Kairos Prison Ministry Australia


Kairos Prison Ministry Australia ABN 55 081 496 175 (KPMA) is a not for profit, charitable public company limited by guarantee, with deductible gift recipient status with the ATO.

The KPMA Board members form the only part of Kairos in Australia that is legally recognised. They are listed on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission records as directors, and are responsible for the conduct of Kairos in all its operations. In short, Kairos in Australia cannot legally exist without a Board of Directors.

Members of the Board are drawn under the Constitution from a broad background, and together are bound to guide what Kairos does, and ensure that it meets all of its corporate obligations from financial reporting to safety and security of volunteers.

The KPMA Board appoints a Chief Executive Officer and a Support Office to carry out functions related to the day to day leadership and management of Kairos, both in Governance and Operations.

The CEO is appointed to:
Be the point of contact for Kairos with outside organisations,
Develop and implement ways of ensuring Kairos operations are consistent and reliable,
Facilitate operation of State Councils and Regional Committees,
Monitor activity and performance of all areas of Kairos,
Ensure harmonious integration with all stakeholders,
Manage income and expenditure, grants and their distribution,
Develop policies and procedures that recognise experience and assist Kairos to grow in effectiveness in all its activities.

Because Kairos is legally constituted it must have a Constitution, which states why it exists, and how it is legally formed to conduct its operations.

The Operations Manual provides guidance about how Kairos works. It provides consistency and stability to a Ministry that is geographically very diverse.

The Code of Conduct and Ethics describes the essential qualities and behaviour of a Kairos volunteer, without which the Ministry would quickly fall into disrepute.

The Finance Manual describes the minimum requirements for compliance with the legal obligations of KPMA.
Regional Committees, and State Councils sign Affiliation Agreements with KPMA to signify that they will comply with legal and other requirements.

KI Regional Committees sign Memoranda of Understanding with the management of each Institution so as to have a clear understanding of responsibilities, expectations and boundaries of operations, and provision of access and resources.

There is also a Manual for each of the Kairos programs, to ensure that the content of the courses is available and followed faithfully by all teams. One of the great strengths of Kairos is its “program integrity”: the fact that the same Kairos program is delivered no matter where the Short Course or Weekend is conducted and no matter what the make-up of the particular team.

No, Kairos Inside courses are deemed to be run in a “domestic” situation as the Correctional Centre is the residents “home”.  Kairos Outside as a general rule functions in function centres/conference facilities and it is the responsibility of the venue to hold the licences to be able to play CD’s etc.  The only time that this varies is if the function is being held in a “Public” place where any person can drop in without registration, at events where an admission fee is charged or if the function is on Kairos premises.

Kairos holds a Church Copyright Licence and a Photocopy licence with CCLI (Australia). This enables us to use and perform any piece that is covered under their blanket licence (up to 200,000 songs.)  Each team/RC is required to report to National Office which songs they are using and how many times they have copied the piece as well as where they obtained the music.

Bank accounts are set up as subsidiary accounts of Kairos Prison Ministry Australia (KPMA). KPMA is a single company with many branches (Regional Committees), and authority to set up an account must be obtained from the National Office in the form of a letter of authorisation to the local Bank. The letter must be accompanied by evidence of KPMA’s incorporated status, as well as Charitable and Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Advice on naming the account and subequent reporting of transactions are contained in the Finance Manual and can be obtained by phoning the National office.

Charitable organisation such as Kairos can only conduct fundraising activities with the approval of the relevant State Government Authority (eg Gaming and Racing in NSW, or Department of Justice, Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading in Tasmania).

Applications to State Governments for licences to raise / solicit funds are made by the National Office because KPMA is a single company. Results of the applications are forwarded to the Chairs of the appropriate State Council.

For KPMA / National Office fundraising, all submissions to trusts and foundations are to be approved by the Chair and Treasurer of the KPMA Board.

Regional Fundraising is arranged and approved by Regional Committees in the local region.

