Christ UMC Celebrates Restorative Justice Sunday

Date Posted: 3/7/2011

Where else but in God’s house would you find prison inmates, preachers, guards, prison employees, volunteers, church members and families – with 4  to 70 year olds ­­– all sitting down together in fellowship and reveling in the joyful spiritual freedom that God provides? That’s exactly what happened at Christ United Methodist Church of Sugar Land on February 6, as they celebrated Restorative Justice Sunday.


Three inmates from the Carol Vance unit traveled from the prison and gave testimonies during all four of Christ Church’s worship services. They passionately spoke of how God has changed their lives with the help of Christ Church volunteers who facilitate the many programs held at the Carol Vance Unit.  Programs such as Alpha, Disciple, Toastmasters and Kairos heal and restore the inmates and give volunteers the chance to witness God’s power in action.


Christ Church’s Senior Pastor, Morris Matthis says, “Restorative Justice Sunday is one of the highlights of our year. It seems like whenever the guys come, God shows up in surprising and powerful ways. They are a blessing to our congregation.” 


Also that Sunday, “ex-Carol Vancer” Larry Williams Sr., sang songs from his recently produced CD and gave thanks for all the blessings he has received since his experience through the Carol Vance Unit and the InterChange Freedom Initiative (IFI).


IFI is a Reentry Program started by Prison Fellowship in 1997. This Christian based program for incarcerated men and women helps them find true healing through Christ and the Gospel. The mission of IFI is to create and maintain an environment where change may take place and to foster respect for law and the rights of others. In Texas, the average rate of recidivism – relapsing into criminal behavior –is approximately 52 percent. The rate at Carol Vance is 8 percent.  God is changing lives!

After the worship services, everyone went to the “Build Your Own Burrito” luncheon where several ex-inmates and volunteers got the chance to share their stories.


Christ Church member Betty Waedemon leads a team of nearly 50 volunteers to help with Alpha and Disciple classes not just at Carol Vance, but also at the Central Unit, Jester 3, Hobby Unit in Waco, Derrington Unit and Carol Young prison for women. 


Betty says “It is such a privilege to witness men and women who are working so hard with God’s help to change their lives and those of their families, and in turn, it blesses me and my family”


For more information on taking a Freedom Walk Tour and learning about this powerful ministry, please contact Betty at or 832-755-7761.