The passing of the torch
“Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses” (New International Version 1984, Deuteronomy 34:9).
In the short time that I have been executive chaplain of OJPM, I have been privileged to minister alongside board members and chaplains Joe Williams and Bill Farley.
Joe, after serving for 17 years, recently stepped down as president of the OJPM board of directors. He will remain on the board, but because he has retired several times and is beginning an intentional interim in northeast Oklahoma, he felt it was time to step back from his current schedule.
Change is always challenging and my first reaction to Joe’s pulling back was one of concern. I believe my first thought was, “wait a minute, I just got settled in.” Yet God’s timing is usually different from our own timing and after turning 79, Joe feels it is time to pass the torch to a new leader.
Joe has overseen several transitions during his years of involvement with OJPM. From Argyl Dick to Don Duncan. From Don Duncan to me and now as part of the transition in a unique way as it involves the passing of the torch from himself to Bill.
Joe’s ministry has led him to be a key figure at such significant events as the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City, Ground Zero in New York City and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Yet if you spend any time with him you will discover that his time with OJPM is right at the top of what he considers his ministry impacts.
Likewise, Bill was a key figure in the athletic departments of football giants the University of Oklahoma and the University of Alabama. Yet he too counts OJPM ministry as some of his most important work. You can read more from Bill’s heart in an article he wrote on the regular “In their own words” column page here.
Pray for both of these gentlemen in the transitions they are going through. You can express your appreciation for their work by emailing either or both at firstname.lastname@example.org and
In last month’s newsletter I announced that Senator James Lankford would be speaking at our annual fall banquet. Senator Lankford has had a scheduling conflict come up and we are working on moving to a date that will accommodate him. If we cannot find a common date by next week, then we will go ahead with our September 18th time and find another speaker. Please go ahead and mark September 18th on your calendar and I will get you a firm word by August’s newsletter.
Speaking of August, this is the time when many churches begin gathering information to start the budget process for the following year. The schedule is usually to firm up the members of the finance or stewardship committee in August. Then begin gathering information and start praying about budget priorities in September and October. In November and early December the budgets are usually formalized and adopted for the new year starting in January.
As a volunteer with or friend of OJPM, you are especially qualified to speak to your local church about the possibility of including OJPM in its ministry budget for 2016. Please contact me about any emotional or informational support I can give you to take this meaningful step that could directly impact our outreach to inmates.
Unleashing the captives,