A Charis weekend in a prison is centered around 13 talks by clergy and lay volunteers over a three-day period. Talks focus on living the Christian life, based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The motto of Charis is “Listen, Listen, Love, Love.” Careful listening and unconditional loving are perhaps the two most important skills of team members. A weekend includes music and singing, worship, small group sharing, prayer and an Act of Remembrance service. At most Charis weekends, team members spend approximately 12 hours at the prison each day and are housed overnight in an area church or motel.
During the weekend, the retreat follows a defined progression and purpose:
- Thursday night is a withdrawal from the outside world. It is a time to look at ourselves and examine ourselves – a reflection time.
- Friday is the time to proclaim the message – living the Christian life through goals, grace, the church and spirituality.
- Saturday is a time of transition from simply existing as a Christian to acting as a Christian. We look at the figure of Christ through study, sacraments, apostolic action, obstacles to grace, and leadership in the Christian community.
- Sunday focuses on our presence in the world and our relationships with each other. We examine how Christ wants us to live in the world through environment, a life in grace, the Christian community in action, the security of this new life and the 4th Day, our life after the weekend.
Post weekend activities
The Grand Reunion
Four to six weeks after the completion of a weekend, participants are gathered for a Grand Reunion in order to offer continuing support for the inside residents.
Charis Monthly Reunion (Ultreya)
The Charis monthly reunion is a gathering of the inside residents with Charis volunteers. It is open to all residents of the institution who wish to attend. A reunion usually lasts for two hours and is held monthly or bi-monthly on a regular schedule. Institution residents and volunteers come together to worship, hear both inside and outside witness talks, sing and pray. Volunteers working on Charis weekend teams commit to attending these monthly reunions for the twelve months following the weekend retreat.
Team applications are being accepted and may be sent either to our email address or post office box listed below.
Charis of Minnesota Inc.
P.O. Box 102
Hopkins, MN 55343