From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ENS - National Prison Ministry Summit to hear ex-inmates,
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Thu, 22 Apr 2004 12:07:15 -0700
Thursday, April 22, 2004
National Prison Ministry Summit to hear ex-inmates, officials
by Val Hymes
[ENS] A former inmate who moved hundreds of thousands of people with his
daily meditations for Forward Day By Day will lead meditations at the
national Episcopal Prison Ministry Conference April 29-May 1 in Texas.
The Conference, "Engage in God's Mission Serving All His People," will be
held at the Camp Allen Conference Center of the Diocese of Texas in
Navasota, Texas. Prison officials, lay and clergy prison ministers,
lobbyists for reform and transformed ex-offenders are featured speakers.
Bo Don Cox, who spent nearly 18 years in an Oklahoma prison and was twice
denied parole, won a Society of Professional Journalists award for an essay
in the prison magazine in the early 1990s. He then authored meditations for
Forward Movement Publications in 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2002. Overwhelming
response to the meditations led to the publication of a quarterly journal,
Free Spirit, with his wife, Debra. He also wrote Lenten meditations this
year entitled Transition, and a book, God is Not in the Thesaurus, in 1999
while he was still in prison.
He was released in June 2003, and lives with Debra in Norman, Oklahoma,
where he works as a recreational therapist for a drug and alcohol treatment
center. He continues to write about his "journey."
The conference hosts are the Rt. Rev. Rayford High, bishop of the Diocese
of Texas, and the Rev. Jackie Means, director of prison ministry for the
Speakers include John Johnson IV of the Episcopal Church Office of
Government Relations; Prison Chaplain Vance Drum, secretary of the American
Correctional Chaplains' Association; Christine Melton Crain, chair of the
Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and Joan Gibson Burnham, executive
director of Texas Inmate Families Association (TIFA).
Others are Gary Johnson, executive director of the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice; Linda Schroeder, founder and director of the
Missouri-based Congregation/Offender Partnership Enterprise (COPE) inside
prisons; and Boone Vastine, attorney and founder of Initiatives for
America's Youth (IAY) and vice-chair of Juvenile Justice Ministries of Texas.
The Rev. Carmine Guerrero, national Jubilee ministries officer for the
Episcopal Church, will lead discussion on changing public policy.
Plenary sessions will focus on four themes: Working and Volunteering
Inside; Breaking the Cycle--Keeping Kids; Aftercare and Reentry Programs;
and Serving Families of Prisoners.
Other ministries to be highlighted include: Exodus Ministries, Kairos,
ABEL, Angel Tree, Disciples of Christ in Community (DOCC), Storybook
programs, Bridges to Life, the Amachi Program and camps for children of
inmates, The "Welcome Back" Connection, Adopt a Family, One Church, One
Offender, volunteer chaplain training, and ministering to the correctional
Ex-offenders will testify about transformations inside prison walls.
For information, contact Edwin Davis, 936-291-3153, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Val Hymes, 301-261-4020, email@example.com.
--Val Hymes is editor of Prison Ministry Network News and a member of the
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
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