Seaford Mission: The road from prison
By Robert Marx
Fourth in a series
This week we will meet a resident who is just beginning his journey at the Mission, and we will say farewell to several residents who are ready to move on. The new resident's story allows us to examine another service that the Mission provides: taking a man from prison life to productive life. A U.S. Department of justice study found that fully two thirds of persons released from prisons were re-arrested within three years. Nearly half of them were re-convicted. How can we reduce these alarming rates of criminal recidivism? When you leave prison without a home, as a convicted felon, your prospects can be pretty grim. This is where the Mission can provide a bridge, teaching those released to live with society instead of against it. For the purpose of this series, we will call our new Mission resident "Matthew." He describes the "long hard road" that brought him to the Mission. His life originally had a structure provided by his parents, then his structure came from a relationship. When that relationship ended badly, things started to come apart. He got into a confrontation that ended with arrest, conviction and probation. With nowhere to go, he soon violated probation, and ended up in state prison. Matthew notes that while in prison, he realized that something was desperately missing from his life. His search for meaning led to him read the book "Prison to Praise" by Merlin Carothers, given to him by an inmate. His quest for answers continued when he read the author's follow up book called "Power in Praise." He began to see that a better way of life was possible. When his time came for release, Matthew was sent to the Mission by the judge. The first night he remembers that he "didn't have to worry about a thing." He was given a bed and the people he met were friendly. Quite a change from prison, no doubt. He soon came to learn that a code of conduct and discipline accompanied the welcoming atmosphere. The next morning he began classes. He initially felt some trepidation about it, since he had not been in a classroom since high school, but he quickly warmed to the experience. The classes were faith-based and were a continuation of his education in a new way of life that he had begun in prison. Relating to his teachers was easier than he thought since they were willing to share the experiences that brought them to faith in God. He notes that "everything I see and hear at this place is good." Matthew says "the Mission gets me away," meaning away from the environment that contributed to his problems with the law. It gives him respite from the usual pressures of post-prison life, and therefore an opportunity to change the direction of his life. Since all his teachers and mentors are volunteers, he is exposed to many good examples of people who are living the principles from the Bible. As an important part of the program, residents have to develop a plan for their lives beyond the Mission. Four residents achieved their goals this past week, and have left the Mission. Two have found apartments and will live independently, and two are going to continue developing their faith and life skills at Teen Challenge. Two more residents are poised to go. One will leave when he gets an apartment, and one will move out when he passes his exam to get into the military. We wish them well and pray for their continued success.
News, Needs, and Thanks: The Christmas and New Years holiday season is usually a difficult time for Mission residents. With the many temptations, backsliding is more likely then than any other time of year. Administrator Paul Alexander happily reports that "we did not lose a soul this year!" We are still looking for volunteers with marketing or sales experience. Helping the Mission is satisfying because you can see the impact of your contributions on the life of another. You can e-mail the Mission at SeafordMission@Verizon.Net, call them at 629-2559, or write to Seaford Mission, PO Box 1271, Seaford, DE 19973. This week we wish to thank all the health professionals who donate their services to the Mission. As always, the Mission appreciates all financial help received, and especially your prayers.
Next week: Matthew's second week, a spotlight on Teen Challenge, plus News, Needs, and Thanks.
First Baptist special music
The public is invited to attend a special presentation by the Bob Jones University Musical Ministry Team at First Baptist Church of Seaford on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. The group will present a program of familiar hymns and gospel songs consisting of vocal, piano and string, as well as testimonies from team members. The leader of the team, Jon Reddick, will close the service with a brief message from the Word of God. The Musical Ministry Team is touring the Mid-Atlantic United States. The members are students at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. Bob Jones University is a Bible-believing Christian liberal arts university with an annual enrollment of 5,000 students from every state in the Union and more than 30 foreign countries.
Most Blessed Sacrament plans Dinner and Auction February 9
Most Blessed Sacrament's Home and School Association will be holding its annual Dinner/Auction at Magnolia's Restaurant in Bethany Beach on Friday, Feb. 9, from 7 p.m-11 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the door, Each $50 donation/ticket will include: Delicious appetizers, house salad and fresh baked breads, chef's choice vegetables, roasted potatoes, chicken marsala, house-rubbed flat iron steak, dessert and coffee bar, house wine and beer on tap. Silent Auction items will be set up around the two floors of the restaurant, and a Live Auction will take place after dinner, auctioning off such wonderful items as: a new Jeep donated from Barrett's of Berlin, Golf Getaway trips, Fine Jewelry, Sports tickets/ packages (Eagle's, Oriole's & Wizards), Themed Children's Parties, a Surfboard, Skateboard and Gym Memberships! The evening will be closed out by Local Delaware Band "Electric Velvet," who will start up following the end of the live auction. Dinner, drinks, live entertainment and supporting a great cause. 100 percent of proceeds benefit the students and teachers of MBSCS. This is the best ticket on the beach, and they are going fast. Get yours now at Magnolia's Restaurant (302-539-5671) or Most Blessed Sacrament (410-208-1600). For further information contact "Enchanted Evening at Magnolia's" chairperson: Michele Ferry at 302-381-3799.
Seaford Presbyterian restored
Seaford Presbyterian Church (north of the Armory on Bridgeville Highway) is celebrating its facility upgrades. The flood that devastated the town in June, brought four-feet of water to the Presbyterian Church fellowship hall and Sunday School rooms. Thanks to volunteers from the congregation and from as far away as the White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, the facility is better than ever. Also, stop by and see the new stained glass memorial window. The church's Kathy King designed it, and husband Irv King supervised the installation. Worship is 10 a.m. each Sunday. Call 629 9077 for more information.
Chapter of the Brotherhood
Plans are going forward at St. Luke's Episcopal Church for the formation of a Chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, an organization of the Episcopal Church founded in 1883. This chapter is open to all men in St. Luke's parish and in the community and will offer the opportunity for men to gather together for prayer, study, service and fellowship. Monthly meetings will be held. For more information call the church office at 629-7979 or Joe Coladonato at 629-3597.