CSA's intent is to make a beneficial contribution, and difference in the lives of Inmates and Former Inmates while offering various congregations members the opportunity to experience joy through service.

We offer emotional, physical, educational and spiritual support to those currently in prison.

In 1993, Rev. Roy began serving as an advocate and Spiritual Advisor for prison inmates. Through his work with these individuals he teaches them spiritual principles and affirmative prayer.

CSA works with COPE (Congregational & Offender Partnership Enterprise to assist newly released inmates re-enter community. Rev. Roy is a Team Leader in the COPE Organization. The teams work with the former offenders by creating community while assisting them in their re-entry process. Project COPE has initiated partnerships with 180 former offenders. The effectiveness of the project can be measured by a reduction of recidivism from near 80% for offenders in general to 14% for COPE Graduates who complete the one year program and 30% for COPE dropouts who complete one half of the program.

The real story of Project COPE, however, cannot be told with numbers; it can be only be known through the lives of real people who have been touched. There is no way to measure to what extent the love, acceptance and support offered by a COPE Partnership Team will affect a former offender as well as the effect on the volunteers of the support team. Project COPE volunteers make a positive difference in a life, enriching the entire community. Team members will tell you they receive as much as they give.

This ministry runs strictly on Donations from people like you. Before an inmate is released on parole, the collect telephone calls are inordinately expensive and travel to get to inmates as far as 350 miles away requires overnight stays as well as gas and meals.

Upon release from prison, our partners need clothing for work and play and they need food, personal care items, household care and cleaning items etc. Bus passes have to be bought or other forms of transportation secured. Many new partners need medical and dental care. It is most often between 30 and 60 days before they are gainfully employed and capable of beginning to support themselves. Apartment Housing must be provided and the COPE apartments must be maintained. We greatly need your support in this all important area of our ministry.

Erich Fromm once said, In the sphere of material things, giving means being rich. Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. Please show us how rich you are!

Helen Steiner Rice once said, The more you love, the more you'll find that life is good and friends are kind, for only what we give away enriches us from day to day.

The Peace Pilgrim, (God blesses her soul) once said, You must give if you want to receive. Let the center of your being be one of giving, giving, giving. You can't give too much, and you will discover your cannot give without receiving.

And a very great Spiritual Philosopher, Joel Goldsmith has this to say: Supply is not getting; supply is giving. The bread that you cast upon the water is the bread that comes back to you.

And finally, Jesus said, Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down..and running over For with the same measure you give to others it shall be measured to you again

NOW, Right Now, would be an excellent time for you to make known your gift to this wonderful ministry. All gifts are tax deductible.

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Our Mission

Testimonials regarding Inmates and Ex-Offenders

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Excepts from a letter from Mark C., received one year after his release from prison. Mark served over 22 years for commission of a murder as a very young man:

Each day as I pray, I ask my Higher Power to direct me, guide me, protect me and support me throughout the day ahead of me. I know Rev. Roy to be a human being that's been brought into my life to help perform these things I ask of my God. Roy shares his knowledge, wisdom, and experience with me as we interact in true friendship. I don't always hear what I want to hear, and I may get upset over situations (his non-pity me ways of helping me to see the whole picture as it may exist from various different views) but I know deep down inside, within my heart and conscience, that any decisions and actions are mine to make and to be held responsible for and Roy is offering me a clearer view which may help me better my life as I move forward through the ups and downs of everyday struggles.

I am fortunate Roy has become a part of my life and its my belief that people in general can benefit from a friend such as Roy in theirs. Roy has been very sympathetic towards me and regardless of my words, actions and thoughts, he has opened his heart, his life and his home to me, as an example of unconditional love for another human being.

