A weekly support group meeting for those affected by incarceration will launch on Thursday, Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.

A study by Cornell University states that one in seven adults have a close family member who was imprisoned for at least one year.

There are a number of traditional, public and private service agencies that assist in the areas of addiction treatment, housing, food, education and job training, but they don’t address deep-seated issues that affect released prisoners and their families.

Five Stone Media, a 501c3 non-profit organization that uses story to bring hope and healing for people in need of change, has launched a new co-ed reentry curriculum called Lifeblood Reentry Support Groups hosted by churches.

These community-based reentry meetings are meant to help address unmet needs of those affected by incarceration.

Ministry volunteers use shared-experience videos of formerly incarcerated individuals, along with discussion groups to help participants explore post-incarceration emotions such as guilt, rejection, judgment, anger and isolation as well as understanding of personal value, how to resist negative influences, how to connect with healthy influences, decision-making, spiritual support and re-assuming a role in the family. Meeting locations also provide a connection point for reentry resources and fellowship.

“This is an excellent example of what can be done by those who are ready to move forward with their lives in a positive, productive manner,” said John R. King, retired Assistant Commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The curriculum is broken down into nine ‘Lifeblood Themes,’ that all play an important part on the path to transformation: Family, influence, hope, power, who am I, second chances, loyalty, doing the right thing and transformation. Five Stone Media has produced this 2-minute tour video as an introduction to Lifeblood

About 1,000 men and women have participated in the Lifeblood video-based group curriculum in correctional and reentry facilities. The curriculum was first launched at the Stillwater Prison in Minnesota to about 30 men in 2015. Since then, over 30 groups have launched in correctional facilities and rehabilitation centers across Minnesota, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Louisiana and even in Australia. There are currently 12 active Lifeblood Reentry meetings in Minnesota.

This one-of-a-kind program has proven results and earned national respect. More than 90% of participants surveyed self-reported improvement or growth in the Lifeblood theme areas.

“I’ve completed all the programs that prison has to offer,” said William, who received a 33-year sentence for second-degree homicide and first-degree sales of narcotics. “None of them touched my life the way Lifeblood has. The Lifeblood movement is guiding me in defining my values and discovering my ultimate vision and purpose. Instead of clinging to the past, I’m determined to make positive use of the hard lessons that I’ve learned.”

 “We believe that the local church is the ideal place for people to find support for these unmet needs,” said Lee Bailey-Seiler, Curriculum Project Manager. “We pray that families in need will be able to find transformation and reentry support through a local church in any community and that they will find a church home,” Bailey-Seiler said.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church is located at 825 Golf Ave. SW., Pine City, MN  55063.

To learn more, contact Group Coordinator Jim Koppen at jmkoppen@gmail.com.

(1) comment

Larry Rose

So what is this group doing for those that were criminalized? Seems like todays focus is about those who committed crimes rather than those who have been victimized and in some cases left with feelings of uselessness

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