The Church of Ireland has received the first Braille copies of its Thanks & Praise hymnal supplement from the Braille Unit at HMP Maghaberry.
Thanks & Praise is a supplement to the Church Hymnal, containing a collection of 227 hymns, songs and liturgical settings.
Sue McAllister, Director-General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, made the presentation to the Rt Rev Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore and Chair of the Liturgical Advisory Committee.
Bishop Miller said: “We are pleased that this project has contributed to the rehabilitation of prisoners at the Maghaberry Braille Unit and grateful for this invaluable resource for worship.
“The supplement will help blind and partially sighted people to engage more fully in parish life, and we thank the prisoners and staff involved for their time and skill in making this gift to the Church.”
Welcoming the publication, Ms McAllister said: “The Braille Unit at Maghaberry gives prisoners the opportunity to give something back to the community while at the same time providing them with a range of skills which will help them when they are released from custody.
“I want to thank the staff and the prisoners who have produced this supplement. I know from speaking to the Bishop that their efforts are greatly appreciated and this Braille version will be of great benefit to local churches and their congregations.
“Initiatives such as the Braille Unit give people in prison the opportunity to develop their skills which will help them to find employment after they are released. Having a job is a key part in reducing re-offending and is one of the ways in which the Prison Service helps to build a safer Northern Ireland.”
Each Braille version of the book consists of three volumes and a total of 263 pages.
The Church of Ireland has a longstanding link with the Braille Unit, which has previously produced editions of the Church Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer.