Area Christians Together in Service
Prior Events and Sharers
ACTS Friday Breakfast
The sharer during our July 26, 2019 meeting was Larry DeWitt.
Larry DeWitt has been an ACTS member for the past several years. He and his wife Robin have been married for 45 years and are originally from Louisville, Kentucky. They have lived in Horseheads for the past 32 years and are part of the body of Christ with specific fellowship at Maranatha Bible Chapel (CMA). They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
Larry is a graduate of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky with a degree in Environmental Science and Physics. He was employed by Corning Incorporated for 36 years in Glass Production and Worldwide Safety Management. He retired 4 years ago and remains active with bible study groups, tennis, softball, shuffleboard and church buildings and grounds responsibilities.
Larry’s testimony will tell of the calling of God on his life from the early 1970’s to present day. It has been an exciting journey clearly marked with God’s guidance, intervention, blessing and grace as only God can do.
The sharer during our June 28, 2019 meeting was Brian Henry
Saving Grace Ministries of Elmira, Inc. (Grace House) is a faith-based transitional residence program located in Elmira, New York. Their mission is to provide a smooth transition to community life for men recently released from a correctional facility, by providing a highly-structured program based on Christian principles. Their target population is homeless adult males who are under supervision by the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (Parole).
Brian Henry has been serving as the Executive Director of Grace House since June, 2016. Prior to Saving Grace Ministries, Brian has worked in public accounting and in a variety of finance roles for a number of manufacturing companies including Apple, Inc., Synthes USA, and DePuy Synthes, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. As Controller for Synthes USA, he assisted with the plant startup in 2001 when the company moved into the Elmira area and played a key role in its success until the acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2012. He served as Global Cost Manager for DePuy Synthes until 2016.
In 2016, Brian and his wife, Donna, felt a calling to serve the local community in ministry. They formed a non-profit, Kamie’s Hope Ministries, serving young women and Brian became associated with Saving Grace, as well. Brian and Donna have been married for 38 years, have two daughters, and four grandchildren. They worship at Higher Hope Church in Big Flats and assisted in the church plant in 2006. They currently live in Elmira.
Saving Grace Ministries – Website
Saving Grace Ministries of Elmira – Webpage
The sharer during our June 14, 2019 meeting was Gail Williams
About half the population will experience a traumatic event in at some point in their lives; some will develop PTSD as a result, most won’t. But for those who do, life is different. Trauma hides or changes the original self, and their behaviors or issues come to define who they are. And for those who grow up in traumatic homes, it is almost impossible to differentiate between the trauma and the true self. Life is very, very hard.
Growing up in a domestically violent home changed Gail William’s original self. Gail believed the bad behaviors and negative attitudes she presented for all of her adult life was who she was, who God meant her to be. In February 2018, Gail began working with a therapist doing a technique called EMDR, that is successfully “unpacking” the trauma, and she has and continues to experience life altering results. She now knows the behaviors and attitudes were the trauma, not who she really is.
Gail is 54 and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She has worked for Chemung County for almost 15 years, spending 9 years in Child Protective Services, and the last 6 as a Case Manager for the Department of Aging. She is committed to educating people about trauma and bringing awareness to PTSD and how it controls a person, but most importantly, to spreading a message of hope that healing is possible.
The sharers during our May 31, 2019 meeting were David and Cynthia Pearson
David and Cynthia grew up in Central America as missionary kids. Their experiences as third culture children gave them a heart for the nations. Together they cofounded I Thirst International in 2009, a non-profit committed to providing clean water and small business training in developing nations. They have traveled extensively in 10 countries leading short term teams and doing clean water projects and business training.
David owned and operated Pearson Seamless Gutters for 27 years which he turned over to his son, Joseph, in 2018 because God was calling them to have a deeper, long term impact in missions. Now they live in Nepal where they are doing business as mission setting up a small business training center and incubator called NuVenture Nepal.
The sharer during our Friday, May 17, 2019 was Clayton Templar with Gideons
We are active members and Friends of the Cross Church. We are active with CEF Ministries children’s Evangelical Fellowship as a board member. I recently accepted the president’s position for the area Gideons in Chemung County.