General principles apply, in that:

  1. If a fund raising practice is acceptable in one or more of the mainstream churches it is acceptable in principle in KPMA.
  2. As in many KPMA operational practices, the goal is acceptance, through compromise, from among the spread of Christian beliefs and practices.
  3. Each member shall be left to decide on their personal involvement in fund raising endeavours in the light of their understanding of the gospels, the guidelines of the Kairos Manuals and the practices of their respective church.
  4. The legality applying to any fundraising activity must be meticulously observed
  5. If unsolicited gifts come from known, or reasonably suspected, inappropriate activities or sources they should be returned courteously but firmly.
  6. All fundraising will be in accordance with the KPMA Authority to Fundraise under the Charitable Fundraising Act Authorisations.
  7. The integrity of Kairos Prison Ministry Australia is supremely important: there can be no grounds for public criticism of our fundraising methods.
  8. Publicity in the public media for purposes of fundraising should be avoided, and any questions referred to the CEO.
  9. “God’s work, done in God’s way, will have God’s support.” The work of fundraising in is principally to engage the hearts of donors in His work.

Yes, donations of $2 and over are tax deductible because KPMA is a Tax Concession Charity with Deductible Gift Recipient Status with the ATO. You will be issued with a ‘Gift Receipt’ to verify your donation.

However, tax deductions are not available for items purchased from Kairos, such as T-Shirts, or if a member pays for accommodation or other expenses during a Kairos Event.

Disputes should be resolved wherever possible in the light of the Kairos Values and the Code of Conduct and Ethics. However, if the dispute involves a matter that is not clear, you may refer to the mediation process described in the Operations Manual.

Pending resolution, and in order to protect Kairos’ reputation, Regional Committees and State Councils are able to suspend a person from engaging in Kairos activities if his or her behaviour is considered inappropriate. In extreme cases, volunteers may be removed from the ministry by the Board.

Attending a closing ceremony for Kairos Outside for Women is a simple matter of finding out from the Regional Committee Contact when and where it is occurring and being there to be seated 15 minutes before start time.

For Kairos in prisons and Torch, space is often limited depending on the prison, and Corrective Services usually requires a Criminal Record Investigation to be completed before you can be admitted. You must complete an Application to Attend Kairos Closing Ceremony form and (if required) request this check to be carried out by completing a CRI form and having your signature witnessed by a Corrective Services Officer.

The completed form should be handed to the Course Coordinator about 5 weeks before the event. You will also be given specific instructions about what to do on the day.

People who have relatives in a prison or are on the prison visiting list for an inmate in the prison may not attend a Closing Ceremony in that prison.

It often seems heartless to offer friendship, understanding and the forgiveness of God during a Short Course and Journey Program, but then to be unwilling to provide emotional or other support afterwards.

However, the purpose of Kairos is to form Christian Communities in Prisons. The extent to which Inmates become dependent upon Kairos Team Members for support and encouragement is the extent to which the program has failed.

Also, Kairos is a very specialised program with clear boundaries that have been established to allow its volunteers to focus on what they do best. Becoming involved in visits, sponsoring day release and other worthwhile activities will dilute the focus of ‘representing Christ to prisoners’, and become more of a focus on social and prisoners rights issues.

Please refer also to the KPMA Code of Conduct and Ethics, Section 6.

Inmates are invited by the Chaplain of an Institution to attend a Short Course.

Kairos normally asks the Chaplain (and Case Workers if appropriate) to invite the natural leaders in the prison to be part of the early courses, as they will subsequently have a positive influence on the rest of the prison population.

Kairos does not discriminate amongst prisoners with respect to crime, religious faith, ethnic background or other proclivity.

Participants who have completed a Short Course may not attend another.

The main purpose of Kairos is to establish self supporting Christian Communities, whether in prisons or in ‘Outside’ zones.  These are referred to as Share and Prayer Groups, or SWAP Groups, but essentially engage people in supporting each other emotionally and spiritually, and physically if appropriate and possible.

