Thursday, March 01, 2007

March 1 Update

The last week has been crazy, as my wife has been gone to Florida visiting her mom. Work has gone well though this stretch. I preached on Sunday, and kept my other appointments afloat. RPC was good, and there is a guy getting out in a while who I have got to know over the last year. He's out this summer.
I also had the chance today to meeting with the Citizen's Advisory Committee for PRC. They are a group of community volunteers that keep the institution accountable and the public aware of what is happening in the world of CSC. They are a great group of people from all walks of life, within and without Corrections.
I will be doing a presentation at Massey Place Community Church on Sunday on Chaplaincy. A group of women from the church have made some blankets for ex-offenders that they want to present to the chaplaincy. I'm also going to speak for a bit and sing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

News Report on Sex Offenders

This report brings up a very touchy subject for most people. When have sex offenders payed their dues? I work with sex offenders every week. This report takes a different approach than most others, and I would encourage you to watch it and think about it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Febuary 6th Update

Hi to all of you...even if there are only a few. Things are humming along a the chaplaincy office. Here's a summary

I continue to deal with the domsestic abuse case I've mentioned before. The woman involved lost her baby yesterday, and is taking it very hard. It is difficult to know what to do, and the problems there are over my head. I have tried todirect her in some way, but she is drinking heavily. Pray for her.

I had the chance to meet with a couple of potential volunteers this week. Both are good people, one with much experience in socially difficult issues, and one who is just dipping her toe in the water. It is cool to see God leading people to be involved with people on the margins in some way.

I also have been invited to speak at a CAC lunch next month. The Citizen's Advisory Committee is a group of volunteers that works to speak for the community regarding issues surrounding federal institutions. Each institution has it's own committee, and I have been in contact with the head of the group for the Regional Psych. Center in Saskatoon for quite some time. I am looking forward to learning as well as teaching.

The Saskatoon Community Chaplaincy is planning another fundraising event for April 26th. It will be held at the Best Western Hotel in S'toon, and we will be featuring some musical talent as the main focus. Feel free to email me for details.

The Forward Step group continues to go well. A number of the guys involved are going through some difficulties, especially in regards to housing. There is little in the way of good housing that is affordable for people on welfare. The Bary Hotel, which is located in the middle of the not-so-good part of the city, is where a lot of these people end up, and the conditions are deplorable. I honestly don't know how they do it. Housing is always a major issue, but all the more when you know people who are affected by it.

I've been hanging out more at the office whenever possible. There are a good group of people working at MCC, a lot of laughter and some good discussion.

That's all for tonight. I hope to post again before the end of the week.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Serial child molester gets 150 years in U.S. prison

This is a brutal and sad story for all involved.

January 29th Update

Hi to you all. Hope your Monday is going well. Just an update on what I've been up to in the world of chaplaincy.

Some of my time in the last two weeks has been taken by dealing with the couple I wrote of earlier. They are still connecting with each other, and both of them are connecting with me quite often. The guy is in jail, but because of the corrections strike, the rules in the provincial institutions have been set aside somewhat. The RCMP are doing their best, but are not familiar with all the rules, so the inmates have much more time and freedom. The guy I know there spends his time either on the phone or waiting to use the phone from 7AM until 10:30PM. This is not good for people whose numbers he knows, including mine. I have talked to the officers in his unit a couple of times, and they are working to keep him as limited as possible on the phone. He phones his girlfriend dozens of times each day, and has called the police and ambulance enough times to get her kicked out of her apartment (I understand that she has received a one month reprieve, and now needs to be out at the end of February.)

The girlfriend, on the other hand, is having a difficult time letting go. She has had some good contact and good advice from the women of a local church, as well as from people at Family Services and myself. She feels a lot of guilt and has become a mother-figure in this man's life. This makes it tough for her to let go and move on, even though her health and life have been in danger in the past. This saga is ongoing, and I don't know what my part in it will be in the future. I feel I am at the end of the line, as both of them have heard and agreed with what I have said, but still choose to go in a very different direction.

I have also had a chance to connect with a few ex-inmates, including one who is living in Calgary right now and doing quite well. This is ALWAYS encouraging to see. I have also had news about three other men who are back in the community and who I have worked/am working with. All three have jobs and are doing what they can to gain independence and build a new life.

I meet weekly with a group of people from my former church in a loose accountability group. We discuss church life, chaplaincy life, and many other things. It is always good to see them.

