Currently, 15 local affiliates oversee approximately 400 volunteers ministering on a weekly basis to more than 2,000 men, women, and teens in 60 plus correctional facilities in PA. As a result of recent strategic planning, added emphasis is being placed on increasing the number of volunteers and the number of in-prison and aftercare ministry opportunities. At present, all our staff is parttime and we are operating on a budget of less than $40,000. God has truly bless our ministry.
Yokefellowship Prison Ministry grew out of a post World War II “movement” started by Dr. Elton Trueblood, an eight generation Quaker, nenowned author, speaker and theologion (1900-1994). (See History) His vision of “horizontal fellowships cutting across existing religious lines,” for the purpose of spiritual renewal, led to the formation of small covenanted groups committed to spiritual self-discipline. In 1949, after meditating on Matthew 11:25-30, Trueblood named these groups “Yokefellowships,” a Biblical synonym for practicing Christians. The message is “to be a Christian you must be yoked with others because you are yoked with Christ.” The movement grew and in 1955, after speaking at a conference of prison chaplains in Washington DC, the door was opened to take Yokefellowships into two federal penetentiaries. Their success led to the incorporation of Yokefellowship Prison Ministry. Trueblood’s “movement” continued through the formation of Yokefellows International in 1952.
The call to “yoke ourselves to Christ and to one another” through small groups behind prison bars was so powerful and our leadership so committed that more than 50 years later Yokefellowship Prison Ministry is still ministering effectively using the same signature approach that Trueblood modeled: small groups demonstrating: commitment, discipline, ministry, and fellowship.
YPM is a 501(c)3 federally-tax exempt “umbrella” nonprofit organization that oversees local affiliates known as Area Councils. Each Area Council recruits, trains, and assign volunteers to local ministries. Volunteers serve in federal, state, and county correctional facilities as well as youth detention centers, work release programs, recovery programs, and Community Correctional Centers.
Another Yokefellowship prison ministry, a descendent of the same Trueblood movement, is thriving in North Carolina. Though we have not interfaced in decades, if ever, our ministry approach is identical – a reflection of our strong roots and Biblical foundation, and the ever-present guiding hand of God upon our ministries. YPM of North Carolina