Registration is open for the second synodwide “Training and Equipping Conference for Prison and Jail Ministry,” set for Sept. 29-30 in St. Louis, at the Crowne Plaza St. Louis Airport hotel.
The Rev. John Fale, interim co-executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission, said the conference is designed to acquaint individuals (pastors and laity) or congregations that are engaged in or want to be engaged in prison and jail ministry “with proven models of pastoral and lay prison and jail visitation and to equip them to return to their districts to train others interested in establishing or supporting visitation programs.”
The Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, speaker emeritus of “The Lutheran Hour” radio program, will be the keynote speaker at the two-day conference. He has worked with imprisoned Native Americans and has visited with prisoners being persecuted for their faith in many countries.
Plenary speakers and their topics are:
- the Rev. James Keurulainen, former president of the LCMS New England District and chaplain at Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham, Mass., who will give examples from scriptural passages and his prison work over the past 34 years that show how prisoners are “set free” by hearing the Bible’s message of salvation.
- Kimberly Loontjer, director of Impact Measurement and Grant Services for Wheat Ridge Ministries, Itasca, Ill., who will highlight the work of Wheat Ridge in providing grants for ex-offenders ministries and outline the elements for building a sustainable ministry.
- the Rev. Eric Schillo, a retired pastor from West Des Plaines, Iowa, who has master’s degrees in both counseling and corrections, and who will discuss the criminal personality.
Also featured will be a panel of Southern Illinois District members involved in prison ministry who will discuss how the district’s prison and jail ministry began and how other districts can increase their participation.
Information also will be provided on resources for prison ministry, including devotional booklets for prisoners and a Bible-study program for incarcerated men and women.
Sixteen sectionals will be offered on prison-ministry topics such as mentoring to inmates and their families, addressing addictions from a Law-and-Gospel perspective, in-prison volunteering, and the challenge of ministering to those of other languages and cultures.
Registration for the conference that begins at 1 p.m. on Sept. 29 and ends at 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 30 is $50 per person if made on or before Aug. 1 and $75 after Aug. 1. The fee includes dinner on Saturday evening, Sunday lunch and the conference packet. Those wishing to attend should contact their district offices to see if scholarships are available to cover their expenses.
Registration forms are available for downloading from the Southern Illinois District’s (SID) website (click here, then on “Forms/Registrations”).
Hotel reservations may be made by contacting the Crowne Plaza St. Louis Airport hotel at 314-291-6700. A special rate of $68.66 plus taxes per night is available for conference attendees by using the group code “PMC” when making reservations.
The conference is being held in response to Res. 6-05, “To Encourage Continued Emphasis on Prison and Jail Ministry,” that delegates passed overwhelmingly at the 2010 LCMS Regular Convention.
One of that resolution’s resolves states in part “that the Synod sponsor another synodwide prison and jail ministry conference prior to the next LCMS convention.” The first synodwide training and equipping conference for prison and jail ministry was held in 2005, hosted by LCMS World Relief and Human Care and the SID with a grant from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML).
The LWML has provided another grant for the September conference. The SID prison conference committee is encouraging all districts to be represented by a participant at this conference.
For more information about the conference, contact Deaconess Sandy Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-234-4767, ext. 55.
Posted July 9, 2012 / Updated July 23, 2012