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Jail Ministry reaches out to inform public, churches

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Chaplain Bob Garland Sr.
Chaplain Bob Garland Sr. changes lives for his mission.

Garland’s congregation consists of potentially 800 inmates incarcerated at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center. Inmates may voluntarily participate in daily Bible studies and preaching, church services on Sunday and Reformers Unanimous, a faith-based addiction program sponsored by Franklin Road Baptist Church that helps inmates readjust when released.

To expand his program, Garland is coordinating a “Community Involvement in Changing Lives” program from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 30 at the sheriff’s office at 940 New Salem Hwy.

The Rev. Maury Davis, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Nashville, will speak. Davis was convicted of first-degree murder at age 18. He reformed his life in prison.

“Maury Davis will speak about how his life changed when someone presented the Gospel to him while he was in prison,” Garland said.

Former inmate Erik Hines, who now pastors the Emerge Worship Center on East Main Street, will give a testimonial on how the jail ministry programs turned around his life.

Detention Lt. Bernard Salandy said praise singers from World Outreach Church, Destiny and Emerge will perform at the beginning and end of the event.

Garland invited churches to bring tents, tables and members to explain their services and pass out literature to inmates. Church members may set up in the afternoon.

“This is to make the community aware of the jail ministry,” Garland said, adding churches will learn how the ministry works with inmates and attempts to change lives. “We’re asking all churches to come and set up with tents and tables to support their church and this ministry.”

Salandy said minimum security inmates from both the jail and Rutherford County Correctional Work Center will be allowed to tour the different booths. They will be secured with leg irons.

The booths will allow churches to get involved in programs to help rehabilitate inmates after they leave the jail.

Employees from Coconut Bay Café and Camino Real will sell food.

Garland said churches, individuals and businesses support the nonprofit jail ministry program with no tax dollars used. Funds collected pay for Bibles and other materials.

The chaplain estimates he distributes about 50 to 60 Bibles each week. The Gideons and churches supply the Bibles.

Inmates who complete the Bible Study course receive a leather-bound study Bible.

“Right now, there are no funds to purchase any more, and I owe for 2-1/2 cases,” Garland said. “We just don’t have it.”

People who wish to donate may mail contributions to Garland in care of the Rutherford County Jail Ministry, P.O. Box 12354, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37129.

Besides the Bible study classes, Garland visits with inmates when requested, answers their questions, tries to help them solve problems while in jail, and with the help of churches, provides clothing, a halfway house and jobs when they leave.

“We just want to reach as many folks as we can,” Garland said.

For more information about donations and the event, contact Garland at 615-427-5961.

Salandy may be reached for information about the program at 615-904-3104.

Lisa Marchesoni may be reached at 615-869-0814 or at lmarchesoni@murfreesboropost.com.
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Members Opinions:
October 26, 2008 at 12:00am
Awesome Effort!!! I hope to be able to attend the event scheduled for Oct. 30. If all the churches worked together and pooled finacial resouces, lots could be done to help those less fortunate. Feed the hungry, house the homeless and show this community that God's people truly care and are called to help rather than just show up at an awesome church facility and join in the planned church activities for members of that church. There is sooooo much money that could be used to help others.....in real, concrete ways...food and shelter, clothing, jobs, help and hope...
October 27, 2008 at 12:00am
lesaparker, I agree with you 100%! Alot of people would rather see a sermon than to hear one. I caught wind of just that at Greenhouse Ministries on Sunday. A church reached out and DID many things to help people. Prayers are nice but it is very uplifting to really see people DO nice services to help others.
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