The sharer during our Friday, May 3, 2019 was David Stalbird with Child Evangelism Fellowship
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CFF) is a worldwide organization of born again believers with the purpose of evangelizing children with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and planting them in a church for Christian living. We accomplish this mission with the following ministries:
- Good News Clubs consists of dynamic Bible lesson, songs, games and a memory verse.
- Christian Youth in Action is a program where we train teenagers and young adults to reach children with the gospel in the summer.
- Vacation Bible Schools and 5 Day Clubs consists of a Bible lesson, songs, games, and a memory verse.
- CEF also shares the gospel at major outreach events such as the Chemung County Fair, Cabin Fever Fun Day, Hope of Christmas in Elmira and Sparkle of Christmas in Corning.
Child Evangelism Fellowship
ACTS Good Friday Celebration
ACTS Friday Breakfast
The sharer during our Friday, April 5, 2019 was Deborah Kuehner
The Potter’s Hands Foundation is a faith-based, non-profit 501c3 organization committed to serving survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking as they work through the process of restoration and healing.
Guided by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Word of God, The Potter’s Hands Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to providing a safe, secure environment in which girls will receive mental health counseling, be nurtured in physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, and be equipped with the skills necessary for self-reliance and reintegration to society through building a support network of healthy relationships with family, friends, church, and community.
The sharer during our Friday, March 22, 2019 was Bishop Joseph Mutua
Bro. Joseph is the founding General Overseer to Cornerstone Christian Church, a network of 90+ churches in Kenya, Tanzania, and Congo. He is an excellent teacher and father in the faith whose motto is: To Reach, To Teach, To Send. He also does missionary work throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, and the US. Before beginning the Cornerstone denomination, Joseph served with the “Deliverance” denomination of Kenya for over 30 years and was the #3 man from the top over 2000 churches. He also ministered alongside Paul Yongi Cho from South Korea, who has one of the largest churches in the world. This was at a crusade held in Kenya years back where there were thousands attending it in the Nairobi soccer stadium.
The sharer during our Friday, March 8, 2019 was Deacon Paul Sartori
Paul Sartori is the Directing Attorney for Sullivan Trail Legal Society, Inc. which acts as the Attorney for the child in Family Court and Supreme Court matters. He has held that role since 1997. Prior to that, he was engaged in the general practice of law focusing on civil and criminal litigation.
Attorney Sartori was ordained a deacon for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in 2010 and was assigned to St. Mary’s Parish on Elmira’s southside. In 2018, St. Mary’s consolidated with two other parishes to form the parish of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Paul continues his work as a deacon with that parish.
Paul sees a connection between his work as an attorney for children and his ministry as a deacon. “A deacon’s role is primarily to bring the presence of Christ to others through humble and faithful service.” Recognizing that we are all imperfect vessels of Christ’s love, Paul strives to live his diaconal call in all aspects of his life.
Paul grew up in Elmira and attended Elmira schools through his graduation in 1976. He went on to Hamilton College, graduating in 1980 with an AB in Philosophy and English. In 1985, Paul graduated from Boston University School of Law and was admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York in 1986. He received a masters in pastoral studies from St. Bernard’s Institute in 2010. Paul enjoys spending his spare time traveling, reading and spending time with his nieces and nephews.
The sharer during our Friday, February 22, 2019 was Sylvie E. Farr
Sylvie is the Executive Director of Chemung County Habitat for Humanity.
Chemung County Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a global, nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. We build strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.
Our mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Our vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
The principles that we follow:
- Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.
- Focus on shelter.
- Advocate for affordable housing.
- Promote dignity and hope.
- Support sustainable and transformational development.
What we do:
In Chemung County, a lack of safe, affordable housing options and an aging housing infrastructure are both a cause and an effect of poverty. We revitalize communities by rehabilitating existing homes and selling them to low-income families. We partner with first-time homebuyers in our community to help them improve a place they can call home.
Habitat partner families invest “Sweat Equity” hours by working alongside our volunteers to renovate their own home or the homes of other Habitat families. In addition to construction, Habitat partner families earn Sweat Equity by volunteering at events, assisting with administrative tasks, and taking financial and homeownership training classes.
Upon completion of construction, the homes are sold to Habitat homeowners at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The proceeds from the sale of the homes are used to fund renovation of more Habitat homes. With community support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.
