Monday, March 24, 2008

FAITH BEHIND BARS -- Licking County Jail Ministries on Easter Weekend 2008

Hooray for the Newark Advocate! This is a remarkable multi-part story about a remarkable ministry (and yes, i'm more than a bit biased, from being involved in getting it going in 1989-93, and being president of it 2001-3). There is really almost no other locally supported, one-staffer, volunteer-based, comprehensive ministry like it around the country; there are large cities that have trouble maintaining a co-operative ministry like this, and almost no smaller counties like this one. Two dozen churches pooling resources and laying aside doctrinal matters (yes, they come up, and that's what board meetings are for!) to serve the staff and inmate population with a heaping helping of Good News right where they are.

This account confirms that "lives do change", which is why Scott Hayes is one of the central characters of this narrative, which probably embarrasses him a bit, but it's all true! There are many folks who think that lives don't change (see the comments in some of the stories below), and that's why we need to tell this tale:

Other stories in the series, and click the video/gallery links -- there's a baptism in there (actually, a couple), and just some amazing stuff showing what a ministry in action looks like:

Women's ministries:

Volunteers make an impact in the "Be A Friend" program:

Storybook program:

Prayer returning an inmate "home":

A Better Life (the comments on this first installment stayed active all weekend):

One inmate's story:

One volunteer's story:

Baptisms in the jail -- -- this baptistry is actually under the communion table/altar, and was bought by the LCJM in 1991, and getting that big old hunk of wood and polymer up there was an epic struggle! The chaplain fills it with a hose, and drains it by siphon.

Many other short videos are linked to each of these stories; check 'em out while they're still posted! Lives are transformed, and hope shines out. You'll be glad you spent the time on these.

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