Currently, 15 local Yokefellowship Prison Ministry affiliates oversee approximately 250* volunteers ministering to approximately 1,400* inmates in 40 PA correctional facilities and 4 aftercare facilities during 87 ministry events. Locations and times may be found in our most recent annual report http://yokefellowship.org/ypm-annual-reports.
At present, all of our staff are parttime and we operate on a budget of less than $40,000. God has truly bless our ministry.
(*Some volunteers and inmates were counted more than once as they participated in more than one ministry event.)
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