New IPCA Worldwide President - June 2020

Incoming President - David Buick

“I very much regret not being able to complete my term of office at our Bangkok conference in November as I had hoped. It has been a privilege to serve IPCA as President for five years as we have nurtured links with chaplains in Asia and across the world”, said outgoing President Rod Moore. In a happy coincidence, Rod has just been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his ministry and services to prison chaplaincy.

“International organisations face major changes as they adjust during this time of global crisis”, said incoming President David Buick. “I look forward to taking up the challenge of leading IPCA Worldwide through this time of transformation as we seek to continue to support prison chaplains worldwide and advocate for prisoners’ rights through our work as an accredited UN NGO”

On 12 June 2020, a videoconference meeting of the International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA) Worldwide Steering Committee (WWSC) elected David Buick to replace Rod Moore as President. The election follows the resignation of serving President Rod Moore for health reasons.

The WWSC’s mandate runs from one Worldwide Conference to the next. Between Conferences, the WWSC may appoint new officers and members pending full elections at the next conference. During the current mandate, this procedure has already led to Gerry Bernabe being co-opted to replace Sylvia Montfort (Asia) and Julie Kelly being co-opted to replace Maku Potae (Oceania) following Sylvia and Maku’s respective resignations for health reasons, and the co-opting of Dorestela Medina (Latin America/Caribbean) to fill a vacant position.

David Buick was first elected to the WWSC as one of the two representatives of IPCA Europe at the Worldwide Conference in Sydney, held in September 2015. The next IPCA Worldwide Conference was due to be held in Bangkok in November 2020 but has been cancelled in February because of the global health crisis. The plan is for the Conference to be rescheduled as soon as circumstances permit.

Outgoing President - Rod Moore

Experiencing Coronavirus in Prisons across Europe

Lockdown used to be something that we as prison chaplains had a unique understanding of. Isolation, segeregation, shielding were all things we witnessed in our daily work. But now these are general terms that people from all walks of life are using in describing their daily experiences. In this developing news article we will be sharing some accounts from across Europe of our different experiences of the situations we find ourselves in, and which we are sometimes excluded from. We will start off with one from France, and one from the UK - but please, if you have the time to put together 150-200 words to describe the situation for prison chaplaincies in your country, do send this to us. Together we will build this picture, and together we will be united in and out of lockdown.


France imposed lockdown onMarch 16, since when no access to prisons has been possible for chaplains. Visits of family members and all other activities were also cancelled. ... Read on


Germany is a federal republic with 16 federal states, so there are at least 16 different ways to deal with Covid 19 in the prisons ... Read on



Sweden has generally had – and still have – fewer restrictions than most European countries related to Covid-19. Therefore, as a colleague wrote, “it's about as usual when it comes to our work” ... Read on

..... your nation here ...?

This is a developing news article, if you are a prison chaplain in Europe or the Middle East and your country is not represented in this picture yet, please do get in touch using the button below.



England and Wales

On March 23 the UK government announced that effectively the country was to go into lockdown to protect our health service and save lives ... Read on


In Belgium the Lock Down in the Prisons started on Friday the 13 th of March.  It ment a period of un certanties about What was allowed and what not.  After some days it became clear that the Chaplains where not allowed to have meetings of any sort.  ... Read on

Easter Message from Mischi - IPCA (Europe) Chair

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We know and hear and read too little about each other and the situations we have to deal with. Unfortunately there will be no IPCA meeting in this year. Therefore I would like to encourage you to write to me or to IPCA Europe about your work, the situation in your prisons, the good and the bad. We will try to share it on our website and hopefully we can advise.

I wish you, your beloved and those you care for a happy and blessed Easter.


Chair, IPCA Europe

Michael Philippi

Covid 19, the Coronavirus, is slowing down our world, while we prepare for Easter, to celebrate the crown of life. With this message, this greeting I don´t want to teach you either about Corona nor about Easter, I only want to share some thoughts and share our solidarity with you.