KPMA policy is that men do not participate in programs in women’s prisons and women do not participate in programs inside men’s prisons. However, the Board is prepared to consider requests by a Regional Committee for exemptions to the policy which are accompanied by a letter from the Chaplain supporting such an exemption and containing evidence of approval by the Governor/Manager of the Institution, and which provide a description of a monitoring mechanism to ensure the ongoing safety of volunteers of the opposite sex.  Opposite gender persons may participate in kitchen teams, as Agape Singers or in flower presentations.


a. These guidelines are designed to give protection and privacy to children when they are invited to write a letter of support to a Kairos program. Children’s letters have a special quality of encouragement, but they also open the children to the possibility of exploitation in the mind of certain offenders in correctional centres. No child should be exposed to such exploitation. The involvement of children in Kairos should only be countenanced in a supportive Christian community where encouragement to grow in faith in God is the underlying dynamic of children’s letters.

b. The aim of letters is to bring support from Christian communities to Kairos candidates. In respect the primary source of children’s letters is from church communities. In the first instance this is a Sunday School where the ministry of Kairos is understood and welcomed by the church.

c. Where letters are invited from day schools, the primary source is from church schools where the invitation to write has the approval of the supervising priest/pastor and school principal as a part of the overall ministry of the school.

d. Where letters are solicited in State Schools it can only be with the approval of Principal and parents. A letter of explanation with a permission return slip is to be submitted to parents.

e. Any Kairos letter from a child is to protect the child’s anonymity, in name, age and school and/or church attended. If a name is on the letter it is to be first name only. No ages are to be noted.

f. Letters are to be short and should be words of encouragement to an inmate rather than about the child, such as favourite sports, pets etc. This is to prevent an inmate from fantasising about the child through his or her self-disclosure.

g. Decorated posters are a recommended substitute for personal letters. Suggestions for simple text can be given, such as “Jesus is our light” or “Go with God”. These can be distributed between Kairos candidates in the same manner as personal letters as well as being posted on a wall. A laminated, coloured place mat is also recommended.

h. These guidelines are to be submitted to all Kairos team members, their churches, and all avenues from where support through letter writing is requested. The Protocol is included in the Manual where the role of Agape is explained.

Bibles for residents can only be given to residents with the approval of the Correctional Institution Chaplain so as to comply with the “Nothing In – Nothing Out” rule.

1. Volunteer Questionnaire Form – (form is available on Kairos National website under KO documents) – Regional Committees may choose to use it or not.

2. Clergy Questionnaire Form –Lutheran sisters are also included. Credentials must be approved by Regional Committee prior to first Team Meeting.

3. General Agape – Regional Committee can decide whether the Guests can take home Agape posters.

4. Personal Agape – Regional Committee can decide where and when agape is to be given out.

5. Special Letter Distribution – Regional Committee to decide whether more than one (1) letter, should be handed out. Experience has told us that the Special Letters need to be limited to the people listed on the Guest Reservation Form.

6. KO Weekend Observation Form – Regional Committee to decide who will be responsible for the completion of that form.

7. Ex-offender as Guest – Regional Committee to decide number and table placement.

8. All female Team Members in Community Room when Guests receive their Special Letter – decided by the Regional Committee.

9. Ex-offenders as Guests or Team Members are not to be called to serve for 1 year after release – Regional Committee to decide if exception is to be made.

A. An ‘add-on’ can be defined as a practice not found in the Kairos Manual.

B. The Board is committed to preserving the long term integrity of the Kairos Programs as set out in the Manuals and used throughout Kairos in Australia. The Board also is open, however, to adjustments over time and the creativity and giftedness of volunteers who deliver the Programs. Through prayer and consideration for the long term health of the ministry, the Board will review over time possible changes to the Courses which are proposed by Regional Committees either for individual Regions, or proposed for the Ministry as a whole.

C. All proposals for change to the content of programs must be addressed to the State Council who will then pass it on to the PSDG Forum.

D. Prior to November 2008, two, or perhaps three add-ons have become practice in certain Regions. The Board has established that it be a decision of the Course Leader in those Regions as to whether the add-ons will be used in their course. The Regional Committee should have authority to approve the add-on for course. A Regional Committee, however, cannot insist a Leader use an add-on.

A. To build a spiritually united team. Team formation prepares the team for the task. It’s primary function is ‘Team Formation’, so that the members of the team can engage with the Short Course or Weekend in unity of spirit, and so that they are familiar with and know what to expect, and able to model the attitudes of our Lord Jesus Christ in complying with the programme.

