To draw attention to Crossroads Prison Ministry and to share art created by Crossroads’ participants within prisons, North Hills Christian Reformed Church in Troy, Mich., hosted an exhibition in three public showings Sept. 19-20.
Several members of North Hills CRC serve as volunteer mentors with Crossroads, a correspondence Bible study ministry with people in prison. Dan Asma is one of them. He suggested that North Hills host this showcase, which has previously traveled to be displayed in other churches and organizations. Crossroads’ Eliezer Yeong selected 25 pieces for the exhibit from art submitted by Crossroads’ participants. Asma and other North Hills members publicized and set up the show.
Asma hoped the exhibit would help humanize the people who created the art. “They are indeed real people with often difficult stories who are forgiven and able to use their creativity to express themselves and their faith,” Asma said. Artistically inclined inmates, with very limited resources, often respond to their maturing knowledge of the Bible with artwork.
Photographer Jeff Saxsma took photos of the exhibit, which North Hills posted on their website. By making the art available in-person and online, to limit attendees because of COVID-19, organizers wanted to “make more people aware of Crossroads ministry and to get further engagement in the ministry with new mentors, donations, or understanding,” Asma said.
Doug Cupery, Crossroads’ church mobilization director, traveled with the exhibit from the ministry’s office in Grand Rapids, Mich. Asma said Cupery provided meaningful context to the exhibit, sharing stories of how the art came to be and telling of the ministry’s work. His session was also livestreamed for the exhibit’s online audience. Asma said those who heard the facts of incarceration in the U.S. realized the enormous need for this ministry.
The Crossroads website says mentors from churches all over the United States partner with incarcerated people in all 50 states, reviewing their completed Bible study lessons, writing to the students, and encouraging them to grow in their faith and to transform their communities both behind bars and beyond. The ministry also works in several other countries and languages.