Dear Ministry Partners:
I am so glad to report to you that our Lord showered
blessings on the RJMN this past year. We are so very blessed to finally have
churches which contribute to this ministry on a regular basis. This is a
ministry of the Church and we try to be responsible to the congregations
which see fit to support this ministry.
We have a fine Board of Directors:
1) Dr Ed Davis is a retired professor from Sam Houston State University and former teacher of Restorative Justice at that school. He furnishes us excellent guidance. Ed is also the Restorative Justice Ministry Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
2) Roger Hollar is a Baptist Minister in Fort Worth and is leader of the Mercy Heart Ministry in Northeast Fort Worth. Mercy Heart is a ministry to the families of prisoners and former prisoners. He is also active in establishing Mercy Heart Chapels all around Texas. Roger truly has a merciful heart.
3)Mark Hollis is employed by Texas Baptist Men to lead their Restorative Justice Ministry effort. Mark is also the Executive Director of the Inmate Discipler Fellowship. He assists many other ministries with Discipleship Training Curricula.
4)Richard Lopez is the Director of Chaplaincy Support at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He gives oversight to religious volunteers in the prisons and also oversees and encourages the development of Faith Based Dorms in each state prison in Texas.
5)Mark Pickett is the Associate Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Huntsville. Before his current ministry, Mark was a correctional chaplain and then a Regional Chaplain within TDCJ. He is also the Coordinator of Restorative Justice Ministry for the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church,
All of these men are under the leadership of our Lord. They are giving inspired leadership to this organization.
1) Anita Parrish is a Ministry Assistant. The Lord sent her to volunteer here way back in 1994 when this organization was less than 6 months old. It was not long before she became an employee. She has been the glue which holds things together around here for almost 19 years. Anita’s husband, Jim Parrish, is Pastor of the Burning Hope Baptist Church in Trinity TX. Her great heart for ministry has led her to be engaged both here and there.
2) Bill Kleiber is a Ministry Assistant. Soon after his last incarceration, Bill came to live with Anita & Jim in their home. Bill began to volunteer here. He did such a great job counseling the men who were being released from the prison at the bus station that he soon became the second employee. Bill has developed into a truly great minister whom God is using mightily. He is very energetic and leads several ministry efforts around town as well as giving leadership to the daily ministry to ex-offenders and their families here in Huntsville. He also directs such ministry at release points around the state.
3) Ronny Goodwin is not an employee, but functions in a similar role. He is the In House Ministry Leader at the Recovery Center in Huntsville. Ronny is an excellent teacher and has the courage to hold the men who have been recently released from prison accountable for their behavior. He models good decision making for them and encourages them to progress in a positive direction.
4) Our 20 regular volunteers and many more occasional volunteers are God’s hands and feet. We praise Him for guiding and empowering them in this ministry. Without them, little would be achieved.
5) Emmett Solomon was one of the founders of this organization and have been Executive Director for 19 years now. Previously he spent 20 years as a correctional chaplain and 10 years as the Director of Chaplains. It was his hope to develop an active network to assist ministry in the justice arena. Presently there are 89,000 addresses in our data base. Most of these people have done ministry within prisons or with victims of crime, law enforcement employees or their families.
If you have read this report this far, you will probably be willing to read the following numbers which describe the truly amazing scale of this ministry.
Last year the Lord enabled us:
1) To lead and participate in 3 Restorative Justice Ministry Conferences in Houston, Fort Worth and Waco.
2) organize and manage our first Ex-Offender Faith Based Celebration, held at the Prison Museum in Huntsville. It was well attended by ex-offenders, their mentors and their Chaplains. The program was planned and managed by formerly incarcerated persons who were impacted by the Faith Based programs inside the prisons.
3) minister to more than 15,000 releasees. We provided contact information to receiving churches; information about social services and, if they gave us their destination contact information, we sent that information to someone in our network near to where they live and asked them to “Welcome them Back.” The outcome of this activity was to educate many of our pastors about the fact that they had ex-offender and prisoner families near their churches. We estimate that one in three un-churched Texans can be reached through this mission.
4) make available to releasing prisoners a free cell phone. There are very few pay phones left. These cell phones enable our returning citizens to have a way to communicate in our current environment.
In cooperation with the Covenant Fellowship Church and TDCJ, the Front Door Ministry was developed. This network receives family contact information from willing prisoners who are just entering prison. This year we have emailed some 6,000 messages to people in our network regarding prisoner families living in their neighborhoods.
It is doubtful that we could have accomplished all of this without the First Baptist Church in Huntsville so generously providing us free offices in their facilities. We sit only one block from the Walls Unit (Huntsville Unit) where most of this ministry takes place. First Baptist also furnishes many of the volunteers who carry this ministry forward.
We thank each of you whom God has led to provide support for RJMN. Of course, we need continued support. We see no indication that the ministry will be diminished during the coming year. The Lord has grown RJMN from a fledgling to a thriving efficient ministry to people all around Texas and beyond.
Our websites are: www.rjmn.net or www.rjmntexas.net or www.rjweek.com or www.restorativejusticenews.net. These sites will provide you additional information about the ministry.
Grace and Peace,Emmett Solomon, President Restorative Justice Ministries Network
of North America