Kairos is called to “change hearts, transform lives and impact the world” and undertakes this mandate through a redesigned Cursillo “short course” that would better meet the needs of incarcerated men and women. The name Kairos was chosen, meaning “God’s special time” and the ministry now includes Kairos Inside [offering a three-day weekend inside the prison], Kairos Outside [offering a three-day weekend for female family members of those incarcerated] and Kairos Torch [ministering to youthful offenders]. The first ever Kairos Inside was offered at Union Correctional Institution at Raiford, Florida in the fall of 1976 [it was then called Cursillo in Prison]; three years later the first “Kairos” weekend was offered.
Today, Kairos is an international ministry with some 36,000 volunteers serving over 400 institutions introducing more than 25,000 inmates and their family members to God’s incredible love each year.
During the initial Kairos weekend, Kairos volunteers serve as God’s instrument through which His love, grace and mercy are expressed to the participants in a real and profound way. God begins changing hearts.
During their weekend experience, participants are encouraged to take responsibility for their life choices and their relations with God; they are invited to engage in small accountability groups with Kairos volunteers continuing to return monthly to provide mentoring and guidance through these accountability groups. It is here that Kairos participants begin to replace old ways of thinking with new and they learn they are not alone on this journey. They realize there is a hope for a future. The prison environment begins to change; family relationships start to heal…..God is transforming lives.
As the Kairos community inside a prison grows and begins to gain influence, the incidences of violence decreases. Participants who are released re-enter the outside world with a God-centered perspective and equipped to become productive citizens. Female family members find support, strength and encouragement. Incarcerated participants who are released re-enter the outside world with a God centered, perspective and focus on becoming productive citizens. Female family members find support, strength and encouragement. Youthful offenders acquire new God centered values and change their direction in life. Families are reunited with a hope for the future.
Several members of Grace by the Sea are presently involved as active volunteers of Kairos, while the congregation in general provides significant prayer support. There are over 17,500 individuals incarcerated in Washington State in twelve different correctional facilities. Our involvement is primarily with the Monroe Correctional Complex holding 2,400 offenders in any one of five different facilities; Washington State Reformatory [WSR] and the Twin Rivers Unit [TRU] being the particular focus of Kairos ministry with which we are involved.
There is always room for more volunteers. Don’t count yourself out; lives are hanging in the balance, and the Lord Jesus can use you to change hearts.