God paves the way- how the partnership works
God has indeed paved the way each step of the journey. Simeon, talks of the numerous “God incidences” where they met the right people at the right time, which made connections happen between St Hilda’s Church, the prison and Hope Into Action.
The way this three-way partnership works in practise is that the prison employs Simeon, who works as an empowerment worker with St Hilda’s House alongside his chaplain role. In this role he supports and journeys with tenants of St Hilda’s House like Natalie. Empowering and enabling them to grow, live, do, and be all that they can.
St Hilda’s Church provide the property and its maintenance. They also partner with four other local churches to provide befrienders to the tenants of St Hilda’s house, and to join together to pray for them and this partnership. Both Fr Joseph and Simeon talk about the beauty of this ecumenical partnership, where St Hilda’s House has provided a focus for church communities to each contribute their different skills, rather than competing with each other. Seeing the local churches working well together is also a great witness for the women, prison and local community.
The third strand of the partnership is the charity Hope Into Action. They provide a vital framework and offer their experience, advice and support, as well as a listening ear. Simeon refers to them as “the glue and the safety net in many ways. The three [of us] work incredibly well together.”