Others I've had a chance to talk to in the last week are Helmut Isaac and Fr. Ted Hughes. Helmut runs the P2P organization, and we meet every Monday with "Forward Step" as well as chatting on the phone or in person at least three times a week.
Although I don't have as much contact as that with Fr. Ted, it is always good to talk to him listen to stories of his life in corrections and other experiences. As I write, he is sitting on the beach in the Dominican Republic (I think??), so we all need to feel sorry for him (...pause...) NOT!!

Although I am not in the office as much as I would like to be, it is always good to be there. I've had the chance for a few coffees and lunches there in the last 10 days or so, and managed to do a little reading, design some new business cards, and make use of the prayer room, which is right across the hall from my office.

I am currently involved in two different church movements. One is Lakewood Baptist Church, where I continue to preach about twice a month. I find that the work I do with chaplaincy carries over strongly into my approach to preaching. The love and grace of God is so needed with all of us, not just those who are on the fringes of society. I am thankful for the chance I have to continue to do this.

I am also involves in a church plant through the Free Methodist Church in Canada. The idea for Church of the Exiles was born about a year ago, and we have been meeting every week since then, getting ready for our official start in the next few weeks. This venture came out of our desire to reach out to people who either are not interested in church, or who are held out by more traditional churches. I am excited to see how God will work here, and how chaplaincy and the Exiles Church can work together.

Another person that I connect often with is Jordon Cooper. Along with being the driving force behind Exiles, he works at the Salvation Army halfway house, so we have a lot in common and know a lot of the same people from there. Our conversation always drifts back to "'s Jimmy doing?". "He's back in for another three months." "Yeah, I thought so."

In between all this, I try and read a little, although that usually happens after the rest of the family is in bed.

Thanks to all of you who read this. Pass the link along to someone who you think would be interested. Take care.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15th Update

The last week has been crazy, and the weather sure didn't help. The blizzard last week put a stop to lots of plans for all of us, but that's what I don't mind about nasty winter weather; it forces everyone to slow down, which I know I need to do more.
It was also a crazy week for other reasons, at lest for me. I was able to see "Frank", one of the guys I've been meeting with for a while, on Monday. He showed up unexpectedly at the Forward Step group. He has been on the run since an assault on a gentleman just before Christmas. It turns out that on Wednesday he was picked up by the police, and was in court Friday morning. I went to the courthouse on Friday with his "girlfriend" (i.e. - the one he's assaulted a couple of times). Although I wasn't able to stay around until his name came up, I found out later that he got 4 months.
Over supper that evening I got two nasty calls from him, as he seems to think there is something going on between myself and his girlfriend. I also got 5 phone messages on Sunday with the same general message. So I called Saskatoon Corrections and told the what was going on. The guy I spoke to was very helpful and friendly, and I think we've got it sorted out, but the whole incident freaked me out a little, as it involved a message to my wife and a conversation between "Frank" and my son. This is definitely the downside of chaplaincy in general, but something that is part of the job.
I would appreciate your prayers for "Frank" and for my family, that they will be calm and safe.
Other than that, my time at RPC has been changing. We have had an "open chapel" for the last two Fridays, and it looks like this might be a permanent change. This means that the Forward Step group will have to move to a different day, most likely Thursday afternoons.
Thanks to the board for your support. It means a lot.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

January 4th Update

I was unsuccessful in connecting with the guy I asked prayer for the other day. He did not call to tell me where we could meet. Helmut Isaac had talked to him as well, but he was nowhere to be found.

We had a good time last night at Helmut's place with a Christmas party for the guys from Forward step. There were 9 of us there altogether, and we ate well and played games until 10:30. There were a few faces we didn't see, but that is the usual.

Today and tomorrow morning I will be gearing up for the first Forward Step meeting in PC. It will have a different, more openly spiritual feel to it than the outside one does, and I am looking forward to that. Hope all is well with all of you. Drop me a line if you feel like it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Hi to all

Just wanted to let you know that I am climbing back into the saddle and shaking off the Christmas cobwebs. Today is my first day back in the office, and it's a little slow. I hope to get a few appointments organized for the rest of the week, as well as having a Christmas party for the Forward Step group at Helmut's tomorrow night (Wed.). Office work will include updating and reworking my powerpoint presentation for the chaplaincy and catching up on a bit of reading.

Tomorrow I have appointments with three clients, and I would appreciate your prayers, as one of them have been on the run since before Christmas. Pray for guidance and safety, not only for me,. but for the people that this man comes into comtact with until he is apprehended.

If you have any comments, you can leave them here, or if they are of a more confidential nature, just email me. Thanks.