At one time I was a client in a long-term Treatment program which lasted for a one-year term. This was comprised of six months of intense supervision and treatment and another six months of after-care. During this experience I hit high's and low's of extremes which tested my stick-to-it-ness and determination to create change in my life. Rev. Roy was the anchor which kept me secured and on tract to endure, to move onward and keep my eye on the prize, which he knew of and I later found to be, love, peace and serenity. I never experienced this life before, but through the support of Roy, I found the courage and determination to achieve and succeed. I continue to want and need my friend Roy in my life today and I know to share Roy with others is allowing a Higher Power to work through all. Roy loves people and shows it in all he says and does. I'm very grateful to of received his love.

Mark C.

Excerpts from a letter from the employer of Mark C. six months following Marks release from prison:

After meeting and interviewing M., I decided to give him a chance as a shop employee. He had some experience in the furniture manufacturing facility in prison and to be honest Roy, I trusted your judgment. I also liked the idea that you would stay involved with him and had arranged for other people to help M. succeed in his transition.

M. has done very well working at my company. He was initially hired at $9.00/hour and received a $1/hour raise at 90 days because of the progress he made. Now, M. is about to get another $1/hour raise because of taking on additional responsibilities. He is very dependable, good natured and conscientious. I hope M. continues to help grow my company.

As I have talked with M. and watched him, it has become apparent that the support he has received since leaving prison is largely the reason for his success. He has faced many of the normal issues of life which his background complicates. With the help from you and the support team, the issues have been quickly resolved. As am employer I have been very impressed.

In my 20 plus years of hiring and managing people, I have never hired an ex-convict. I still would not hire one, unless they were a part of your program. This appears to be a very logical way to help ex-convicts stay ex-convicts. Thank you! Feel free to have anyone you want call and talk to me about Mark.

Carl A., President (March 31, 2003 by Mark C.'s Employer)

Special Interest Note: Four months after this letter was written, Mr. C.A. gave M. another merit raise ( a third raise in one year) based on M.'s outstanding work performance.

Excerpts from a letter from Inmate Herb C. who, in 1979, was sentenced to seven years for non-violent crimes (burglary and forgery. He remains in prison for crimes he was convicted of while serving his sentence. Rev. Roy believes in his innocence.

I've been incarcerated since 1979. My original charges were for non-violent offenses, burglary and forgery. I was guilty of these crimes; and subsequently, was sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections for a term of seven years. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am still doing time.

I'm not what I'd call a spiritual or religious person; never have been. I do however, believe in a Higher Power, a Supreme Being; and that there is a purpose -- a reason for me being here. What that purpose and reason is, I don't know and I may never know. My destiny may already have fulfilled itself, and this may be all there is. My reason for being may become clear to me at some point in the future --and again, it may have presented itself when Roy Fisher shook my hand and called me friend.

I first heard Roy's name in 1997, when he became spiritually acquainted with my cell-partner, Jon. Because I don't receive many visits of my own, I was also permitted to go on this visit. I was hesitant at first; I did not know this person except for what Jon had told me about him. Jon had said that Roy was in training to become a minister. I've always steered clear of ministers; and I wondered if this one would preach to me during the visit. At Jon's suggestion, I decided to give this man the benefit of a doubt and see for myself what he was like. I am very glad I did.

During the visit, there was no fire and brimstone talk. Instead, Roy wanted to know about me and what my beliefs are. I told him how I think and feel about the Creator, life and other things. I suppose I was expecting this man to criticize, or to otherwise question my beliefs; to my surprise, though, he did just the opposite. Roy talked about himself; not only of his religious beliefs, but everyday kinds of things that friends share with each other. As the visit progressed, I became relaxed and started enjoying myself. For a little while, I could almost forget that I was in prison.

Before it was time for Roy to leave, Jon asked him if he would pray with us. Instead of this making me nervous (as I would have expected), the three of us holding hands around the table, this felt entirely right and proper. As the visit concluded and we were standing to leave, Roy told me that he sees so much good in me -- something I've not heard in a very long time.

