News and Articles

29 April 2016

Release for the prisoners

Paul Webber (LT pics 2016) Paul Webber Minister
Jail bars

Jesus said 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
 because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

‘He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
 to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ – Luke 4:18–19

For many years it has been our privilege as a church to serve the city as best we can. In recent years, more vulnerable adults have become part of our community through Basics Bank, Big Breakfast, and our CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Debt Centre. A CAP Release Group is the next way we can live out Jesus’s commission to proclaim good news to the poor and freedom for prisoners.

CAP Release Groups logo

CAP wants to deal with the causes of poverty, not just help people escape from debt. According to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), one of the ‘five pathways to poverty’ is addiction (the others are family breakdown, educational failure, worklessness, and serious personal debt).

Addiction is a very serious problem in Britain, and it’s getting worse. 1 in 20 adults are dependent on alcohol, which has a devastating impact on their families. 2.6 million children live with parents who drink hazardously. For more than 10 years, the UK has had the biggest drug problem in Europe, and it’s still rising. Along with cigarette dependency and gambling, these addictions create an enormous drain on the stretched resources of the NHS and other services.

Addictions are personally destructive. CAP tells the story of one woman who was so desperate to escape her gambling habit and the resultant debt that she distributed pictures of herself to local bookmakers with a plea that she should not be served under any circumstances.

smoking - Matthias Weinberger CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

CAP Release Groups help people break free from all kinds of life-controlling habits: cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, internet addictions, gambling, and many more. The release groups provide a place of trust and security, where people are offered emotional and practical support. They enable people to tackle the underlying issues which drive their dependencies. Dave Nobbs, Release Groups Developer, says, ‘The sessions are designed to help people look at the reasons behind their addiction – whatever that is – and discover what is at the root.’ If those core issues are confronted, people can not only break free, but stay free.

Release Groups are inspired by the twelve-steps programme of Alcoholics Anonymous, but rather than vaguely referring to a ‘higher power’, CAP’s material unapologetically points people to Jesus. Each group lasts for 8 weeks, with sessions including ‘admitting you have a problem’, ‘forgiveness’, and ‘walking into freedom’. There is an option for clients to have one-on-one coaching to support them as they start breaking free from their life controlling habit.

Above Bar Church’s first CAP Release Group starts on Wednesday 4 May, at 10:30 am in the church basement. Everyone is welcome. Please pray for this group.

For more information, contact Martin Beck Emms at or via the church office on 023 8022 8275.


1 comment

John Buta on May 6, 2016

"It’s really great hearing about this. CAP seems to be growing from strength to strength.

Thanks for the post Paul!"

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