In November 2015, Tom Zeager tasked me to carry out a mission that he had long envisioned as being of vital importance to those incarcerated at Lancaster County Prison or those other correctional facilities maintained by other counties surrounding it.
That mission embodied the call set forth in Matthew 25, a clarion call, that Jesus Christ enjoined all who would be His flock to answer and live out. Simply stated, His injunction to minister to those who are the least among us.
Justice & Mercy understood that all too often the very least in our society, those whose lives are lived in emotional or mental pain, poverty and despair, are those very same individuals who oftentimes find themselves in trouble with the criminal justice system, resulting in their incarceration. And Justice & Mercy also understood that all too often these very same individuals would experience the divide which exists between having financial means to afford legal representation to effectuate “Justice” or not.
The gap which exists between the “fortunate” and the “unfortunate” has widened considerably over the past decade or more. So many languishing in Lancaster County Prison or other such facilities outside Lancaster County are largely forgotten or ignored by the criminal justice system, left for many months on end without hope or even rudimentary representation delivered in a timely manner. It is this gap or void that Justice & Mercy has tasked Matthew 25 to bridge or fill.
To that end, and with Justice & Mercy’s unqualified and unmitigated support, I have become the face of Justice & Mercy to those inmates and administrative staff at Lancaster County Prison and outside it. Justice & Mercy’s Matthew 25 ministry has established a significant footprint at Lancaster County Prison, visiting inmates on a Monday through Thursday weekly basis, each week of each month.
Additionally, on any given day of each week, whether during the day or evening, Justice & Mercy’s Matthew 25 ministry fields phone calls, emails or texts from inmates, their families or friends. The core principle of its ministry being embodied in Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question, “Rabbi, what is the greatest Commandment of all”, to which Jesus replied, “Love thy neighbor with all your heart”. And Matthew 25’s mission attempts to follow His words by ministering to their needs, whether physical, emotional, psychological or otherwise to shepherd them through both the criminal justice system as well as its penological component.
As benefactors of Justice & Mercy, and specifically its Matthew 25 mission, I want you to know that your Christian love and generosity allows us to not only continue our ministry but also to expand it exponentially, reaching out to still more and more inmates and their families who would otherwise have no voice or advocate for them in the legal and penal arena.
I want you to know that your largesse or your sacrifice allows Matthew 25 to assist so many inmates and their families in innumerable ways such as providing timely assistance with legal representation (legal aid for prisoners), advocating for proper and timely public defender representation, intervening with Lancaster County Prison staff to resolve inmate medical or mental health problems, making prison visits, advocating for improvement of prison conditions or assisting with reentry placement for those inmates to be released (reentry programs for inmates). The breadth and scope of Matthew 25 is constrained only by its financial ability to sustain its efforts, which is why each of you who so contribute are allowing Matthew 25 to have an impact and to make a real difference in the lives of so many among us who are so far less fortunate.
I thank each of you who have already opened your hearts to Justice & Mercy’s Matthew 25 ministry and ask that you prayerfully consider to continue your generous support. And I ask each of you who have not yet made that commitment to prayerfully reflect on doing so. Your support is the only means by which Matthew 25 can continue its ministry to those who are indeed the least among us.
The face of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is found on the visage of each inmate. Do we look away and go on with our personal lives completely ignoring Christ’s admonition to truly see Him on the faces of our fellow human beings or do we seek to die to ourselves in service to Him and our brothers and sisters so less fortunate? The question is profound, but not difficult to answer. We are called to action to love one another and to serve Christ Jesus. By supporting Matthew 25’s ministry we can do no other.
Thank you for your support, and God bless you and your families.
Kenneth G. Reidenbach, II
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Inmates and families of inmates can contact Ken directly to request visits:
P.O. Box 187
Hopeland, PA 17533