The Emmaus work in Queensland prisons first began in the 1950’s by Miss Edith Flavel who travelled from Murwillumbah each week for 27 years to visit a number of prisoners in Boggo Road jail and, using the Emmaus Correspondence Courses, taught the Scriptures. She was visiting around a dozen men when she had to stop due to poor eyesight. She was well into her eighties at the time. She was presented with the ‘British Empire Medal’ by the New South Wales Governor, Sir Roden Cutler, for her work amongst young people and prisoners.
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Mr Lance Foley became involved in chaplaincy work within the Queensland prisons, particularly at Woodford Prison, and during this time there were courses being sent to a number of prisoners.
It was in 1987 that Mr Noel Sheen, made an approach to senior people in the Queensland Department of Corrective Services who agreed to allow the Emmaus Correspondence courses to be used in every Queensland jail. These courses are provided to inmates free of charge and postage free. We continue to trust the Lord each year to see the needs of this outreach ministry met through the financial gifts of His people. Initially all courses distributed were the result of Noel’s personal visits and he, with his wife Eleanor, marked the large number of courses that continued to expand over the years.
The work continued to grow as a result of these visits but in more recent times his promotion has been augmented by the Prison Chaplains themselves with whom Emmaus works closely. Mr John Orr, and his wife Ethel entered the work in 2001 and began marking and processing courses. Since then the work has continued to develop within the Queensland jails with many men and women experiencing changed lives as a result of doing the studies. In 2016, Bryson & Ruth Thomas took responsibility for the ministry with a commitment to carry on the ministry undertaken by those who had gone before them.
It was in 2004 that the Director-General of the Qld Department of Corrective Services approved the Bible Gems calendar for distribution into our Qld Correctional Centres. Each year since, ECS provides an Emmaus Bible Gems Calendar to each inmate in Queensland. The distribution is undertaken with the assistance of the Prison Chaplains and in conjunction with the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Care package provided to prison inmates. Annually there are approximately 14,000 copies of the calendar provided to inmates within all major Qld Correctional Centres and within the Alice Springs & Darwin Correctional Centres in the Northern Territory. Each calendar contains an offer of two Emmaus Correspondence courses.
These calendars are provided free of charge to inmates and we trust the Lord each year to see the needs of this outreach ministry met through the financial gifts of His people.