B. To provide general and specific training to team members. Team training is also undertaken to ensure that nothing ‘unexpected’ happens. For example, it involves security briefing for Inside courses and Relationship Dynamics for Outside Courses to enable team members to know what to expect.

C. Ensure the team is logistically prepared for the course. Team training ensures consistent behaviour and conformance to the course content and guidelines as laid out in the manual, and contributes to Kairos enjoying the trust of the Correctional Officers who are responsible for the custody and welfare of the Inmates.

D. All Short Course and KO Weekend Leaders attend an “Essentials for Kairos Inside  Weekend Training”  or “Essentials for Kairos Outside Weekend Training” (EKIWT or EKOWT), to maintain and preserve the integrity of the Kairos program.

“Nothing in, Nothing Out” is the principal guideline. This means:

1) We do not give anything to an inmate (without the approval of the chaplain and/or prison management)

2) We do not take anything from an inmate

3) We do not take anything into a prison eg, mobile phones, wallets, money, licences (unless required for ID)

4) We do not take in any things or wear any clothing that could become “negotiable” in the prison (even if allowed by management), eg, jewellery

A team member must be able to produce ID on entry to a prison, but may have to leave it at the gate house if not allowed to take in with him or her.

There are heavy penalties for contravening this rule, and Kairos’ reputation would be badly affected if it were breeched.

A Kairos ‘Graduate’ is a person who has completed a three and a half day Short Course and is eligible to attend the Journey Program.

Please see the Operations Manual for a description of the office bearing roles and functions of Regional Committees and State Councils.

The Regional Committee must also include current leader, advising leader and observing leader as ‘ex-officio’ members of the committee.

The purpose of the Journey Program is to provide an environment for spiritual growth, through the development of small prayer and share (mentoring or accountability) groups. These groups are designed to encourage people in prison to become role models and to encourage one another in the light of their inheritance with the Saints in the Kingdom of God.

A. Introduction Kairos in Australia is a fast growing ministry and the Board is mindful of the stress which can arise as we seek to find the right balance between the desires of the volunteers to do their best for the residents, the Chaplain’s commitment to pastor their flock, and the Board’s requirement to discharge its responsibilities.

Among the responsibilities of the Board of KPMA is the provision of a framework within which Kairos volunteers can work which, outside of Kairos, is normally provided by the volunteer’s own local or national church organisation. Kairos is not affiliated with any denomination so must provide this framework itself. The Ministry does so through operating as a Public Company, reaching agreement with the Institutions within which it works, honouring its agreement with Kairos Inc. and providing a safe working environment for Kairos volunteers.

Without any of the benefits of affiliation with a Church in Australia, it is the responsibility of the KPMA Board to manage the framework which has been put in place to enable the Kairos Ministry to operate in Australia. These obligations are the result of framework having been put in place and it is the responsibility of the Board of KPMA to preserve and enhance this framework.

B. The Use of Material in the Journey Program. In the past the US originated, Journey Manual the ‘orange’ manual was intended to be a guide to the conduct on the Journey Program. Since its commencement in Australia the Ministry has accepted other material into the Journey Program. The Board acknowledges the useful material which can be found in programs such as Christianity Explained and Alpha, and has no objection to that, and other material, being used in the Journey Program where it can be used to provide variety, information and enhancement to the thrust of the Journey Manual.

However, the Board’s acceptance of the use of other material in the Journey Program must meet certain requirements. These include:
a. The overall content of the Program must remain under the control of the Regional Committee and the director of the most recently completed Short Course,
b. The Program must continue to be run under the name of Kairos and be subject to the authority of KPMA through its structure of Board, State Council and Regional Committee
c. The Program must honour the wording and intent of the Institutional Agreement
d. The Program and its presentations must continue to be delivered largely by lay, Kairos volunteers

C. Running other ‘badged’ programs as a substitute for, or an alternative to, the Journey Program.  The Board acknowledges occasions may arise where a Chaplain, or even a Regional Committee, may feel the Journey Program as it exists is not appropriate, at the time, in the Institution. The occasion may also arise where it is felt appropriate to present non-Kairos material to the inmates but the conditions set out above to operate within the Kairos framework, cannot be met. Subject to the replacement program being one which is approved by KPMA from time to time, the Board authorises the Regional Committee to suspend the Journey Program, in favour of a KPMA approved program, for an appropriate period. In suspending the Journey Program the Regional Committee should follow the procedures set out below.

