The Central Illinois District has an opportunity to expand Prison Ministry. In the recent past, the District did Prison Ministry through two experienced LCMS clergymen who also served as chaplains, each for more than one prison. The District paid them or the congregations they served for their time and effort. Now we are moving to a newer model, in which the District will pay a flat $5000 a year to any congregation that allows its pastor to go to a nearby prison or jail once a week, usually for part of a day such as a morning or afternoon. This new approach should enable us to expand prison ministry to a larger number of institutions.
This is a good time for us to transition to a new model of Prison Ministry. Pastor Chuck Olander recently retired from chaplaincy work at two institutions in Lincoln, and Pastor Steve Southward just transferred to the church triumphant – but not before he made two last visits to the Pittsfield Work Camp in June! The time is ripe for the District to put in place a new generation of Prison Ministry workers. Under the new model, congregations will have perhaps an enhanced sense of involvement in Prison Ministry, as they lend their pastors to this important work. Then too, the congregations will receive some additional financial support.
Our District got this approach to Prison Ministry from our neighboring District to the south, Southern Illinois, which is easily the leading District in the entire Synod when it comes to Prison Ministry. For years, Southern Illinois District has been offering about $5000 to any congregation whose pastor goes into a prison or jail once a week throughout a year. And if this pastor visits a second prison each week, the congregation gets a total of $10,000 from the District. In central Illinois, our capability to do this kind of thing will be dependent on Dollar for Missions funds. We are hoping to begin ministry at four new prisons during the year 2024.
Amount to be funded: $20,000
Project: Stipends to pastors to begin visiting four new prisons or jails in 2024
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