Their website is: www.chemungcountyhabitat.org
The sharer during our Friday, February 8, 2019 was Rev. David Daniels
Rev. David Daniels:
Personal: Raised in a Christian family in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Made a commitment to Jesus at age 7, baptized at 12. Married to Charlene Emily Adams, December 16, 1972. We have 3 incredible kids — Angela, 40, married to Mike, with 2 girls, 2 boys; Sarah, married to Steven, with 2 boys, 2 girls; Ian, married to Rachel, with 3 boys. That’s 11 grandchildren. 1 teenager, 10 between 2 and 9. We are the first, on either side of our families, to have all of their children with college degrees.
Education & Employment: Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan B.A., English Literature, 1970. (Oakland is now a separate university, but at that time it was a branch of Michigan State.) M. Div., 1974, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, S. Hamilton, MA. Worked in Christian bookstores for about 20 years — Cambridge, MA; Lansing, MI; Ann Arbor, MI; Ithaca, NY; Elmira, NY. Retail buyer, Cornell Campus Store, Ithaca, NY, 1990-2003. Retired from Cornell, 2003.
Ministry: Ordained, American Baptist Churches, USA, January, 2000. Interim Pastor, First Baptist, Moravia, NY, 1998-99. Interim Pastor, South Side Baptist, Elmira, NY, 1999-2000. Interim Pastor, Memorial Baptist, Cortland, NY, 2000. Pastor, South Side Baptist, May, 2003. Things get fuzzy after that… 2003-2008, full-time position, South Side Baptist. 2008-2011, part-time position at South Side. Part-time Pastor, Reading Community Church, Reading, NY 2008- current. Interim Pastor, First Baptist, Elmira, NY, 2009-2011. Full-time at United Baptist (merger of South Side & First Baptist), 2011-2012. Part-time Pastor, Second Milo Baptist, Penn Yan, NY 2013- current.
Volunteer Work: Food Panty of Schuyler County; Chemung County Habitat for Humanity.
Our sharers for Friday, January 25, 2019
was John Erway with ABWE Ghana
As a team, ABWE Ghana has developed a four-part guiding document that we call our “sandbox”:
- Mission: We exist to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches.
- Central Ministry Focus: To develop and empower leaders and passionate Christ followers
- Guiding Principles: We are committed to being Biblically-based, mentoring, equipping nationals without creating dependency, providing and receiving accountability, learning through ongoing training, empowering teammates and nationals, and utilizing available resources.
Additonal information for this ministry may be found on their website: http://www.jterway.com
Our first sharers for the new year on Friday, January 11, 2019 were
Mike and Glenda Miller from Border Buddies Ministries.
The purpose of the Border Buddies mission is to improve the outlook and strength of families and keep youth from entering the gangs in Tegucigalpa by offering:
- Christ-centered youth groups
- Sponsorships for children to attend school
- Improved and expanded schools
- Sponsored small business start-ups
- Tailoring classes
- Prison ministry
- Short-term construction teams
- Short-term medical teams
Link to additional information: Border Buddies Ministries, Inc.
Our Sharer for Friday, November 30, 2018 was:
Dirk Olds, Financial Advisor
Dirk was born and raised in the Southern Tier. He earned a four-year degree from West Virginia University in Education. After 10 year in the service industry, Dirk felt a calling to helping others and worked to become a financial services representative in 1993. His successful career began as an advisor with two major insurance companies. Following a promotion to manager, he started his own firm. Dirk joined the Ambassador Advisors team in 2014. He is current working with Border Buddies Ministries and the Potter’s Hands Foundation.
Dirk sharee his story and personal thoughts relating to stewardship. At 9:00 am, after our regular ACTS meeting, Ambassador Advisors will presented a free financial seminar for the benefit of Border Buddies Ministries and the Potter’s Hands Foundation. The title of the presentation was: Planned Giving and the Pathway to a Lasting Legacy.
Our Sharer for Friday, November 2, 2018 was:
Rev. William Reynolds
Spiritual Care Counselor at Carefirst
Bill Reynolds is an ACPE Certified Educator and ordained and endorsed for institutional chaplaincy by the American Baptist Churches, USA. Bill was born in Weirsdale, Florida and is the son of now retired Southern Baptist missionaries in Germany and Belgium. Bill was a philosophy major at Furman University and received his M.Div. at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His first unit of CPE was at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, NC in 1986, where he later completed a residency year.