a. The NSWSC and the KPMA Board are to be notified in writing
b. The change must have the approval of the Chaplain,
c. After receiving the approval of the Chaplain, the Chairperson of the Regional Committee should visit the General Manager of the Institution and request the General Manager’s permission for the suspension of the Journey Program and approval to run the replacement program. A letter draft to be drawn up explaining KPMA Policy on this matter should be delivered to the General Manager by the Chairperson of the Regional Committee,
d. Kairos Graduates are to be informed the Kairos program is being suspended to enable the replacement program to be conducted,

e. Kairos volunteers are to be informed
i) The Kairos program is being suspended and for how long,
ii) KPMA neither encourages or discourages their involvement in an authorised replacement program,
iii) Existing KPMA Insurance cover will extend to their involvement in the replacement program,

f. People engaged on the replacement program, who have not done Kairos training, need to sign an acknowledgment of the OH &S elements contained in the Kairos Training Program.

g. Internal arrangements within the Prison are to be made in the name of the replacement program, not in the name of Kairos,

h. No funds already raised in the name of KPMA are to be used in support of the replacement program,

i. For the purposes of this section relating to ‘badged’ programs, the Board designates as ‘‘approved’ programs at 6 February 2002, Christianity Explained and Alpha.

D. Conclusion The Board is hopeful the above policy will clarify its policy concerning the Journey Program. The Board has commenced a broader review of the Journey Program and how well it meets the needs of Kairos graduates in the Australian context. When review is completed the Board will review the policies set out above. It has been mentioned in some reports Kairos Inc. in the US is involved in discussions with the Alpha organisation. Kairos Inc has informed us, “There have been discussions whether participation in Alpha would qualify a potential volunteer to be a Kairos team member, but there is no ongoing discussion about us taking over their program.”

Team members may be photographed with their consent, either individually or in groups. No photographs which could lead to the identification of any inside guest are permitted under any circumstances. KO guests who have completed and signed a permission form may be photographed provided that the Regional Committee concerned has a privacy policy acceptable to KPMA.

No child minding arrangements are ever to be entered into on behalf of Kairos.  Children attending Kairos events are at all times to be under the immediate care and control of a parent or legal guardian.

National Office has a presentation pack that contains some useful resources, a dvd presentation that you can purchase, as well as being able to provide you with a supply of current brochures, newsletters and prayer calendars.  When you give your talk, you should use examples from your experience as well as statistical information, being careful to protect any person’s privacy by not using real names or circumstances that will identify them.

Yes, please contact the KPMA National Office on 02 9683 6096 or [email protected] and we will arrange a speaker for you.

The Kairos Board reserves the right to speak for Kairos to the Media, radio, television or newspaper reporters. The Board has authorised the CEO to assign spokespersons or authorise local public communications on particular matters.

Please contact National Office to let us know what invitations have been received (media type, subject, location, coverage etc).

All information about Kairos in Australia must be submitted to the CEO for consideration by the Program Support and Development Executive before it is loaded into any public forum.

The Kairos name and logos can only be used in relation to approved operations and procedures.
No changes to logos are permitted. KPMA uses Kairos Logos under licence from KPMI.

However logos can be displayed in either black and white or in the colour format. (Red for KO, Red and Yellow for Torch and the multicoloured wording for KPMA).

Kairos is a Christian Ministry, and member of teams must be willing to comply with the Code of Conduct and Ethics, the directions of the Course Leader, and to affirm their faith by subscribing to the Nicene Creed.

Kairos Team Members are drawn from graduates of Fourth Day Movement courses – Catholic Cursillo, Anglican Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Crysallis, Tres Dies, etc.

Members of Kairos Outside Teams may also be drawn from previous Guest lists.

It is possible for a person who has not attended one of these pre-requisite courses to join a Kairos Team with the approval of the CEO.

Team members are expected to make their commitment a priority.

