Department Head: Melvin Mitchell
Dear Colleagues In Ministry:
Just a note to let you know what happened at APMOA's 1st Biennial International Prison Ministry Convention, held in Charlotte, N.C. July 27-31, 2016.
Following the theme of, “Moving Forward: Raising the Standard,” numerous presenters and speakers held multiple and simultaneous seminars throughout the convention. Sharing their courage, strengths, knowledge, and expertise with one another, topics included everything from giving Bible studies to offenders, ministering to and not forgetting our incarcerated youth, helping homosexual offenders grow in Christ, correspondence and letter writing campaigns, setting up 12 Step programs aimed at addiction recovery, re-entry programs preparing former prisoners to integrate back into healing communities, restorative justice, and how best to provide optimal ministry to women offenders.
Also addressed were the special needs of the offender families, who have been negatively impacted and are often innocent victims, particularly the children. Facilitating family visitations through video conferencing, providing transportation for families to and from the prison, coming along side families in whatever support role possible by ministering to their needs, has been proven to reduce the rate of recidivism and stop the generational cycle of incarceration. Representatives from The Giving Tree and Christmas Behind Bars were among the organizations sharing their ministry, touching the lives of the children and families of the incarcerated.
Each morning, the convention attendees were blessed with outstanding guest speakers for a devotional worship general session, empowering and uplifting them for the long day of seminars ahead. At evening’s close, another worship session provided equally inspired guest speakers.
Attendees were greeted on Sabbath (via video), with kind remarks and well wishes, by Elder Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. After a warm welcome from Elder David Long, Prison Ministry Director of the Southern Union, and Elder Leslie Louis, President of the Carolina Conference, two incredibly gifted and faithful women took to the platform. Anna Price, Chaplain at the Florida Dept. of Corrections, and Shelley Quinn, the Program Development Manager at 3 Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), spoke on TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More), and the power of grace, respectively. The afternoon included a Festival of Music, featuring Vonda Beerman, Joyce Smith, Helen Steele, Laurie Keplinger, Velma Lovelace, Unshackled (a quartet that included 3 former offenders), and others.
The convention closed out, on Saturday Evening, with the Alice A. Humphrey Awards Banquet. James Wetmore, from the Carolina Conference of SDA, received the "James Payne Meritorious Service Award" for his work with adult offenders and staff; Larry Barker, also from the Carolina Conference, received the "Harry James Williams Lifetime Achievement Award"; Leonel Pottinger, from the New Jersey Conference, received the "Monte Sahlin Distinguished Leadership Award"; Moses Henry, from the Ontario Conference (Canada), received the "Charles L. Cheatham Commitment to Excellence Award"; Millicent Cohn-Fairman, also from the Ontario Conference, received the "Edith E. Tucker Meritorious Service Award" for her work with children of offenders; and Leigh Lewis, from the Potomac Conference, received the 1st "Betty L. Kelley Humanitarian Award". Persons inducted into the "Alice A. Humphrey Circle of Compassion Society" were: Donna Schmidt (Minnesota Conference); Florence Darby (Arizona Conference); Doris Boyer (Allegheny East Conference); and Arthur Webb (Lake Region Conference). The next Awards Banquet, if our Lord does not return first (I pray that He does) will be held at the APMOA Prison Ministry Convocation July 28-29, 2017 in Crystal City, Virginia (just outside of Washington, D.C.). Our next Convention will be held July 25-29, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Save the dates!!
I personally look forward to seeing all of you (reading this), especially those who attended this Convention, at both events (at least one, smile). Maranatha!!!
Daniel G. McManus, APMOA President