By Jessica Brodie
BISHOPVILLE, S.C.—Once again, churches helped residents at Lee Correctional Institute experience the joy and love of Christmas.
On Dec. 17, the Rev. Edward R. McKnight, senior chaplain at Lee Correctional and pastor of Faith United Methodist Church in Cades, brought specially prepared lunches to the men incarcerated at the high-security state prison.
It was an intentional effort to exhibit agape love toward these men who are separated from friends and family during the holiday season.
“As believers and the church, we are commissioned to go to those in prison,” Knight said. “As a chaplain it has been a blessing to minister to the men at Lee and to be a part of the plan of God for so many years.”
This year, roughly 20 churches and groups pitched in to help provide the lunches: the Great Commission Ministry; Friendship UMC, Chesterfield; Bethesda UMC; Kairos Ministry; Herbert Thompson Ministries; Faith UMC, Cades; Society Hill Church of God; Cades UMC, Cades; Wesley UMC, Hartsville; Ministries on the Move for Christ; Lake City Circuit, Lake City; Kingstree UMC, Kingstree; St. John Charge; Jeremiah UMC, Hemingway; Kennedyville UMC, Nesmith; Lake Point UMC, Lake City; Manning UMC, Manning; and Mount Zion UMC.
McKnight lifted up Jesus’s words in Matthew 25:31-46 as the impetus behind their loving service toward the men at Lee: “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:37-40 NIV).
He also reminded us of the words of Methodism’s founder.
“John Wesley stated, ‘Let me do all the good I can, to all the people I can, as often as I can, for I shall not pass this way again,’” McKnight said. “Let this be our purpose and mission.”