This will involve attendance at Team Formation times, attendance during the Short Course, (normally held between Tuesday and Friday), and attending the subsequent Journey Program (normally 2-3 hours per week or fortnight). In all, about 200 hours (including average travelling time) per Short course and Journey Program.

Team members are also able to make a financial contribution to the Regional Committee to enable it to meet the expenses of the Short Course. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Regulations and practices vary across State Correctional Services Organisations. In NSW there is currently no provision for security approvals for “Ex-Imates” to be allowed back into the prison as members of a Kairos Team. However this is possible in South Australia.

It is the Board’s position every effort and encouragement should be given to Kairos graduates on release to first establish themselves in a supportive Christian environment but it is unlikely a new Kairos graduate will have the Christian experience and maturity to minister to residents despite their obvious relevant experience inside for 3 – 5 years post release.

Kairos engages only broad-based, mainstream Christian teachings built primarily around Christ’s love. It does not present a Bible Study or try to be a final authority on Christian doctrine. Clergy who participate in Kairos must be willing to support and uphold the ecumenical nature of Kairos.

Persons who serve as clergy on Kairos teams should meet the following qualifications:

1. a. Have received formal training by their respective denominations and be officially ordained or licensed, or
b. Be recognised as ministers of good standing, having approved theological training and being actively engaged in, or retired from, full or part-time involvement in Christian ministry, and

2. Be able to work effectively in an ecumenical environment, and

3. Personally accept and affirm the Kairos Statement of Faith (viz. the Nicene Creed)
The Kairos Short Course Manual provides more detail in Section II

Kairos Short Courses and Weekends are funded by volunteers who donate to Regional Committees in specific prison locations or ‘Outside’ zones.

These donations enable Regional Committee to conduct a Short Course or Weekend, and to provide the necessary resources, equipment, food etc.

Regional Committees also conduct fundraising events in accordance with guidelines set by the KPMA Board.
National Office also conducts fundraising through submissions to foundations and trusts, business lunches and other promotional events, including the distribution of a national Freedom Newsletter quarterly.

Donations are vitally important to the continuity of the Ministry.

The KOW manual states:

Guests must be 18 years or older and may invite a support person(aged 18 years or older) to accompany them on a Kairos Outside weekend.
The manual does not provide any flexibility toward under age or babies attending a KOW weekend. It would also be impractical to attend to the babies needs whilst taking part in the KOW weekend activities.

It could be said that this is perhaps not the right time for someone to attend the weekend but that she could participate in the Reunion and SWAP groups prior to attending the weekend. This way she can make friends and get the support she needs until such time that she can get the full benefit of the KOW weekend.

The KOW manual states that babies can attend Reunions with their mothers.
The attendance of children at Kairos Outside for Women activities
Children (ie those under the age of 18 years), with the exception of babes in arms, are not to attend Kairos Outside for Women reunions.

Due to insurance liabilities and child protection legislation, the KPMA Board does not permit Kairos Outside team members to organise child care programs for the families of guests. However, provided they are under the direct supervision of their mothers, children may attend a ‘women only’ Kairos Outside activity such as an informal picnic or a coffee morning.

Regional Committee AGM & Elections are held in October/November each year, (unless State-Council has approved otherwise).

Lots more information is available about AGM’s in the Regional-Committee-Handbook section titled ‘9.5 Annual General Meeting and Elections’

Note: Amendment to RC Handbook amendments likely to be implemented in late 2021.
the new committee takes over on 1 January after a thorough handover and after existing treasurer has completed their work and sent reports and documents off to KSO for audit

Note: Amendment to RC Handbook likely to be implemented in late 2021.
– KSO approval not required to move AGM away from Oct/Nov
– KSO should be notified if AGM is moved away from Oct/Nov

Regions are responsible to obtaining/maintaining all of their computer equipment.

However KSO will happily purchase and deliver refurbished laptops at significant discount.

KSO will:

  • discuss which the type of computer needed
  • Receive/Pay-for/Install software if agreed
  • Deliver computer to region
  • Bill the region (cost price only)
Categories: All Documents, FAQ, Resources

Join Newsletter

If you would like to find out more about Kairos or to sign up to receive our email newsletter, please fill in your details below.