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Offenders read Gospel

14 December 2012

By a staff reporter

A YOUNG Offender Institution is holding a sponsored read of St Mark's Gospel for Age UK.

A dozen inmates at Swinfen Hall, near Lichfield, which houses young male offenders who have received long sentences, are carrying out the sponsored read.

They have set up an online donation page, which explains: "We, as a group of Christians in Swinfen Young Offenders, want to put what we have learned in our Bible studies into practice. We want to make a gift to those who struggle over the winter months this Christmas."

The sponsored read was the idea of a new curate, the Revd Doug Heming, who is spending one day a week as part of his training with the chaplain at Swinfen Hall. "The only thing these prisoners really have to give back at the moment is time; so they are doing that to raise money to give to Age UK . . . We are reading four chapters once a week, taking it in turns to read a verse each, and stop and have a discussion.

"It may not sound a lot, but the reading and sitting still for 90 minutes is a challenge in itself to some of these young people. By the end of Advent, they will have read the whole of a Gospel." He said that the group included one offender who was baptised a month ago.

Mr Heming was ordained this summer, and serves the parishes of Ashley and Mucklestone, near Market Drayton.

As of Tuesday night this week, the sponsored read had raised £85. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/swinfen-hall-advent-read.

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