Summer 2019 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE COMMITTEE ON INSTITUTIONAL WORK IN TEXAS
Amplifying the message of the Christ and Christian Science in OUR COMMUNITIES -in juvenile, state, federal, county, substance abuse, and nursing facilities.
What you should know about January –June 2019
❖We have a bulk subscription for 600 myBibleLessons currently being mailed into 74 different facilities
❖47 new names were added to the mailing list for the Bible lesson mailing; 44 were removed
❖We have 142Christian Science Sentinel subscriptions
❖We have 329 The Christian Science Monitor subscriptions and adding more weekly
❖This office distributed 81 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; 68 Bibles; 16 Prose Works; 18 biographies; 11 Hymnals
❖Spanish material distributed:9 Science and Health;5 Bibles; 177 El Heraldo; 166 Spanish FullText; 18 Spanish translated biographies or other writings by Mary Baker Eddy
❖66 donated periodicals were mailed to individuals
❖Three lectures -Fujiko Takai Signs, CSB, Kari Mashos, CSB, Brian G. Pennix, CSB
❖Three new applications for membership in The Mother Church
❖Austin Zone has four volunteers serving at Gardner Betts Juvenile facility
❖DFW Zone has 17 volunteers providing services at two federal, two state, and one county jail; provides one-on-one chaplain visits; has four “mentor through mail” volunteers
❖Houston Zone has eight volunteers providing services at four state facilities and one county jail; provides one-on-one chaplain visits to three additional state facilities
❖San Antonio Zone has seven volunteers providing classes in two county jails, one treatment center and occasionally at a juvenile detention center, and “mentors through mail”
❖Individuals in Abilene, Amarillo, College Station, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland, and Tyler are providing one-on-one chaplain visits, writing letters, visiting county jails, and starting new services at state facilities
1. We are so grateful for a $20 gift from an inmate, a$5,000 grant from the Solvang Christian Science Society, and the generous contribution from the members of the former Corpus Christi branch.
2.Third Church Dallas is holding a men’s night for parolee and home-less men at their Reading Room. The men meet once a month to help provide mentorship and acting as role models.
3.The Veterans group at the Michael Unit were able to listen to a copy of the podcast “Helping to Overcome Gun Violence”that addresses PTSD with Military Chaplains Matthew Schmidt and Terri Erickson interviewed by The Christian Science Journal’s Roger Gordon. There were between 50-75 attendees.
4.The Principle Foundation is offering support for Christian Scientists incarcerated and newly released citizens. Funds are available for basic needs like shoes or hygiene items. For the citizens newly released, funding for housing, bus transportation,and food allowances will be made on a case by case basis. Contact –Jeff Harbin
5.There is a new cell phone App “under construction” that will help connect volunteers with newly released citizens to assist them in housing, job searches, church connections, and even free legal advice. More information will be available at the State Committee Annual Meeting in Austin on Saturday, October 26th.
6.The Mother Church held a national meeting for Institutional workers in Boston during Annual Meeting weekend. Christina Huston, CS and Rita Robles, CS represented Texas at this year’s meeting.
GRATITUDE FROM INSIDE
Patrick at the Clements Unit in Amarillo wrote, “The Bible lessons improve my theology. Every Bible lesson is a classroom and I’m enjoying the lessons. I’m very glad that it’s God’s master plan for me to absorb the theology contained in the Bible lessons.I know that God’s thoughts are born in our silence. I’ve learned not to take matters into my own hands because I could be responding to a difficulty in an inappropriate way that’s going against what God is doing. So, I wait on God’s perfect timing for Him to give me provision, vision and guidance. Every mailing of myBibleLesson is a victory. They are indispensable and vital to my spiritual life.”
Institutional Committee Workers Meeting at Annual Meeting 2018
Discussion Notes for top 3 questions submitted
How to remain inspired, even when there doesn’t seem to be any
progress, no one is interested in meeting with a chaplain, or prison authorities are
resistant to CS ministry. And we’d love to hear about maintaining relationships
with institutions through our own workers’ turnover!
-Remember chaplain who sat outside prison gate for 1.5 years
-seen administrative resistance healed; reach out to head chaplains at prison; help them
understand that CS is a Christian religion; go in with open hearts; bring periodical article
-sometimes delay gives time to resolve things and open path for Pastor to have impact
-Interfaith chaplain did not want CS in prison; volunteers went every week and sat
outside jail and read Bible Lesson to the jail; volunteers made efforts to maintain good
relations with prison chaplain; got support from inmates; eventually difficult prison
chaplain was replaced; work of CS chaplains acknowledged by prison admin and
-one branch church has members write to inmates; share metaphysical ideas with them
-“Corresponding Chaplains” in CA; has brought many into institutional work; could
include SS students as well; Telmate system for communicating with inmates
Are there options for more comprehensive training before
volunteering at institutions? So far I have heard of training by the facility one is
serving at, but not much from the church – either The Mother Church or branch
churches. We obviously base our ministry on Christian Science, but additional
information and training from a CS perspective would be helpful as well. Any
advice to “newbies”.