After serving with his wife, Rev. Debbie Bennett Reynolds, as Co-Ministers for Education, Mission and Youth at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, he resumed his clinical and Certified Educator training in 1993 at Egleston Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) through the Emory Center for Pastoral Services. He was Associate Director of Chaplaincy Services at the University of Rochester Medical Center from 2004 – 2017.
He joined the CareFirst Hospice team as a Spiritual Care Counselor (part-time) in November, 2017 and became full-time in March, 2018. Bill became an ACPE Certified Educator in 2000. His clinical interests are palliative care and hospice, pastoral care with children and adolescents, staff support and bioethics. His wife is Pastor at First Baptist Church in Ithaca. They have two young adult children, Anna and Luke. He enjoys winter sports, cycling, hiking and camping.
Our Sharer for Friday, October 19, 2018 was:
Dr. Cary Shaw
Dr. Shaw has been the Head of School at Twin Tiers Christian Academy in Horseheads, NY since 1996 and on staff at the Academy since 1990. It was an interest in mathematics coupled with a burden to minister to young people that initially led him to pursue a degree in mathematics and secondary education at Cedarville University after securing a master’s degree from Elmira College and his teacher certification through New York State.
Dr. Shaw started teaching college courses at the Academy as an adjunct professor for Corning Community College. In 2015, he received his doctorate from Binghamton University after completing a national study on the history of Christian education in the United States. Through the years, Dr. Shaw’s greatest joy comes from seeing the transformative effect of a biblical worldview education in the lives of his students.
In addition to his work at the Academy, Dr. Shaw’s interests include coaching as well as officiating basketball, long distance running, and spending time with his wife, Kathy, and their four children.
Our Sharer for Friday, October 5, 2018
Gayle is a lifelong believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, having trusted Him as her Savior when she was 12 years old. She spent 42 years in the therapy profession, first in the VA system, and then 28 years as the Senior Physical Therapist at St Joseph’s Hospital Inpatient Rehab Unit. She was a licensed local pastor from 1996 through 2000 and is currently at Penn Ave United Methodist Church as the maintenance manager and previously as the Worship Producer. The title she has choosen for her presentation is:
Stand Up, Living a Life of Integrity
A real passion for her is Border Buddies Ministries, having done 10 mission trips to Honduras with Mike and Glenda Miller. She is retired and lives at home with her 2 kitty cats.
September 21, 2018
Our own member, Brad Lytle, updated us on the progress of Luke & Lauren Smallcomb and family in their mission in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Brad is Lauren’s father. Luke and Lauren have been in country for a year and a half. They have experienced many challenges and have seen God working in wonderful ways. Brad presented a Power Point Presentation, prepared by Luke and Lauren, detailing how the Lord called them to their mission, what has happened to them since they answered the call, what they have seen and done and how they are coping with the many challenges.
As has been explained previously to ACTS, Luke, a graduate of Columbia International University, with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and Lauren is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Nutritional Therapist. The primary mission Luke is involved in is through “The Well” as a counselor to other missionaries who are having family or marital problems. Until recently, these missionaries have had no one to turn to for assistance. Lauren is involved with many missionary families and Thai people, helping them with matters of physical, as well as spiritual health. The kids, well…they are kids!
Additional information can be found on their website: Filled2Bless and on actstt.org/shepherds-staff-mission-facilitators
Date: Saturday – September 8, 2018
Time: 8:00 am
Location: Community Wesleyan Church, 2095 Grand Central Ave, Horseheads, NY 14845
NO CHARGE FOR BREAKFAST. 100% of a free will offering collected during this event will be added to our MISSIONS fund for distribution prior to the end of each year.
We look forward to the sharing of Mary Ann Bernard
I have known God all my life, loved Jesus since a child. I was called by God to ministry; Studied Psychology/Religious Studies at the University of North Dakota graduating in 1978, Graduated From Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a M.Div. in 1982; was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1980.
My ministry has been in traditional church settings in North Dakota, Iowa and New York; and also in non-church settings like working at the YWCA with homeless women in Maine, and with Healthy Start program in Hawaii and the Head Start program in Schuyler County. God has called me both in and out of the church to serve God’s people.
