Saturday, June 17, 2006
June 17, 2005
PRISON MINISTRY TASK FORCE
CONVENES IN WICHITA
Wichita, KS - On May 24-25, 2005, a Task Force met here for two days of discussion on the development of an inter orthodox Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry under the aegis of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).
This gathering of 12 persons interested or actively involved in Prison Ministry was convened by Mr. Eric Namee of Wichita, in fulfillment of a decision by the SCOBA hierarchs, at their last meeting, to initiate this effort. Such a ministry is mandated by the teaching of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to visit those in prison (Matt 28: ), as well as by the growing need to minister to the spiritual and material needs of Orthodox Christians incarcerated in the ever increasing number of prisons in the United States, as well as to their families.
Following a period of sharing what individual Orthodox priests and lay people are already doing in prison ministry, the discussion focused in on what is needed to coordinate these efforts and to promote further cooperation and expansion of this work.
The discussions concluded with the establishment of several committees charged with gathering the information required and to prepare a proposal for the establishment of a new Agency under SCOBA.
Those present participated in a Divine Liturgy at the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, which hosted breakfast and lunch for the group. Bishop Basil of Wichita participated in the discussions, as did Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, general secretary of SCOBA. In addition to Mr. Namee, other participants were: Dennis Dunn, Chris Finger, Eric Grant, Frs. Emmanuel Mantzouris, David Ogan, Duane Pederson and Stephen Powley, and Kory Warr.