It is good to be on board with OJPM. I pastored for forty-two years and retired from the pastorate back in May. Actually I retired/retooled. I am very aware that my ministry calling is for life. Consequently, after moving to the lake and as a result of being a high school classmate and life friend with Tim Gentry our executive chaplain, the idea of being a chaplain began to materialize. The end result is, I started this month as the chaplain for McIntosh County.
As a new chaplain, I have been a bit surprised by the number of requests from the inmates to visit with the chaplain. I am sure this is largely due to the fact that they have been without a chaplain for a couple of months. The purpose of requested visits have been varied and numerous. They have covered everything from spiritual needs to the very temporal and secular as I am sure you’ve also experienced.
However, if there is anything that stands out initially in this ministry endeavor, it has been my sense of some of the inmates feeling a bit of hopelessness and that of being at a dead end. It tugs at my heart. Having a son and a daughter-in-law who are both attorneys, I certainly understand to some extent how the wheels of justice turn and the importance of them doing so. Yet, I struggle with anyone having to feel like there is no hope or that they are at a dead end.
Consequently, this is where you and I experience some fulfillment in this ministry. It is also at this point that we feel like we are doing something for the good of the inmate and something that is Great Commission in nature. As long as there is Jesus and the opportunity to propagate the message of Christ there is never a reason for any inmate to be without hope. Hallelujah!
Chaplain Gary Caldwell