-take interested members into prison as observers first;
-have group and individual training of new volunteers
-assess potential volunteers: accompany new volunteers before they begin work
-one group wrote detailed handbook for new volunteers;
-mentor over Skype; hold workshops for new volunteers;
-go into prison with love; look for spiritual growth of inmates; listen for God’s guidance;
-remember that Christ has gone in before you; Mind will guide you in what to say; you
are not going in alone;
-don’t get pulled in by argument of fatigue; the good work gives fresh energy
-remember the Pastor speaks to all; with motive to bless, we will be lead to find in the
Pastor what will speak to the situation; Pastor a complete preparation for this work;
everything you will need you will find in our Pastor;
How can we help discharged prisoners find their feet and continue
with Christian Science? Is giving money to them an appropriate step? If money
is appropriate, how to do it in a way that makes it so that provision is not taken
-Be proactive! Let soon-to-be-released inmates know of existence of our churches and
-help inmates understand true, spiritual source of supply; same source of employment;
prison rules may forbid giving money to released inmates(?)
-lightinprison.org website has ideas someone said
-let churches in area know ahead if an inmate is about to be released in their community
-big need for released inmates is finding employment; perhaps write recommendation for
them; be wise and cautious in giving money; give for specific purpose; if you wish to give
a loan be discerning
The Christian Science Committee for Institutional Work in Texas
Date: January 15, 2018
Subject: 2017 Year End Report
To: The Christian Science Branch Churches and Societies in Texas
Thank you all for your dedicated support and participation in answering the call from those seeking salvation through the teachings, practice and understanding of Christian Science.
Distribution Activity: The thirst for our Pastor and subscriptions to the publications is constant. Distribution results for 2017 from the State office are as follows:
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – 90 English and 35 Spanish mailed; 260 provided to volunteers to distribute at lectures and chaplain visits
Bibles – 68 English, 3 Spanish mailed
The Christian Science Monitor – 45 facility & 182 one-year subscriptions for individuals; 183 donated copies distributed to the inmates from this office
Christian Science Sentinel – 278 donated copies mailed from office; 129 subscriptions
Herald of Christian Science – 96 mailed from office
myBibleLesson – 600 subscriptions through bulk license; 440 weekly recipients – 160 copies are mailed to volunteer chaplains
149 new requests to be added to the Bible lesson mailing list. 154 names were removed
Spanish Full Text edition – 218 mailed – began with 12 recipients, now have 23 recipients
750 Thanksgiving lessons
Letters from this office to inmates – 1,214
6 new members of The Mother Church
2017 Annual Meeting: We’re so grateful to have had Chaplain (Colonel) Janet Yarlott Horton US Army (Retired) inspire us with her experiences and heart felt prayers. Everyone can listen to her comments and the reports given the first half of the meeting on the New Braunfels Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/firstchurchcsnb/videos/506317483049371/ Begin at 8 minutes
Here is your new State Committee:
Chair – Eleanor Bigbie – East At Large Member – thru 2019
Vice Chair – George Nutwell – Houston Zone – thru 2019
Suzanne Davis – Austin Zone – thru 2020
Hal Shrewsbury, CS – San Antonio Zone -thru 2020
Patty Woodard, CS – DFW Zone – thru 2018
Shellie Evans – West At Large Member – thru 2018
San Antonio Zone
Two chaplains visit the Bexar County Jail twice a month to conduct a Bible study class and introduction to Christian Science. 30 or more men fill the room to capacity every time.
First Church San Antonio and area volunteers have been faithfully providing services at Lackland Air Force base for 25 years!
The Applewhite Substance Abuse Training Facility has a very active volunteer who provided 50 Bible classes to 219 individuals, giving away 26 Bibles and 15 Science and Health.
The Laurel Ridge Treatment Center volunteer conducts Bible classes for the Wounded Warrior program at the facility. 60 attendees participated in classes this year. 4 Bibles and 1 Science and Health were given away.
22 youngsters at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center have participated in Bible classes offered by the volunteer. 2 Bibles and 1 copy of Science and Health were given away.
37 church services, complete with music, were conducted at the Torres Unit in Hondo by the New Braunfels branch volunteers providing 13 Science and Health, 2 of which were Spanish, 4 Prose Works, and 3 Bibles. While three of the regular attendees have been transferred, six new men have joined the dedicated group. Two church members also provide spiritual support through the mail with letters and articles.
Eight volunteers serve in this highly populated zone with chaplain visits at Harris County Jail and state prison units, church services at 4 prison units and letter writing.
The Huntsville Unit formerly known as the Walls Unit receives bi-weekly services on Saturday morning when a volunteer is available. The Ramsey Unit has weekly services on Sunday night at 6 p.m. The Wynne Unit has weekly chaplain visits on Tuesday afternoon. The Estelle Unit has bi-weekly services on Saturday afternoon.
The chaplain visits at the Harris County Jail have reached over 2,400 people. 427 Science and Health, 470 Bibles, 1200 myBibleLesson, 849 Christian Science Sentinel, and 160 copies of The Christian Science Monitor were distributed by the volunteers, as well as Prose Works, Manuals, Hymnals and many other Reading Room items.
