Our Prison Ministry supports the goal of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), which is to promote positive change in behavior and reintegrate offenders into society.
Approximately one half of all inmates paroled return to prison within three years.
Gene Galloway is a Volunteer Chaplain at the Allred Unit, located on FM 369 in Iowa Park. As the Regional Director of Christ Prison Ministry, he ensures that the area congregations, of the church of Christ, have access to programs within the Unit.
There have been 582 baptisms since the beginning of the Prison Ministry at the Allred Unit in 1996 .
However, there is evidence to indicate that the return-rate, or recidivism, among inmates who complete some form of Christian-based rehabilitation program, such as Bible Correspondence Courses, Bible-based study, Bible-based worship, and personal Bible study, is 2/3 less than inmates without Christian-based education.
How do we, here at Edgemere, help the State of Texas achieve its Mission Statement?
We do this by actively participating in the following Chaplaincy Programs conducted for the James V. Allred Unit located in Iowa Park, Texas. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
- Sunday Worship Service is open to men and women, 18 years and older, who are approved volunteers. Worship service is held on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. The service lasts from 2 to 4 PM. The inmate singing group worships in song during each service. We can participate in the Unit’s worship in three ways: preaching, leading songs, worship with the inmates.
- Sunday Hospitality is the distribution of cookies to visiting offender family members, offenders, and prison guards. It is open to men and women 18 years and older. Edgemere Hospitality takes place on the third Sunday of every month. It lasts from 12:30 to 2:30 PM or until the cookies run out, whichever comes first. This is an excellent opportunity for a ministry by married couples.
- Holiday Card Distribution is open to men 18 years and older. Card distribution usually happens on a Sunday before a major holiday such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas.
- Teaching at Allred is open only to men 18 years and older. We help teach two courses, the Voyager Course and the New Life Behavior Course. The Voyager Course is a behavior enhancement curriculum authored by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Instructional Division. The course runs approximately one year. It has five modules of 10 lessons in each module. The New Life Behavior Course was developed by Hillery Motsinger from Lancaster, Texas. It is held every Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
- Correspondence with offenders provides a Christian link to the outside. It is open to both men and women 18 and older. The two ways we participate are through encouragement cards and letters. Encouragement cards are sent to recently baptized inmates. This allows us to share the joy of their new birth in Jesus Christ. The names and instructions on how to address the envelope are published in the bulletin every time men are baptized at the Allred Unit. Writing letters to inmates is a personal involvement that can be very rewarding. Strict guidelines must be followed.
- Angel Tree is open to everyone but is geared towards adult participation. This program, which takes place during Christmas, helps provide gifts to children with incarcerated parents. Participants “adopt” children living within the city limits, visit them to find out specific needs and wishes, purchase and wrap the gifts and deliver them to the child or children, on behalf of the incarcerated parent.
- Christmas Blessing Bags are distributed to the inmates at Christmas. Volunteers help stuff and distribute the bags. Anyone may help stuff the bags. Distribution is limited to men 18 and older.
- Staff Appreciation Day is held once a year for the staff at the Allred Unit. Volunteers prepare and cook hamburgers and fixin’s. This is open to men and women 18 and older.
Christ’s Prison Ministry is a wonderful opportunity to apply our Christianity .