Already in March there have been riots and unrest in Italian prisons with many prisoners losing their lives. And we hear of unrest in other prison in Europe, but I think, we hear little, because, if no one dies, then the general situation for prisoners is not news-worthy. And the riots and deaths in prisons in Chile, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico? Only when we search for this news, we find them on the internet.

 This situation is a huge challenge for most of us. Weather we live in the more or the less privileged parts of Europe. Restrictions inside and outside. Concern and attendance for inmates, staff and their own beloved. And to feel the pain, that the most vunerable people in our world, the poor, the prisoners, the refugees… are forgotten, once more.

And our governments try to solve the crisis with even more nationalisms, egoisms and “emergency” laws.

Can this crisis be a chance? To more solidarity, sister- and brotherhood, more justice and equality for all human beings? Or will we raise up more “bars” between us?

Sometimes I doubt and feel with the German poet (and refugee from Nazi Germany) Bertold Brecht in his poem

The Wheel Change

I sit on the roadside slope,

the driver changes the wheel.

I don´t like to be, where I come from

I don´t like to be, where I drive to.

Why do I look at the wheel change

with impatience? 

But, what about hope?

As a human being, as prison chaplain there is another word, that accompanies me for many years. It is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the few german protestant theologians in resistance to the Nazi regime. He was executed in the last days of WW II, on the 9th of April 1945. 75 years ago.

He wrote, out of his prison cell:

I believe, that God out of everything,

even out of the worst,

can and wants to give rise to the good.



I am grateful and still feel blessed, that my faith opens my mind to discover in every disaster, in every misfortune, in every illness and therefore also in the Corona pandemic, that there is always a seed of something good; something, that can straighten us up, comforts us, make us more considerate, more human. One, who is able to look at circumstance that loom to throw us off the track, the one does not whitewash any problems, fears and uncertancies.

But the one does not loose her- or himself in the midst of it, but rather sees the dangers of epidemics, climate change, social injustice and does not perish. Therefore, in times of crises like these, what we call trust in God, is helpful. This trust can protect us from panic fears and actions, from groundlessness, from ideological virus infections like conspiracy theories, rightwing nationalisms and cold ego. Because trust in God makes us attentive to his voice. The voice that inspired Bonhoeffer and inspires us

Therefore he needs human beings, for those all things work together for good”.

God does not need those human beings selfishly. God needs them, that every new day in midst of suffering something good can arise, that we don´t loose our nerve, that we keep posture to give hopeto others.

Then Easter will come.

PostponementAnnouncement from IPCA Worldwide re Bangkok 2020

It is with the deepest regret that the IPCA Worldwide Steering Committee has decided to postpone the Eighth Quinquennial Conference ‘A living Hope’ scheduled for November this year 2020 in Bangkok,Thailand.

Due to current world events and the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) we have taken the position that it would be irresponsible to proceed. The rapid spread of the virus has made international travel a concern in the immediate future and presents a risk to the health of our Chaplains.

As you can appreciate a lot of planning and organization for the Conference has already taken place with registrations due to be launched in the first weeks of March 2020. There has been an enormous amount of preparation undertaken by our Asian Region Representatives (especially the Reverend Sirirat Pusurinkham),a large band of volunteers and the Church of Christ in Thailand. IPCA is deeply grateful to them all and deeply saddened that we can not proceed at this time. We look to the future when we can hold our first Conference in Asia and hopefully build on the work already done.

The Worldwide Steering Committee will now turn our attention to the challenges that postponing our Conference brings to IPCA constitutionally. We will keep you regularly informed through your Regional Reps and on the IPCA WorldwideWebsite.

Please keep IPCA and your Steering Committee in your prayers. The Theme of our Conference was ‘A Living Hope’ inspired by 1 Peter 1-3. Let us pray fervently for ‘Hope and Healing’ for all who have been infected and for those who have died and their loved ones.

Pray to for a Vaccine to be available as soon as possible.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

Rod Moore. President IPCA Worldwide.

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


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