From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ENS - National Prison Ministry Summit to hear ex-inmates,

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date 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 042204-1

[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 
Episcopal Church.

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,, or 
Val Hymes, 301-261-4020,

--Val Hymes is editor of Prison Ministry Network News and a member of the 
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

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