SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, announced a new partnership with Prison Fellowship (www.pfm.org).
More than 2.3 million Americans spent last night in prison. It is a population largely unreached by the Gospel. It is for this reason that Prison Fellowship partners with dozens of Christian ministries to bring the transforming message of Jesus Christ to prisoners across the country through in-prison outreaches known as Operation Starting Line (OSL).
"Prison Fellowship's partnership with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference as a Strategic Partner marks a historic moment for our ministry, and we don't take this occasion lightly. We are proud to announce our collaboration with America's largest Hispanic Christian organization, and are greatly humbled by the host of opportunities this relationship will afford us," said Garland Hunt, Prison Fellowship President.
"This partnership will not only allow us to focus our efforts to reach and engage more Hispanic churches, but to also increase our ministry to touch the hearts of Hispanic prisoners and their children, an estimated 20 percent of our total outreach," Hunt said.
Garland Hunt continued, "We are thankful that doors have been opened that will allow us to heighten our outreach to our country's largest ethnic population. We know our relationship with NHCLC will reap great fruit, and we pray this is the beginning of a relationship that will blossom perennially to touch generations and transform lives for many years to come."
Prison Fellowship is a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by former Nixon aide Charles Colson. Colson was incarcerated for Watergate-related charges and could not forget those he had left behind prison walls. He launched Prison Fellowship to give prisoners the opportunity to experience the radically transforming power of Christ that he had already experienced. Prison Fellowship's mission is to seek the transformation of prisoners and their reconciliation to God, family, and community through the power and truth of Jesus Christ.
To best accomplish this mission, Prison Fellowship has created a holistic model called Transformational Ministry, which draws upon a number of coordinated and complementary programs and services including equipping and empowering local churches and volunteers to reach out to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families with the love and hope of Christ. Prison Fellowship's programs and initiatives include Angel Tree, Justice Fellowship, InnerChange Freedom Initiative and Operation Starting Line. BreakPoint commentary, by Chuck Colson, airs each weekday on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people.
Since the birth of Prison Fellowship 33 years ago, God has brought PF to the edge of great challenges that, from a human perspective, have threatened to engulf them. Instead, God opened up unimaginable vistas of opportunity to minister. One of their crowning initiatives is Angel Tree—which helps the Church coordinate a program within their church to give children in their community Christmas gifts on behalf of their incarcerated parents.
"Today, there are 2.3 million inmates in America's prisons, many of them moms and dads. That means thousands of innocent children, approximately 1.7 million, who are orphaned by our justice system. Since 1982, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree® program has committed to serve as many of these children—forgotten victims—as God would provide. Prison Fellowship, together with NHCLC, will be equipped to reach 60,000 Latino children this Christmas. We are very excited about that," Hunt concluded.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the NHCLC, which represents over 16 million Hispanic Evangelicals, said, "We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity to align our ministries, standing committed to reaching hurting and broken people—people who are incarcerated and whose families and children have been left behind and alone. We are grateful for Garland Hunt and Prison Fellowship's heart to reach out to the Hispanic community and we look forward to reaching out to this community together."
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 16 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference