Most CLF members in prison are new to Unitarian Universalism and learned about the CLF from friends or cellmates. With no access to the web or UU Sunday services, people who are incarcerated can only learn about Unitarian Universalism from the mailings we send them and the letters they exchange with our staff and other Unitarian Universalists like you!
The Worthy Now Prison Network staff matches CLF members who are incarcerated with UUs who live in the free world. For a minimum of six months, you will exchange friendly letters on topics of mutual interest.
The CLF’s Worthy Now Prison Network provides you an opportunity to live out our Unitarian Universalist values by connecting you with a pen pal. At Worthy Now, our message is that all of us are part of the interwoven fabric of the universe. We are deeply and undeniably connected! We acknowledge that while our behaviors can vary from loving to hate-filled acts of disruption and harm, our inherent worth remains unchanged. This Universalist lens is what we hope our Pen Pals enter their relationship through.
Incarceration here in the United States is complex and tainted by white supremacy culture. We choose not to share our incarcerated member’s crime with the general public (though it is readily available online). Instead, we implore our participants to embrace our Universalist heritage and talk about anything else with their assigned Pen Pal. This is an example of where our faith’s “rubber hits the road”! Can we hold multiple truths; our incarcerated siblings may have done horrible things AND they still deserve for us to honor their worth and dignity. The hard truth is that some of us are able to embrace this more than others and thus we encourage you to think hard about why you are signing up. We also encourage you to think about your past and your triggers; Pen Pal writing to incarcerated people isn’t ministry for everyone and that is okay as there are so many other ways to serve.
All letter writers (incarcerated and “free-world”) agree to the same guidelines, which emphasize that our program is not intended for romantic, legal-aid or financial/gift interactions.
Requirements for Participation:
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You must be a member of the CLF or another UU congregation or covenanting community (for six months or more).
- You must affirm you have not been arrested, incarcerated, or on parole or probation in the prior 12 months
- You must read and agree to the guidelines found below.
We are so excited you are interested in the CLF Letter Writing Ministry, and we look forward to working with you as a part of our incredible pen pal team.