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Correctional Chaplaincy Articles

  • A Pioneer in Ministering to Inmate Families: Mannie Craig

    At the age of 30, Craig was the youngest of 11 candidates and the only one not belonging to a mainline Protestant denomination to be interviewed for a federal prison chaplain post.

  • How one pastor came to be a chaplain: the Paul Sesock story

    When terrorists attacked on September 11, 2011, the Sesocks were pastoring a church...

  • Chaplain's Health Turnaround Mirrors Inmates' Spiritual Rebound

    The recovery of an Assemblies of God chaplain from near death has led to an ongoing revival at a North Carolina medium-security penal institution with 480 inmates.

  • Chaplain Ransberger receives prestigious TDCJ Award

    He was the first chaplain in the history of the state to win this award.

  • Calvary Commission receives Texas Governor's Award

    Calvary Commission was founded by AG correctional chaplain Joe Fauss.

  • Shapes Mentoring Program announces new program director

    The Shapes Mentoring Program, a part of the Assemblies of God Chaplaincy Department, has named Jeff Dorn as the new program director. Dorn, who has a Masters of Divinity degree, has served the program for the last year and a half as its mentor support coordinator and for three years as a volunteer mentor.

  • Invisible prison

    Ann Edenfield Sweet never expected to be the wife of a prison inmate. The former cheerleading captain and college homecoming queen married a commercial airline captain who seemed to share her Christian faith. They and their four children lived in a spacious home in suburban Albuquerque, N.M., and actively participated in a local church.

  • The key to staying free: Inmate aftercare

    Lost people didn’t have high hopes for Kenny Wettermark when he finished serving 21 years in a Texas prison in November 2006. His wife had left him, he didn’t have a relationship with his four children, he owned virtually nothing, and the Texas Department of Corrections physically monitored his every movement. The odds of successful re-entry for someone who has been locked up since the middle of the Reagan administration appeared slim.

  • Tithing inmates respond to water well need

    Assemblies of God Prison Chaplain Judge Lindsey had motivated Christian inmates at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, Calif., to give to worthy causes before. Lindsey implemented a tithing program at the institution more than five years ago.

  • Woman answers chaplaincy call
    Having suffered domestic violence along with the agony and grief of her sister’s murder, Chaplain Bridget Sheehan conquered her painful past by volunteering in 1991 with Discipleship Unlimited, a national prison ministry.
  • Chaplain aids aftercare
    Chaplain Pamela Moore uses her maternal influence and pastoral spirit graciously at Allen Correctional Men’s Facility in Lima, Ohio. Her prison ministry began in 2000 when she became a chaplain at Ohio Reformatory for Women. Since 2004, Moore, who turns 60 next month, has had the responsibility to minister to 1,300 men at the Allen facility, managing around 30 volunteer groups monthly.
  • Inmates donate tithes for hurricane relief
    Of all the Americans who opened their wallets to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, perhaps the most unlikeliest fund source originated in a densely populated California community: Correctional Training Facility five miles north of Soledad.
  • Setting Prisoners Free, One Lesson at a Time
    Men toting the Word of God file in for the 7 o’clock Thursday night Bible study. They are white, black, and Hispanic. College-aged and old enough for retirement. Shaggy-haired and shaved bald. The men
  • Chaplain unlocks prison doors
    Chaplain Swank, who works as a correctional chaplain in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, knows this is true because he has seen God change numerous lives through the years. One of those people is a man named Ken who had an insatiable desire to learn about the Lord. After receiving Christ, he started a Bible study with other inmates. Since he still had a year and a half behind bars, he asked Chaplain Swank to help him get into a ministerial course.
  • Donated gifts make holidays brighter
    The items, which include new clothes, jewelry and other age-appropriate gifts, are donated to the state jail by Fairbanks-area churches and residents. The jail houses more than 200 male and female inmates who are awaiting trial. Assemblies of God Administrative Chaplain Bob Stephens continues the program begun 19 years ago by a former chaplain.
  • Through Key Bearers, you can give hope to men and women behind bars.
    We are directed by the Savior to visit those in prison. He said in Matthew 25:36, "I was in prison and you came to visit me." When asked, "When did we see you ... in prison?" Jesus replied, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (See verses 39,40, NIV.)
  • Souls set free
    I walk through a metal detector and sign in at the main gate. An officer takes my driver’s license in exchange for a visitor’s pass that I quickly clip to my belt. My guide today, Brian O’Connell, a functional unit manager here at the Ozark Correctional Center
  • Freedom behind bars
    Everyone who enters and exits goes through "the room." For some, the room means life behind bars; for others, freedom. Alex Velazquez Jr. walked into prison — and unimaginable freedom.
  • Transformation
    By Tom Stevens sat on the edge of the bed in his cell in the Norfolk County (Mass.) Jail, staring at the gray granite walls. The year was 1977. He was facing a stiff prison sentence for armed robbery and assault to commit murder and was angry and confused. "The anger was like a piece of steel sitting in my gut," he says.
  • Warden speaks about unconditional love
    Tony Lamarque is warden of Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County, Calif., a super-maximum facility employing 1,286 personnel, housing 4,200 inmates and operating on a $111 million annual budget. Salinas Valley provides long-term housing and services for minimum and maximum custody male inmates.
  • Death row
    Moore’s tenure on the state’s death row since June 1980 is involuntary. Nearly two dozen others have come and gone. A few died awaiting their final fate. Some had sentences commuted to life in prison. Others have been released because new evidence raised doubts about their guilt. Three have been executed.
  • A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison
    Visitors are rare in the segregated maximum-security section of the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Family and friends are prohibited from visiting. Except for Assemblies of God Chaplain Pamela Moore, two other chaplains at the institution and support staff, few others are allowed in the secure unit.
  • Ministry to the fourth world
    Alvin Worthley has been a prison chaplain at institutions across the United States, and most recently was assistant chaplaincy administrator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., before becoming correctional ministries representative at the Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield, Mo. Worthley spoke recently with Joel Kilpatrick, an associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.
  • The Greatest Treasure of All
    While most people their age are enjoying their "golden years", Chaplain Swank and his wife, Betty, are ever-busy in ministry to prisoners. This would seem a dangerous undertaking to most, but it doesn’t phase these two, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June of 2004.
  • Prison filled with Holy Spirit
    For years, Chaplain David Walker prayed daily for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the lives of the prisoners at the Wabash Correctional Facility, Indianapolis, Ind. He was fervent in his prayers until one day God specifically put it on his heart to speak to the prisoners on August 24, 2003. Originally, Walker
  • Out of the Blue
    Inmate John Smith* was admitted to Neuse Correctional Institution, Goldsboro, NC, a minimum custody unit on September 21, 1998 for being convicted of DWI and possession of marijuana. At 26 years of age, he committed his life to Jesus Christ and faithfully attended chapel services until his release January 22, 1999. Upon his release, he attended a local church and one of our volunteers, Bill Mulligen, took
  • Chaplain gains credibility
    In 1971, Joe Lenna served an 11-month sentence in the North Carolina prison system for dealing and possession of narcotics. He had just returned from a Vietnam tour of duty and moved to the Tar Heel State from Brooklyn, N.Y. Today, Lenna is as familiar with the prison system as anybody.
  • Forgiveness and restoration
    Chaplain Alex Taylor serves as chaplaincy service administrator for the Florida Department of Corrections. He oversees 102 chaplains working at 52 major institutions, 28 camps and 25 work release centers among some 80,000 inmates. Taylor spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor.

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