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IPCA exists to provide support and encouragement to prison chaplains in Europe and the Middle East, and to engage in advocacy on prison-related issues


Report on IPCA Europe Committee Meeting - Oslo October 2019

Human beings have incredible value

As we gathered together as the IPCA (Europe) steering committee in Oslo this autumn we were reminded time and again of the importance of seeing value in each other. Over the 72 hours that we were together we visited two prisons, talked with prison staff, prisoners, prison managers, attended a lecture and discussed plans for the IPCA 2022 Quinquenial conference. Arriving together on Monday we felt that we needed an algorithm to see us through, but in considering the people we met, we realised how much more valuable people are then any algorithm. This report reflects the glimpse we had of the valuable people we met.

The Prison Chaplains

We in the committee are all prison chaplains ourselves; from Ukraine, Norway, Germany, Sweden, and England. However the opportunity to meet Prison Chaplains serving in their home prisons, trying to see through their eyes was a real privilege. I am always reminded when I meet prison chaplains how extraordinary they are. In Halden Prison we heard of chaplains running programmes of retreat – 4 weeks of silent retreat with 8 prisoners based on Ignatian principles – pastoral supervision of staff, and taking the prophetic opportunity to be involved in shaping a rehabilitative culture. Our tour of Bastøy prison was led by Terje, one of our committee who is chaplain there. His approach to staff, prisoners and the prison ethos was characteristic of a priest who understands his people and the possibilities found in them. Both prisons were remarkable: Halden emphasising ‘Punishment that works, change that lasts’; Bastøy ‘an arena for developing responsibility’; Halden, with its image of someone desperate to get rid of the chain they are tied to ; and Bastøy with its incredible pastoral beauty. In both of these environments, one built and one used to its natural potential, chaplains continue to demonstrate value to those with whom they work.

Nordic prison chaplaincy and prison ministry conference November 2019

It is with the greatest pleasure that you are invited to this year's Nordic conference in Finland in November. The conference will be organized by the Evangelical Lutheran church of Finland/National church council and the Criminal sanctions agency/Central administration unit – and hosted by the National board for prison ministry and prison chaplaincy.

The conference program includes some of the fundamental themes for prison ministry and prison chaplaincy: Right to religion in prisons and the international/national guide lines for that; Prisoners’ religious needs and needs for pastoral care; Practice of religion in prisons and prison chaplaincy in Nordic countries, The role and status of prison chaplain in prison; The ethical challenges for prison chaplaincy and prison ministry; The multicultural and multireligious environment’s  effect on prison ministry and prison chaplaincy


Christian Prison Chaplains to convene in Bangkok for ‘A living hope’ in 2020

The International Prison Chaplains’ Association is preparing its eighth Worldwide Quinquennial Conference, to be held in Thailand

Everyone in today’s world is in need of hope – and prisoners across the globe are no exception. To address this need, the International Prison Chaplains’ Association, founded in 1985 at the World Council of Churches’ ecumenical institute in Bossey, Switzerland, has made hope the theme of its eighth Quinquennial Worldwide Conference, for which preparations are now underway in Thailand.

In mid-August, members of IPCA’s Worldwide Steering Committee met in Bangkok to continue planning for the Conference, to be held at the headquarters of the Church of Christ in Thailand, Ratchatewi District, Bangkok, from November 5-10, 2020. During their three-day session, the team met with the Board and staff of CCT, local church leaders, Christian broadcasters CGNTV, and representatives of various church organisations who will be providing practical support and volunteers for the event.

IPCA VIII will be an opportunity for prison chaplains to share their experiences, challenges, and aspirations, hear about conditions in prisons across the world, benefit from talks by leading experts in justice, rehabilitation, and pastoral care, and learn about IPCA’s ongoing work as a recognised United Nations NGO. While IPCA is a Christian organisation, its conferences are open to chaplains of other faiths; government and judicial officials are invited to attend a formal opening ceremony. 





Report on IPCA Europe Committee Meeting - Vienna May 2019

It really is such a blessing when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity. All the more so when we gather from as far North as Bergen, South as Kyiv, West as Rennes, and East as … well that would be you again Viktor in Kyiv! Added to that our Lutheran, Baptist, Independent Church, Orthodox and Salvation Army denominational differences, it is soon obvious why, even in a gathering of the IPCA Steering Committee our rich cultural and religious diversity requires fellowship inspired and created by the Holy Spirit. And this is exactly what we, as the IPCA (Europe) steering committee experienced when we met for 72 Hrs in Vienna in May.



IPCA Steering Committee explore issues with UN in Vienna in run-up to Crime Commission

The IPCA (Europe) Steering Committee met with officials from the UNODC (United Nations office On Drugs and Crime) at the Vienna International Centre in the week ahead of the Commission for Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention (CCJCP). The afternoon exploration, with Prison Chaplains from Germany, Norway, England, France and Ukraine allowed in-depth conversations between IPCA and key UN figures in the development and dissemination of guidelines encouraging the international practices of safe, decent imprisonment. The IPCA (Europe) committee was able to benefit from the expertise of those engaged on a global level. Four key topics were discussed


Conference Reports

Kiev April 2018

Faith in Justice: from sentence to community

On April 24-27 2018, IPCA Europe organised an Interim Conference in Kiev, Ukraine. Some 60 delegates from 16 countries took part with sessions in the conference centre, Ukranian Parliament and others at the Justice Ministry. The conference also included a visit to a prison in Kiev.

The event was a way of supporting chaplains in Eastern Europe and more particularly in Ukraine, as well as providing prison authorities with chaplains’ perspectives on criminal justice systems.

Cambridge 2017

Faith and trust in prison

at Magdalene College, Cambridge

The quinquennial conference of IPCA Europe, with presentations on the theme by Speakers included Magnus Abrahamson, Irene Becci, Andrew Coyle, Alison Liebling, Ann Power Ford, Rod Moore, Rowan Williams, Richard Moth, and Michael Kavanagh, Tony Bottoms, and Tariq Mahmood,

Rome Feb 2016

Minorities in prison, inside, isolated and alone

29 February - 3 March 2016

48 Prison Chaplains from 19 countries assembled at the Waldesian Theological Seminary for an interim conference in Rome. Chaplains from Christian Churches and traditions were joined by Muslim and Sikh colleagues from the UK with meetings to consider the diversity of issues facing minorities in prisons across Europe.

The conference produced a conference statement, and was concluded with a sermon presented by IPCA Worldwide committee member, David Buick.

Previous Conferences


Strasbourg, France

Prisoners’ rights: Optional Extra or Theological Imperative?




Sambata de Sus, Romania

Strengthening the soul


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Prayer Day

Every year, 25 August, IPCA celebrates the Global Day of Prayer for Prison Ministry. IPCA has produced resources to help you encourage prayer for those engaged in Prison Ministry in English, Swedish, and French.


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