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High Country Prison Ministry

By Jody Griffin

Avery and Mitchell County

 

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)

The men and women who make up the larger ministry “team” of correctional chaplains in North Carolina are gifted and devoted beyond imagination. It is such an honor for me to be counted among their number as a Community Funded Chaplain. I am always in awe of the multitude of talents and abilities whenever I hear of my fellow Chaplains’ work. They are so creative and energetic. They respect and encourage each other to become the best that we can be.

The virus that has slowed so many of us from our usual work has only increased the demand for chaplains. The staff members and administrators we serve among are under extraordinary pressure to provide a safe environment for all who fall under their realm of responsibility.

It is in this reality that chaplains seek to offer a comforting presence and encouraging words. Truthfully, I have only been reminded of how woefully inadequate I am to fulfill the high calling we are charged to bring inside the walls. But along with that reminder came affirmation that the calling of a Chaplain is valuable to individuals who live and work there as well as to the institution.

Recently, an offender who attended a Bible study I was leading requested prayer for me and for the other staff who work at our institution. Talk about being humbled…

I had struggled with feeling so unable to ‘fill the shoes’ of the many incredible religious volunteers who normally provide such rich spiritual leadership to the men housed with us. His suggestion that the men pray for their chaplain showed me that simply by being there with them I was offering them something they truly need, Hope in Jesus Christ.

Sadly, not everyone appreciates the ministry of Correctional Chaplains nor the calling to bring Christ into the facilities in which they serve. I am deeply thankful that the offenders and the staff at Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution welcome my presence among them. I recognize that like Peter, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee…

Please pray for all who live and work within the walls. These are long and difficult days, but the work continues! May God Bless You for your prayers and your support!

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Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at joseph.griffin@ncdps.gov.

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