Donate Now via Tithely to Support our Prison Ministry – Select General Fund and Include “Prison Ministry” in Memo
Prison Ministry Field Report from Priest David Companik of St. Jonah Orthodox Church (December 2021)
Below is an update on St. Jonah’s parish prison ministry, which is carried out in cooperation with:
Priest Seraphim Holland, rector of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church and director of St. Joseph the All-Comely Texas Prison Ministry, both based in McKinney, TX, and Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry of Houston (OCPM-H).
For more updates from Fr. Seraphim and Fr. David, follow the St. Joseph the All-Comely Prison Ministry page on Facebook.
By God’s grace, the field ministry, correspondence, and resource distribution efforts have grown this year. Please continue your prayerful support of our ministry, and consider new ways to aid this work- details below!
Note: Volunteers will be on-boarded at the next ministry meeting, hosted by OCPM-H and tentatively scheduled for January 20, 2022 at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston. We may host a volunteer meeting at St. Jonah’s as well, if enough interest is expressed by parishioners.
4 Active Programs on Unit (led by Fr. David Companik):
- Luther Unit (Twice a Month, 1st and 3rd Saturdays) in Navasota, TX – Restarted March 2021. 9 regular attendees including 7 baptized members. Book & Bible Study with prayer.
- Wynne Unit (Twice a Month, 1st & 3rd Mondays) in Huntsville, TX – Restarted April 2021. 14 regular attendees including 5 baptized members and 5 catechumens. Book & Bible Study with a full Service (Canon, Akathist, Moleben, etc.)
- Boyd Unit (Once a Month, 4th Tuesday) in Teague, TX – Newly Established November 2021. Book & Bible Study with a full Service (Canon, Akathist, Moleben, etc.)
- Estelle Unit (Once a Month, 1st Monday) in Huntsville, TX – Restarted December 2021. 8 regular attendees including 1 baptized member and 1 catechumen. Book & Bible Study with prayer.
2 Pending Programs (to be led by Fr. David and/or Fr. Seraphim Holland) [Awaiting Unit Approval]
- Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX
- Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony, TX
– If you would like to volunteer in prison alongside Fr. David or Fr. Seraphim at one of the above programs, contact Fr. David Companik to get started. Before volunteering on the inside, you will be asked to:
- provide a letter of recommendation from your priest (or he can provide his recommendation to Fr. David by phone) if you are not a member of St. Jonah’s, and
- complete a volunteer training program offered by TDCJ: https://tdcj.texas.gov/how_volunteers.html
Pastoral Visits Made to 20 Locations/23 Souls Across the State (and Oklahoma) since March 2021
- We are always in need of donations to St. Jonah’s to cover the priests’ travel expenses, both for pastoral visits and regular programs. (Select/include “Prison Ministry” in the memo for your donation.)
Monthly Newsletter – 90+ Recipients – Funded and Distributed by St. Joseph the All-Comely Texas Prison Ministry
Fr. Seraphim Holland is the editor and principal writer, producing a monthly newsletter that includes Commentary on Scripture and the Great Feasts, Lives of Saints, Pastoral Reflections, and more. This newsletter has been a great encouragement and inspiration to its growing readership, as well as an excellent form of catechism.
Monthly Typika Service Mailout – 47 Recipients (Fr. David)
- This mailout provides inmates with the reader service texts for Sundays and Feast Days so that they can pray the Typika Service in place of Divine Liturgy. It is funded through St. Jonah’s annual prison ministry budget + donations. A few Orthodox volunteers regularly assist with the mailout: folding, stuffing/stamping envelopes, etc.
- This is an area where more volunteer help is needed. At the next ministry meeting, we will put together a rotating schedule of volunteer teams to help with this simple but essential monthly project.
- Year to date, I’ve responded to 180 letters. The number of correspondents is steadily growing, as more imprisoned souls learn about Orthodoxy and write our ministry. JPay.com continues to be the main platform for sending letters, reaching inmates within 24-48 hours.
- Correspondence is another great volunteer opportunity, and we’ll offer Correspondence Q&A + Training at each volunteer meeting.
Orthodox Bibles, Books, & Resources Provided to the Imprisoned
- Through the combined resources of OCPM Houston and St. Jonah’s, we put to good use upwards of $4,000 this year alone on the cost of purchasing and distributing (in person and by mail) numerous books and resources, including bibles, prayer books, paper icons, church calendars, and more.
- We rely on our kindhearted donors in order to purchase and distribute these spiritual resources to souls in great need. (Select/include “Prison Ministry” in the memo for your donation.)
Now Open: St. Joseph the All-Comely Orthodox Mission (ROCOR) and Re-Entry Home (Future Halfway House) in Marshall, TX | https://stjosephtheallcomely.life/
- Fr. Seraphim is the rector and serves Divine Liturgy at the mission parish twice a month in the downstairs worship space; once a month, the parishioners/residents travel to McKinney, TX to attend St. Nicholas.
- Volunteer legal aid is greatly needed in order to identify and complete the next steps to establish a TDCJ-approved halfway house, which would allow more than 1 parolee to live on site in Marshall.
- As our ministry grows, we keep running up against legal questions and hurdles – attorneys and paralegals, please contact me to lend your expertise!
- Additionally, donations are needed to cover the monthly mortgage and operating costs. This is in the range of $1,000/month. At present, this cost is paid for out of the St. Joseph the All-Comely Texas Prison Ministry funds administered by St. Nicholas Church. Donations toward this fund can be made directly on the St. Nicholas website: http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/donate-to-st-nicholas-orthodox-church-mckinney-texas-via-paypal.html (Be sure to select St Joseph the All-Comely Prison Ministry on the drop-down menu.)