A Ministry of Presence

February, 2024

Prophets of Hope meets the 4th Thursday of the month @6 pm in the Fireside Lounge.

Next Meeting:

February 22, 2024

Prophet Minutes and News

We had an informative meeting in January welcoming Annie, Jim and Paula. Also, it was good to have Natalie, one of our longtime volunteers, join us.

As we look to the coming year we will be adding a men's faith service at the Main Jail starting in February. For now we will offer this service once a month on the second Sunday of the month @1. Stew will be leading this service primarily in Spanish. Peter will join him when his schedule allows. Bev posted calendars on Googledocs for all of our faith services in the jail and Blaine Street. Please remember to sign up.

Bev reminded folks that if they are offering communion during their faith service the self-contained communion elements are provided by Peace. They can be located in the copying room of the office in the cabinet under the sink. If you need more Bev will bring them to each POH meeting.

Peter inquired about providing a mediation during our 'faith' service in the jails. We discussed the many ways we bring in God's presence in to these spaces. If you have questions or concerns about a program you would like to share, please do not hesitate to reach out to RevBev.

As we anticipate Raneta's move to Idaho, Jane has stepped up to lead the jail lobby ministry. We discussed the program and tentatively have set a start date in March. We plan to be in the lobby on Saturdays instead of Sundays twice a month. Jane will consult with Raneta to continue this vital ministry that was Raneta's vision.

We continue to provide 6 to 12 clothing and hygiene backpacks for indigent women leaving the jail. So far we are doing well with supplies. At some point we may need to organize a fundraiser.

Lisa Hoesing, Peace's moderator, is leading a team to address access for all at Peace. The wider UCC church has a disabilities ministry check-list to make the church accessible to all. Her team meets the third Thursday of the month from 3 to 4 in the Fireside Lounge. If you have any questions or would like to join the meeting Lisa can be reached at

[email protected].

We received letters from our two prayer children in El Salvador. Stew read us the letters. We have supported Santiago and Ana for four years. In the past we have sent graduation gifts and Bev will check with Lisa Johnson about our continued support. The youth are now in 6th grade.

Next month Azra will provide us an overview of the program Wholeality. We look forward to hearing more about it.

Carol, Kathy and RevBev continue to work on the one page resource guide for families of folks who are incarcerated. They are hoping to have it online at the NAMI website and in the jail lobby in February. Trying to obtain the most current and accurate information has been tricky. We recognize how difficult this would be for a family member whose loved one is incarcerated.

On Thursday, February 1st Janus will open their Sobering Center in front of the main jail. It has 15 beds, medical services, and case workers to help individuals who are brought in under the influence. An individual can remain there up to 23 hours; however, the average stay is anticipated to be between 6 and 8 hours.

There are some advocacy opportunities coming up. We do have a couple of members attending the SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) online meetings. Their primary focus at this time is stopping the building of a new 500 bed jail at an estimated cost of $200 million dollars. We all agree this money would be better spent on behavioral health, housing and substance abuse programming. Currently, the sheriff has not made a formal proposal to the Board of Supervisors. Stay tuned.

If you are interested in participating in SURJ or just want to attend a meeting, please email RevBev and she will send out the link.

RevBev will also be sending information to everyone on SB 94 which provides an avenue for individuals who have been sentenced to life without possibility of parole (LWOP) to be released. The average age of a person sentenced in California to LWOP is age 19. This bill does not 'rubber stamp' a release but rather provides a path for individuals to be considered for release after serving 25 years.

In the past few years there has been a strong push for criminal justice reform; however, that trend seems to be slowing down. Even though crime data reflects we have less and less crime the rhetoric would have us believing otherwise. Recently, Santa Cruz City approved the purchase of additional five new drones. The city is also looking to build a 'regional safety training facility' in the area of UCSC (San Jose and Monterey have safety training facilities). Let's stay vigilant as we continue in our ministry to serve those whose lives are impacted by the carceral system.

Stew recommends this book: Houses of Healing: A Prisoner's Guide to Inner Power and Freedom. Thank you Stew.

Have a good February.❤️


Prayers for Michelle as she transitions from an SLE to Gemma.

Prayers for Kevin and those who care for him. Prayers the court and probation find him a safe and healing place for him to be.

Prayers for M. who was released from custody after five years and is being reunited with his family.

Prayers that we take time to educate ourselves instead of living in a state of fear.

Prayers for Violet to receive the resources she needs to thrive. She asks for prayers that she is accepted at El Dorado House.

Prayers for Kevin Garcia as he goes in for treatment for colon cancer.

Prayers for Hugh and the new journey on which he is embarking.

Prayers for Julio as he slowly goes through the court process.

Prayers of healing and transformation for all of our siblings who are incarcerated. May they find that God doesn't require anything of us except to receive this love that will change everything.

God is in the kitchen, sitting quietly over a cup of coffee. God is on the street corner, waiting for the light to change. God is at the pub, watching the Super Bowl. God is in nail salon or barbershop, listening to the latest stories. God is in line at Trader Joe's, purchasing 'Coffee Blast' ice cream.

There is no place where we are that God is not. No moment when we cannot turn to find God available.

We build our sanctuaries more for ourselves than for our Maker, who calls the whole creation home, and moves with ease among us. As ordinary as sunlight, as close as a tender touch on our cheek, right where you would hope to find the holy, just there beside you.