. IPCA’s vice-president Jean-Didier Mboyo (DRC), who heads up the organisation’s UN Team, explained that as a recognised NGO, IPCA will now submit the document to the UN for official publication – and emphasised that individual chaplains can start using it right away: “each chaplain in their country’s prisons is the bearer of the declaration. You are the ones who can take it to your prisons, to your governments”.
The symposium also looked beyond the pandemic to consider wider concerns for prison chaplains: access to research, dealing with high reincarceration rates among indigenous peoples, and coping with violent extremism were just some of the topics raised during the various meetings.
“It’s great to have been able to reconnect with the prison chaplaincy community across the world despite travel restrictions”, said IPCA Worldwide President David Buick. “We now intend to build on that momentum to develop the IPCA community and provide the organisational resources needed for us to continue to keep hope alive.”
A Message from IPCA President, David Buick
IPCA Worldwide Message
IPCA WWSC meeting on 11 September 2020
IPCA’s Worldwide Steering Committee (WWSC) met for the first time under the chairmanship of new president David Buick on September 11.
The meeting marked the next stage in the transition process implemented pending the organization of a new Worldwide Conference. “IPCA normally elects its Worldwide Steering Committee and President at an international conference held every five years”, explains David Buick. “We haven’t been able to hold our conference as planned this year in Bangkok due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so the committee is being renewed on an interim basis in line with our Constitution”.
At the September 11 meeting, held by videoconference, the WWSC co-opted several new representatives: Tim Dixon (UK) replaces David Buick as representative for Europe alongside Susanne Rodmar; Carlos Cunningham (Costa Rica) replaces Dorestela Medina for the Latin America/Caribbean region, and Joanne Klone (Canada) replaces Tom O’Connor for North America. More new reps are expected to be co-opted in the coming months as the mandate of other WWSC members comes to an end.
At the meeting, the WWSC also adopted a declaration in response to plans to reintroduce the death penalty in the Philippines.
Lastly, the meeting discussed plans for an International Symposium to be held by videoconference to coincide with the dates of the cancelled Bangkok conference this November.
“IPCA Worldwide is building a new team to help the organization address the challenges it faces in the immediate future and reconnect with our members and friends worldwide”, concludes David Buick. “The declaration adopted by the WWSC highlights the fact that we are still engaged in advocacy to defend prisoners’ rights, and the forthcoming International Symposium will demonstrate our ongoing commitment to encouraging prison chaplains everywhere.”
On 12 June 2020, a videoconference meeting of the International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA) Worldwide Steering Committee (WWSC) elected David Buick to replace Rod Moore as President. The election follows the resignation of serving President Rod Moore for health reasons