Update: The Pilgrim’s Progress Book donations to NZ Prisoners

Society (SPCS) members donated $4,950 in 2010 towards the printing of multiple copies of John Bunyan’s classic work – The Pilgrim’s Progress, and donated $5,245 in 2011: – a total of $10,195 donated over two years (see advertisement for donations on homepage of website). In addition SPCS has raised thousands of dollars from non-members towards this Books in Prisons project via an effective advertising campaign through its newsletters. Donations were used just for printing costs.

The Society has arranged and paid for the distribution of hundreds of the books to prisoners in all 20 NZ prisons. Within the last two weeks it dispatched 26 copies to the Otago Corrections Facility and 20 copies for distribution to the Christchurch Mens Prision.

One prison chaplain recently reported that once word is out that the books are available within the prison, they “fly off the shelf” – snapped up by prisoners seeking spiritual answers found a book that chronicles in timeless allegory the journey of a man – Pilgrim – from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City of God (Heaven).

Pilgrim’s burden of guilt and shame for his sin is lifted from him at the Cross of Christ where he finds forgiveness, God-given faith and the new joy and hope that is the fruit of a true conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ – and is accompanied by genuine repentance.

Author John Bunyan wrote the book while serving time in prison himself and the work is a truly creative expression of his own spiritual journey. It is deeply and richly ingrained with the biblical insights and wisdon he gained after he became a committed believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

The Society executive wishes to thank all its members and others who have contributed so generously towards this Books for Prisoners Project. The work is ongoing and we are heartened by your support and the positive feedback we have received from those working with prisoners who have gained access to the books (Prison Fellowship, Chaplaincy Services etc).

This project in part serves to fulfill the Society’s primary charitable purpose: the promotion of the spiritual and moral welfare of society. In addition it constitutes a public benefit (i.e. it is beneficial to the community)  in a number of self-evident ways (e.g. education and/or rehabilitation of prisoners, relief and/or redemption of prisoners, and aiding the poor etc).

In order to be considered charitable as “any other matters beneficial to the community“, purposes must be beneficial to the community and must be within the spirit and intendment of the purposes set out in the Preamble to The Charitable Uses Act 1601 (the Statute of Elizabeth).

The purposes must benefit the community in a way that the law regards as charitable. The Books for Prisoners Project most definitely qualifies as such and has been positively commended by officials of the Charities Commission when they have met with SPCS executive members on two occasions at the Charities Commission Offices in Wellington.