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2002 PE Report stories


Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001)

KingdomBuy.com caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)


2000 News Digest stories

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry

(June 24, 2001)

Kathy Radke is quick to tell people, teasingly, she has been in and out of jail since she was 13 years old. As a teen, she and other members from her youth group held Sunday afternoon services in an area jail. She’s been involved in prison ministry ever since.

Heeding the call: Kathy Radke leads inmates in prayer at the end of a service.

 

In addition to her responsibilities as an associate minister at Westbank Cathedral (Assemblies of God) in Marrero, La., Radke serves as the Protestant chaplain at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center and at the Rivarde Juvenile Detention Center. Her responsibilities include coordinating worship services and Bible studies, as well as scheduling volunteers and area churches to minister at the centers.

The need for prison ministry is increasing as the number of inmates rises. "The prison population in the U.S. is at more than 2 million, and it’s growing," says Alvin Worthley, Institutional and Occupational Chaplaincy representative for the A/G, who notes that there are 93 endorsed correctional chaplains in the Fellowship. "It is one of the largest mission fields in the United States."

"We are fighting crime from the inside out," Radke says. "Once inmates receive Christ, they become model prisoners. Deputies can tell the difference. God wipes the slate clean."

Volunteer ministers help chaplains shoulder the load with their involvement in mentoring and leading church services and Bible studies. "Volunteers bring a sense of normalcy to a correctional facility," Worthley says. "They have the opportunity to show by their actions the love of Christ and proclaim the message. They become models for inmates of how a Christian handles things that come up in life, showing inmates an alternative lifestyle."

Radke and other chaplains look for volunteers who are compassionate. "We want people who have the gift of mercy," she says. "I’m not here because I think everyone is innocent. I’m here because we all need Jesus."

One of the challenges of her ministry, says Radke, is the high turnover rate at the centers. Each year, more than 2,000 juveniles come through Rivarde and 36,000 inmates come through Jefferson Parish, which will soon nearly double its size from 700 to 1,200.

Prison work can be frustrating, says Radke, because the turnover rates make long-term results difficult to measure. Radke refers those who desire a life change to Teen Challenge programs for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. According to Radke, several Teen Challenge students she has referred now express interest in entering vocational ministry.

Radke says prison ministry is a biblical mandate. "Prisoners have made horrible mistakes," she says. "Many of them know they have a problem and are crying out for help — prison is one of the best times to reach them with the message of Christ."

Integrating former prisoners into local churches is also important. "There has been a revival going on in a number of prisons," Worthley says. "But we lose people when we don’t know how to assimilate them [into local churches]."

— Katy Attanasi

 

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