Beacon of Hope House (Romans 12, Issue 266)
Beacon of Hope House
Beacon of Hope House, a ministry of Kailua United Methodist Church, Kailua, Hawaii, is a transition house for women released from the Women's Community Correctional Center. The vision of Beacon of Hope House is not only to help parolees make their transition into the community, but also to serve as a teaching model to be replicated by other churches.
The name, Beacon of Hope, comes from two streams of light. The first beacon of hope flows from a loving home of transition for women parolees who need a refuge to go to upon their release from the correctional center. It makes such a difference for women to know that a place exists for them, when they cannot return to situations that hinder a new life. A second ray of hope goes forth with the women who carry this love and dedicate themselves to be beacons of hope wherever they go.
Among the core values held deeply by Kailua United Methodist Church is the concept of “ohana.” In Hawaiian culture, this refers to a special relationship of family. This idea of family extends beyond one’s blood relatives. It involves an intentionality to embrace others, so that all are remembered and none are left behind. In this sense, great affinity exists between “being the body of Christ” and being ohana for one another.
This explains, in part, a convergence of visions that God placed on the hearts of three people, which drew many more.
Mark Patterson, warden of the local Women’s Community Correction Center, sees the role of the correction center in a unique way. He believes that time in the facility should provide an opportunity to heal, to forgive oneself, and to intentionally live a forgiven life. Many of the women end up in the center out of other painful experiences or difficulties in loving themselves, so that is a significant factor that needs attention.
Daphne Ho'okano, a former inmate of the correction center, found fresh perspective and a new calling while incarcerated. In an interview, she candidly explained, "Anybody can do prison time, but it's what you do with your time in prison that counts. It helped guide me, brought back all my morals and values that my parents instilled..." She had a vision of becoming a mentor and supporting other women who were being paroled. She is now the program facilitator/peer specialist at the Beacon of Hope House, and she is working on a master’s degree to prepare herself even more for leadership.
The Rev. Sam Cox, pastor of Kailua UMC, who spent many years in social justice work, visited the prison to speak with women there and to provide support along with other Kailua church members. He had felt a need to find a way to help prisoners transition well. Conversations led to Sam meeting Daphne, and that was the catalyst for dreams to become reality. Sam’s home was for sale, but instead he decided to give his home to the church for a new ministry called “Beacon of Hope House.” The Rev. Cox says that the women of Beacon of Hope House volunteer in the community, and that factor contributes to the success of the house. “One of the best things that can happen is helping others — that’s the miracle of healing, and that’s been true in all of the projects I’ve been involved in,” he said.
To learn more about Beacon of Hope House and to hear moving reflections of women blessed by the house, visit http://www.beaconofhopekumc.org.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Does your community have a jail, prison, or detention center? How might learning more about Beacon of Hope House spark visions for new outreach ministry within your congregation or among multiple congregations in your area?
- What possibilities do Jesus’ words “I was in prison and you visited me” inspire in you?
Produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture in growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
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