Kairos Prison Ministry Australia

Kairos Prison Ministry Australia appoints new Board Chair

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When you’re at your most hopeless, where do you turn? Who will listen and love you, no matter what you’ve done? These are just some of the emotions incarcerated individuals and their families are feeling and the questions they’re asking. As Christians, we know we can find this in Jesus, but most of Australia’s 41,000 incarcerated people don’t know the hope of Christ.

This is where Kairos comes in.

Kairos Prison Ministry Australia is an interdenominational Christian ministry whose volunteers reach out to incarcerated individuals and their families to bring meaning and hope in places of loneliness, isolation and despair. Kairos volunteers come from all different denominations and put aside any theological differences to work for the purpose of the gospel!

Since 1995, Kairos has sought to build Christian community in Australia’s jails in response to the challenge Jesus issued in Matthew 25:36, that “I was in prison and you visited me”. Kairos is convinced that by loving people in their time of greatest need, we demonstrate the same love that Christ offers to even the most desperate of sinners.

This year, the leadership of Kairos is changing. In late February 2024 longtime Chair of the Board of Directors, Dr Vern Harvey, is stepping down and dedicated Director and Deputy Chair Colin (Col) Stiller is taking up the role of Chair. With a long-time relationship as a volunteer with Kairos and a huge heart for the lost, Col is taking on this new role in an exciting time for the ministry of Kairos.

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Col has a background in education, including having worked as a senior chaplain for the Lutheran Church of Australia. He has a strong passion for spreading the saving message of the gospel of Jesus to those who are generally forgotten in society. As well as his work with Kairos, he also works in a street van ministry and a men’s shed.

Col says, “I am excited to take up the challenge of growing the Kairos Prison Ministry over the next few years. It is a privilege to lead such a unique and valuable ministry to those in prison and their families and friends. I am humbled to be working with such a talented group of people on the Board.”

Col first volunteered with Kairos in 1997, having been convicted of the need for the forgotten and hard-to-reach to still hear about Jesus and see his love displayed. Over the years he’s been involved in many Kairos Inside Short Courses, which see volunteers ministering to those currently in prison.

One thing Col is excited about is inviting new volunteers to join Kairos. There is a great need for the work of Kairos, and as those in prison increase so does the need for volunteers. From 2022 to 2023, Australian prisoners increased by 3%, which represents over 1000 additional people incarcerated. People who need to hear the life-saving news of Jesus along with the female family and friends who are impacted by their imprisonment who are ministered through the Kairos Outside program.

Outgoing Chair, Vern, served as a Director from 2017 and as Chair from 2018 and Executive Chair from 2020 to 2024. His professional background in banking and finance was an asset when managing the ministry throughout the pandemic, and in designing a return to ministry.

Vern says, “It has been a privilege to lead such an important ministry through difficult times with the support of a strong Board and a great team and backed by the many hundreds of volunteers who stayed strong through the challenges of Covid. I stand down with the greatest confidence in Col as Chair and the directors and team supporting him. I look forward to more time to devote to the initiatives we have created for growth in the post-Covid future.”

Having been a volunteer with Kairos since 1998, Vern is looking forward to continuing to serve as a Deputy Chair (Projects).

Col says, “We want to thank Vern and his wife and family for his contribution and wise counsel through these difficult years and look forward to his continuing support in a new role. We are continuing to look for volunteers and encourage anyone interested to go to our website.”

To learn more about how Kairos shares Jesus with the lost and the hopeless, visit www.kairos.org.au/

For more information about this announcement, email [email protected]

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