Since the visit, Roy and I have kept in touch with each other. Roy is definitely not what I thought of as a typical preacher. Not once has he judged me for my past behavior; nor has he tried to force his own beliefs on me. Instead, this bearded and burly man has shown me nothing but acceptance and love. He's encouraged me, and helped me, to believe that there really is a reason for me to be living at this time.

Roy Fisher has opened my eyes to a better way of seeing myself -- and the world. Thank you Roy. H.A.S. (November 6. 2003)

Jon S. has been incarcerated since 1982 after being convicted of murder during an attempted burglary. Following are excerpts of a letter recently received from Jon.

In the summer of 1997, I wrote the Center for Spiritual Living in St. Louis, asking to correspond with someone at church. Shortly thereafter, Roy Fisher, a businessman and Religious Science Practitioner, responded, saying that he would be happy to hear from me. For some time, I'd been fortunate to receive reading material from Science of Mind, Unity and other New Thought sources. While I'd absorbed a lot of information, I had many questions about how to apply these principles, particularly in prison. I was also looking for a positive person with whom I could relate as a friend.

It has been said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. During the past four and a half years, Rev. Roy Fisher has become a friend and teacher in the finest sense of the word. One of the first things I noticed about Roy early in our relationship was his honesty. Not only did Roy confront, challenge and question my obvious -- and not so obvious -- lapses of moral and spiritual integrity, this man was equally forthright about his own struggles, past and present. He related to me as a real person who confronts and overcomes challenges, be they health concerns, addictive behaviors, spiritual issues, interpersonal relations -- in short, everything that comes up in the course of living. Roy has no problem identifying flaws in my thinking and character, and somehow he does this with an attitude of love and humility that makes it easier for me to drop my pretenses and be real.

Roy and I talk often on the phone. He's visited several times, and he appeared as advocate at my April 2003 parole hearing. When the results of the hearing were not what we'd hoped for, Roy patiently sat with me and helped me regroup. Roy's recommendations were less about externals, such as what I might do to impress the parole board more favorably next time; instead, he urged me to put my focus on what's most important -- my relationship with my Self; to become more centered in the present and the opportunities for love and service that the now affords. I can't say that I'm always on track with this; I still get discouraged and negative. Yet, now I have a friend and advisor to reach out to when I think I'm losing touch. What a blessing!

Sometimes I am amazed at how the experience and possibilities for good are expanding for me and others in my life. Thanks to Roy's counsel and his example of applied spirituality, I've become more grounded in my own spiritual practice. Because of this person's love, I am more in touch with the love that is Jon. Thank you, Roy, for being such a special part of my life!

Jon S.

Rev. Roy asked this former inmate to describe how he and Roy met and what the relationship was like for this individual while he was incarcerated.

I went to prison with a 7-year sentence in 1988 for attempted robbery of a drug store. I had lost my business, my home, my wife, my children and I was filled with shame, guilt, remorse and a lot of pain. I lost hope and would pray every night that God would let me go to sleep and never wake up. Every night, I prayed the prayer as I did not want to live anymore. That was my headset.

Then, one day, (around 1990) a letter came from you Rev. Roy. You told me, don't quit. God loves you. You asked me to write you. You asked if I needed anything. Your letter was so sincere and your letter touched my heart. You were a light in the darkness. As your letters kept coming and they were so inspiring and positive, my life took on new hope and I wanted to live. I was lost and lonely, but God used you to bless me. You believed in me and continued to encourage me until I once again began to believe in myself. Roy, thank you for being there then and even today. Your work today is so important and God is using you to change lives and for that I am eternally grateful. P.S. I should write a song entitled Roy did not give up on me.

H.C

A short excerpt from another prisoner Rev. Roy works with:

Grown men aren't suppose to cry here in prison - but after reading your letter, I had to wipe away the tears. All I can say is thank you. I can't even find the words to describe how I truly feel, except that I am overwhelmed with joy. Thank you for coming into my life and believing in me.

A.C

Ministering to Inmates and Ex-Offenders

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