ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) – In a move that could cost the ministry an untold number of volunteers, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program is requiring its coordinators to affirm its statement of faith. The requirement, which became official Jan. 1, is an effort to ensure theological alignment between volunteers and the program that, for 33 years, has delivered gifts and the Gospel to inmates and their children.
The requirement is proactive and not in response to a specific problem, Prison Fellowship vice president Sara Nagelvoort Marlin told WORLD. But the organization's statement of faith does put it at odds with liberal churches that may share Prison Fellowship's conviction to help prisoners and their families but not its stand on issues of life, marriage and the inerrancy of scripture. Angel Tree's volunteer coordinators represent 7,700 U.S. churches.