Prison Ministry: Behind the Bars

Back to Prison Ministry: Programs

The Diocesan Prison Ministry Team has identified several opportunities to minister to those who are currently incarcerated. These programs include:

Prison Worship Services

Members from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Litchfield Park lead five weekly worship services at Perryville Women’s Prison in Goodyear. This service includes music, scripture readings, a brief reflection, prayers of the people, anointing with holy oil, and Eucharist from reserved sacrament.

The prison worship team also holds Saturday morning services at the Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Pedro, San Carlos, and Lumley units at Perryville. Additional volunteers from nearby Episcopal churches are now being sought to expand the team. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and can be male or female. They are required to successfully complete a background check as well as an annual TB test and an online questionnaire before being approved to receive a religious volunteer badge. Volunteers commit to attending at least two services per month for a period of one year and will be paired with an experienced team member for each service they attend.

Contact Deacon Gay Romack or Deacon Kim Crecca at for more information.

Bridges Mentoring Program

In September 2016 the Perryville team began offering a mentoring program called “Bridges” for inmates that have 15 months left to serve. This 8-module program is designed to help these soon-to-be-released women to create the spiritual structure they need to support them when they are released. In addition, life goals and milestones are identified. 

In response to the lockdowns that occurred during the pandemic in 2020, Deacon Gay Romack found an exciting new way to continue contact with those on the inside: Videocasting. In a videocast, participants actually see the person conducting the training as opposed to a podcast where they only listen. The Bridges mentoring program was adapted to make it available on the computer tablets each inmate is issued and approved by the Programming Director for ADCRR. The first cycle of pre-recorded videocasts are now being broadcast and are very popular, especially among individuals who aren’t allowed to take regular programming due to sentencing restrictions. These videocasts focus on 4 mentoring books that are also used for the Bridges mentoring program: Battlefield of the Mind, Pathway to Purpose, Boundaries, and Leaving a Legacy of Faith. The program started with 27 students and has already more than doubled enrollment. Videocasting could be used for existing programs within the Episcopal Church such as EFM classes, Becoming Beloved Community, etc.

The Bridges mentoring programs on the inside now have a sister program, Mentoring Beyond the Gates, for individuals once they have been released.

The team hopes individuals from other Episcopal churches will volunteer to be a part of the worship/mentoring teams at state-run facilities across the state.

Contact Deacon Gay Romack or Deacon Kim Crecca at for more information.

The Sunshine Club

Sunshine Club members send cards, and sometimes letters, to inmates who have requested to receive communications. To protect the anonymity of the sender, a PO Box has been set up to use as a return address. A list is posted to the website each month.

The Arizona Diocesan Prison Ministry Program is now managing the club’s lists and encourages each church in the diocese to form a Sunshine chapter. For more information, check out Sunshine Club page or contact Maryanne at

PenPal Program

If you would like to be matched with an inmate from Perryville Women’s Prison who has requested a PenPal, please contact Deacon Gay Romack at

To download the PenPal Guidelines, Click HERE

Prison Donations (Clothing, Bibles, Books, etc.)

Many prisons accept clothing donations for inmates that are being released. You may not know that inmates must purchase shoes and clothing for their release if donated items are not available. Recently, women at the Perryville Prison who could not afford to purchase shoes were released barefoot because the prison was out of donated shoes. Prison Chaplains will gladly forward lists of needed items to churches who contact them. Used or new clothing and shoes can be brought to the main office at the prison and placed in bins identified for donations. In addition to clothing, prison Chaplains are always in need of Bibles, devotionals, educational books, etc.

For more information contact the Chaplain at a prison facility near your church to find out what might be needed. Click here to view ADC’s list of Chaplains