A new book on United Methodist prison ministry suggests a holistic framework for ministry with the incarcerated, their families, and victims of crime.
I Was In Prison: United Methodist Perspectives on Prison Ministry, published by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, is the subject of a panel discussion at the 2008 Criminal Justice Summit at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., November 20-22, 2008.
"As a church both obsessive and compulsive about our decline and anxious about our institutional future, I Was in Prison calls us afresh to regain our souls by going where the hurt is and casting our lot with the most vulnerable," Bishop Gregory V. Palmer wrote in the foreword to the book. Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops and resident bishop of the Illinois area, is the former president of GBHEM.
Hendrik Pieterse, GBHEM's book editor, said the book is aimed at the work of three interrelated communities: endorsed chaplains and others who serve primarily inside prisons, congregational and community-based leaders and ministries, and seminaries and theological schools.
"Contributors offer penetrating theological, sociological, historical, institutional, and practical insights that can help United Methodists engage prison ministry with integrity and hope," Pieterse said.
The agenda for the November 20-22 summit includes a book signing by the editors: James M. Shopshire Sr., professor of the Sociology of Religion and an elder in the Iowa Annual Conference; Mark C. Hicks, founding director of Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of NC, Inc., and an elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference; and Richmond Stoglin, a Navy chaplain at Camp LeJeune, N.C., and an elder in the Mississippi Annual Conference, who spent more than 20 years as a prison chaplain with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.