My focus will be to share about that call, the rhythm of moving in and out of the church, and to challenge us all to let our faith not be kept separate from our daily lives, but truly live a “faith at work.” I’m in my 12th year of working at Bethany Village as Director of Pastoral Care. When not there, I read, write, care for angora goats, spin and weave their fiber, and generally celebrate God’s presence.
Rev. Mary Ann Bernard
Director of Pastoral Care – Bethany Village
ACTS Friday Breakfast
August 24, 2018
Rick Snavely is the CEO/General Manager for Family Life. Their multiple state ministry is greatly appreciated by ACTS members. Additional information relating to this ministry can be found on their website: www.fln.org . Rick’s topic was “God’s Assignments”. He shared personal thoughts relating to: the Lord’s leading, some Biblical insights on how the Lord uses us to do His work, and the Family Life new building project.
Rick’s bio is included on their website: Rick Snavely
August 10, 2018
Walter Whitson was born and raised in Elmira and continued this tradition with his own family. Walt earned his degree in liberal arts, mathematics and physics at Elmira College while providing for/raising a family and holding down 2 jobs. He was an engineer at Westinghouse for 44 years.
Walt learned about the Lord at a young age through his mother and Nellie Biedelman. He came to accept the Lord through the birth of his first born, Bonnie, who had severe physical and mental disabilities. He has blossomed as a servant of Christ’s and hasn’t stopped growing daily in the Lord.
His passion is sharing the word of Christ’s salvation to those who have not accepted and/or grown with the Lord’s gift, thus leading him to the prison ministry. Walt started out in the prison ministry in 1990 at the Elmira Reformatory facility. In 1992, while he and his wife, Virginia, where living in Florida during the winter with their daughter, Debbie, he met Charlie Rozzelle, leader of the prison ministry for Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Charlie introduced Walt to the prison spiritual cell at the Conte facility and Walt has been preaching the Lord’s word there since.
July 27, 2018
Father Lew Brown
Father Brown was born and raised in Elmira. Educated at Elmira Catholic Schools. Seminary education at St. Bernard’s in Rochester. Ordained in 1967 by Bishop Fulton Sheen for the Diocese of Rochester. Served at various parishes in the Diocese for 18 years.
Commissioned a US Navy Chaplain in 1985. Over the course of 22 years assigned to Marines in Okinawa, Japan, shipboard on USS Nimitz (CVN-68), with the submariners in Washington State, with the Destroyer & Frigate squadrons in Norfolk, VA, with the Navy aviators in Virginia Beach, VA, at the Washington Navy Yard with duties at Arlington National Cemetery, finally at Naval Training Command, Great Lakes, IL.
Returning to the Diocese of Rochester in 2008, he was assigned to All Saints Parish in Coming. He retired from parish administration in 2012 and continues to help in area Catholic churches.
July 13, 2018
Leanne is with the Discipling The Nations minisitry. Intro thoughts from her include:
I have been in Austria for 34 years. I tell my Austrian friends that I was born in Canada but made for Austria. It’s home!
My sons are Jonathan 20 who is in college in Austria to become a kindergarten teacher and David 15 who will be in tenth grade in Vienna come fall.
My main focus is discipleship. In my local Austrian church I am deaconess for women’s ministries. My goal is to teach women how to teach women and to live as the daughter of the King in every day life.
Additional information is included on her outreach ministry page:
June 22, 2018
Mark Erway has been a supporter of Michael and Glenda Miller since before they began Border Buddies Ministries back in 2004 and he has served as Vice President of the corporation for 14 years, He and Dale Cleveland traveled to Honduras for two weeks in 2004 to assist Mike and Glenda in their prison ministry effort, and they were on the very first shorter-term construction team in 2005. Since then Mark has been on 11 construction teams and a medical team, having just served on Team #50 that returned on June 5h. The Border Buddies motto is “Bringing the Heart of Christ to the Heart of Honduras”,and Mark’s passion is helping to recruit team members and showing them how they can be a short-term missionary, too. It is a life-changing experience to step out in faith and serve others in the name of Jesus, not only for team members but for the youth and adults with whom we interact in Honduras.
