ACT OF REMEMBRANCE POLICY
Because of denominational diversity within our community, Charis conducts the breaking of bread in a way that is affirming to all believers and seekers. Charis agrees on the need for a service which reflects the inclusive nature of Jesus’ invitation to His followers, and which joins the members of the community in a shared remembrance. Therefore, the Act of Remembrance is to remind us of this invitation. It is necessary for team and weekenders to concentrate on the spirit of unity that the remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross means to all those participating. All team members are requested to share in the Act of Remembrance. Because the Act of Remembrance is nonsacramental in nature, it may be conducted by the Spiritual Director, clergy, or a lay person.
COVENANT OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
A) The team for each weekend sponsored by Charis shall be made up of persons who have participated in a Cursillo-method weekend, who have an interest in prison ministry, and who have expressed a willingness to serve faithfully. Team members will be asked to make a one (1) year commitment to participate in Reunions sponsored by Charis following the weekend. Charis teams shall be completely ecumenical in nature, including both lay and clerical leadership. The purpose of this policy is to express the ideal of the unity of all Christians in the Body of Christ, as well as the practical reality that no single denomination would be able to staff Charis teams on a continuing basis.
B) Using the Bible as an absolute standard, team members must embrace and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the teachings of other New Testament writers. Those teachings represent the standard of behavior and the model for all that is done and said in each team members’ daily life and on all occasions when each Charis team member represents Charis.
Charis Prison Ministry of Delta, CO, Inc. (“Charis”) is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Cash and noncash gifts may be accepted by Charis. However, noncash gifts thought to have value exceeding $250.00 may be received only after acceptance is approved by resolution of the Board of Directors of Charis.
Upon request, noncash gifts, including gifts of stock, land, furniture, books, art, etc., will be acknowledged by letter from the Treasurer after approved acceptance, indicating the date accepted and a brief description (a legal description where appropriate) of the gift.
Receipt of cash payments (“Joy of Giving” – JOG) from Charis volunteers will be acknowledged by the Treasurer. Those acknowledgements will be in the form approved by the Board of Directors of Charis.
All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Charis does not assume responsibility for determining the value or deductibility of any gifts for tax purposes. The giver should obtain such information from knowledgeable experts, if tax deductibility is asserted.
Provision of food, cookies, or other consumables by Charis volunteers will not be considered a gift for which a letter of acknowledgement will be provided. Expenses for snacks or meals purchased by individuals for consumption by Charis volunteers will not be paid or reimbursed from Charis funds. This limitation does not apply to reimbursement for meals provided during Charis weekends.
Charis is a group ministry, not a one-on-one ministry. Working spiritually with offenders is our primary focus, and is always conducted within a group setting on Charis weekends, the Grand Reunion and at the monthly reunions.
Charis volunteers who wish to pursue a one-on-one mentoring relationship with an offender after release may do so while an active Charis volunteer only with the approval of the CDOC.
If a Charis volunteer should decide to mentor someone who has been released from prison, the offender must be “off paper” for a least three years under current DOC policy.
CHARIS TEAM SELECTION POLICY
The Servant Leader of the weekend should make every effort to FIRST utilize the people who have made a request to serve. The next priority in filling a team should be to seek new members. Only after these two actions, should the Servant Leader call on previous team members. The Charis Board encourages volunteers to serve for a maximum of three years before taking a sabbatical for one Charis weekend—so that all have an equal opportunity to serve.
It is important to have a good mix of people from different churches and different denominations. This is important so that cliques aren’t formed, and to ensure that denominational practices do not become part of the weekend.
All new team members must have submitted an application form prior to the start of the weekend. During the selection process a mixture of 70% experienced and 30% new team members is desired.
Team Commitment: All team members must be made aware that they are required to attend all team meetings as well as monthly reunions for the year following the weekend. If team members know that they cannot make this commitment they should request an exemption from the Board of Directors.
Team Training: The Charis team training and CDOC/DCC training are mandatory training. It is important that all know the rules, even those who have served many weekends. If a team member misses this training, the Liaison or Servant Leader must insure that that person receives the necessary training.
It is recommended that all team members have attended a three-day Cursillo-type weekend before serving on a team.
All first-time Charis volunteers should be assigned an experienced team member for mentoring, usually his team sponsor.
OFFENDER CONTACT POLICY
It is Charis policy to strictly adhere to Colorado DOC policies regarding contact with offenders prior to and after release.
The following is a summary of current DOC policies and is intended for clarification purposes only:
Prior to Release: Contact between volunteers and offenders is only appropriate at the prison within approved areas. There is to be NO written or telephone communication between a volunteer and an offender, or an offender’s family. If contact is received, it must be reported to the Chaplain at the institution via the Liaison. A volunteer may not be on an offender’s visiting list. A volunteer may not give or receive anything from an offender or their family—including phone numbers. Any attempt on the part of a volunteer to visit, write, communicate, send gifts or money to an offender, offenders’ friend, or offenders’ family will result in suspension or termination as a volunteer. Insiders requesting any outside information, aftercare assistance, or referrals, etc. should be referred to the Chaplain.
After Release: No contact is allowed for three years after an inmate is released and officially “off paper”. Should contact occur it should be reported immediately to the Liaison to determine if this has been a violation. Incidental or accidental contact (seeing someone or running into someone accidentally) should be reported, however it may not be a violation. Intentional contact via mail, phone, email, and through third parties should be reported immediately and most likely would be a serious violation. Consequences (depending on the specific situation) for Charis volunteers may include loss of volunteer privileges with Charis and volunteer privileges within the prison system. Liaison, Servant Leader, and Board members are required to bring any reports of possible contact violations to the attention of the Chaplain of the institution for review and possible action.