Some 21 inmates came forward during the event’s altar call to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hillsong NYC and Prison Fellowship joined with inmates in New York for a night of hope as part of the “Hope Events” initiative.
According to The Christian Post, the event took place July 3 and included about 43 male inmates at the Rikers Island detention center.
Around 35 volunteers from the megachurch and some affiliated with nation’s largest evangelical prison ministry engaged with 43 male inmates from the city’s main jail complex during a worship event held in a Rikers Island gymnasium.
The event featured live music from Hillsong NYC’s worship band and Chris Davenport, of Hillsong United. The night also featured testimony from one member of the Hillsong NYC band and message of hope from Prison Fellowship field director Jose Negron.
Some 21 inmates came forward during the event’s altar call to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, said Jennifer Lowrey, Prison Fellowship senior director of programs and special events.
“It has an amazing lyric about not being alone and about how Jesus is our other person in the fire with us,” Lowrey said of the Hillsong United song, “Another in the Fire.”
“I was standing back next to the men so I could see the lyrics. … I just couldn’t stop crying,” she said.
“It just moved me so much. The guy right next to me couldn’t stop crying. It was amazing to see.”
Lowrey’s parents had previously been detained at the detention center.
“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 CP. “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.”
The night was part of Prison Fellowship’s “Hope Events” initiative in which the nonprofit hosts one and two-day evangelism events in hundreds of prisons across the nation each year. At these events, speakers, musicians and volunteers convey to inmates the hope they have found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
According to Prison Fellowship, Hope Events give prisoners a chance to respond to Christ and “take the next step of joining a faith community behind bars.” The events normally are held outside prison chapels because they are designed to engage inmates who wouldn’t normally attend chapel programming.