We (Border Buddies) have repaired four schools already and are in our third year of renovations at the 21st of October Institute, and Junior/Senior High School, where we will have added 11 classrooms and a computer lab when all is said and done. 20 of our teams have worked there investing many hundreds of hours of labor and well over $100,000 in materials. A huge impact is being made on all of the students and their families resulting in increased enrollment, higher grades and more graduates. The schools’ Principal visited our area last January to sing the praises and promote support for the work going on. The parents and guardians are in full support of Michael holding Bible study classes for the youth there during the day as well as having youth group meetings in the evenings. We have installed a complete surveillance system to help the staff with discipline. Additionally, through our “One Child Sponsorship” program, we now have just over 300 students whose education, tuition, uniform and books are being supported by folks from our area.
Retired from the Hilliard Corporation and retired from the United Methodist Church as a Local Pastor, he stays involved in disciplining through active involvement in the technologies group of Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church at their Pine City, Arnot Mall and Watkins Glen locations. Mark and Anne will celebrate their 48th anniversary on June 27th. We are blessed to have our son Benjamin, his wife Gabrielle and their daughter Emily living close by, and by John and Tamara who are missionaries to Ho, Ghana with ABWE.
June 8, 2018
Greatly appreciate the inspiring and educational message from Dale Cleveland during our meeting on Friday, June 8, 2018. Dale asks all to consider the following support opportunity:
“In 2016 Victory Highway church began sponsoring the construction of a school library in Gales Point Manatee, Belize. This June a team will be going down to complete the construction and hopefully stock the shelves with good quality books. We will be purchasing a large number of the books in Belize because of the high cost of shipping. With your donation we will be able to purchase the necessary books to make this a valuable and viable library for the school and even the community. Thank you for considering partnering with us. Clink on the link (or copy and paste) below to donate.”
The Great Commission tells us In Matthew 28:19-20 to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Dale Cleveland likes to think of himself as an enabler, which is not always a bad thing. Dale’s passion since retirement has been to participate in and lead Short Term Mission trips wherever God would direct. God has allowed him to go to Zambia, Africa, Honduras 11 times, Haiti 7 times, and his latest call has been to partner with a local pastor in Belize, Central America. He believes he is enabling missionaries, pastors and ministries to strengthen their ability to reach people with the life changing power of Jesus Christ, by serving them in many different ways.
Dale will be sharing some of his Short Term Mission experiences that God has allowed him to be blessed with through photos, and stories.
May 25, 2018
Chemung County Jail
Golden Key Prison Misistry
In 1985, David Knuppenburg, was on track for becoming a church pastor. But, as God often does, his life was directed onto an unexpected pathway. Shortly after returning from a Bill Gothard’s Pastor’s Conference, David was watching a local news report on television at his girlfriend’s (now wife) apartment. He watched the usual “perp walk” as the handcuffed young man is led into custody. But this time was different because David recognized this man as a friend from high school. He recalled the recent in-depth teaching he had received at the Pastor’s Conference on the work of ministry from Matthew 25:31-46.
The verse that particularly struck him was where Jesus had said, “…I was in prison and you came unto me.” (verse 36). That one phrase changed the course of David’s life. He went to visit his friend in the Chemung County Jail and shared with him the booklet, “Steps to Peace in Christ”. His friend asked Dave to see a friend that he met in jail and that friend had a friend and soon Dave was making weekly jail visits and on the path to prison ministry. He began preaching on Sundays at the jail and met George Keith and Ed Coby who were working with Pastor Doug Smith of Golden Key Prison Ministry.
“Chaplain Dave”, as he has been known for 25 years now, feels that the work of the chaplain is “to be available as a role model of Christ, to help escort people on their spiritual journeys.” He also actively recruits and trains volunteers to fulfill the roles that God has called them to so he has a large group of active volunteers at Chemung County.
Additional information relating to this ministry may be found on their website: http://www.goldenkeyprisonministry.org
The following is the completed “fill in the blank” form shared by David during our meeting.
Hang Tough Together – Philippians 3:12-16
- The Plan is Progress not Perfection (v 12a & v 13a)
- The Past is over Forget it. (v 13b)
- The Future holds our Hope (v 13c)
- The secret is a determined Attitude (v 15a)
- The need is keeping a High Standard Together (v 16)