They report, “Over 100 inmates in the Houston area are receiving and studying the weekly myBibleLesson. Some of them are also receiving periodicals and other Christian Science books. This group, for us, really represents a new congregation in our community. While some may be disappointed that churches have closed the past few years, it is clear from our work that new ones are appearing.”
20 volunteers provide 18 services per month at five facilities: state units, Coffield and Michael; federal units, Seagoville and FMC Carswell; services at two locations and chaplain visits at Dallas County Jail; and literature at the Denton County Jail.
The Coffield Unit volunteers held their 4th Annual Thanksgiving service with 125 inmates in attendance. The testimony portion of the service was filled with heartfelt gratitude and healing.
Nine lectures were given in the zone in 2017. “Lectures are one of the keys to the success that we are having in the DFW zone” wrote volunteer Bob Woodard.
Three volunteers mentor through the mail.
Volunteers from 1st and 3rd Church, Austin continue to support of the Gardner-Betts Juvenile unit. One volunteer is available to visit the females in the local state facilities. The branch members in this zone provide constant metaphysical support for all the work going on throughout the state.
At Large areas
Abilene, McAllen and Lubbock members are answering letters and embracing the seekers drawn to reach out to them.
Two wonderful ladies are volunteer chaplains at the El Paso County Jail.
Where We Serve: The Committee is in contact with individuals in 93 facilities throughout the state encompassing federal, state, and county jurisdictions!
There are weekly church services at two Federal Units in the DFW zone.
Four county facilities- Dallas, Harris, El Paso, and Bexar have weekly church services and/or chaplain visits.
Facilities with large groups of offenders receiving the weekly Bible lessons.
Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony has 101 men – has weekly services.
Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony has 43 men – has weekly services.
Clements Unit in the Amarillo area has 21 men – needs volunteers.
Ramsey 1 Unit in Rosharon has 12 men – has weekly services.
In the Amarillo area the Neal Unit has 7 men – needs volunteers for new services.
In the Beaumont area we have 16 men at the Stiles Unit and 10 at the Polunsky Unit. These Units need volunteers– would you consider reading the Lesson here?
The Huntsville area facilities – Estelle 28, Huntsville 8, Eastham 7, Ellis 6 and Wynne 3.
Additional volunteer chaplains in the Beaumont, Huntsville, and Amarillo communities.
Your individual support! The per capita was set at $3.50 of the actual cost of $9.98 per member per month. We have budgeted for 600 subscriptions to myBibleLesson. The lesson’s subscription, printing, packaging and postage are a monthly expense of $2,973.00 or $35,674.00 for the year.
We have committed to providing 200 Christian Science Monitor subscriptions and 135 Christian Science Sentinel subscriptions totaling $31,165.00 and need your help to do so.
Checks can be made payable to the committee and mailed to the Executive Secretary at the address below or you can contribute online thru Pay Pal at: https://christiansciencedallas.com/programs/outreach-to-prisons/
Thank you for your continued metaphysical and financial support of this statewide activity.
Annual Meeting Report of the State Institutional Committee of Texas
From the Houston Zone
October 7, 2017
The Houston zone has seen significant growth in the past year. There are new prison volunteers (Scott Holman, Anita Jones Baker and Charles McKeowan who join Tina Huston, Carlos Machado and Jeff Tinkham) new prison units being visited and more inmates being served than ever before. Over one hundred inmates in the Houston area are receiving and studying the weekly My Bible Lesson. Some of them are also receiving periodicals and other Christian Science books. This group, for us, really represents a new congregation in our community. While some may be disappointed that churches have closed the past few years, it is clear from our work that new ones are appearing. The new Houston Committee Chairman is Anita Jones Baker who is both corresponding and now serving in the prison ministry.
Volunteers in the Houston zone have corresponded with over 50 inmates in and outside of Houston. Many of those men or women had Christian Science shared with them and they are now looking for their own copy of Science and Health or want to receive My Bible Lesson. This demonstrates the common objective of all the volunteers in instilling the Christian idea of sharing what one receives with others. Our church Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, repeated Christ Jesus’ call to “preach the gospel,’ to which command was added the promise that his students should cast out evils and heal the sick.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p 342:8-12) We volunteers can only have contact with so many but the men and women we visit can multiply this sharing many times over.
During the past year, weekly and monthly services were held at the Ramsay, Estelle, Huntsville and Wynne Units. We still need more volunteers to reach other units, including the Stiles unit in Beaumont, and to have more weekly services where only monthly services are currently happening. The Estelle Unit at Huntsville has five guys who are interested in becoming members of The Mother Church. This is a result of their recent study of The Manual with Tina Huston. During the past year, four men from the Harris County jail became members of The Mother Church. Two of them were a result of impressive physical healings. One said, “if a religion can bring about that kind of healing, I want to be a member.” All four are sharing Christian Science in the jail, and at prisons after they were transferred. We have found that once an inmate makes that commitment, it really spurs their growth and activity. It is also worth noting that as a member of The Mother Church, they are now eligible for assistance from The Principle Foundation when they are released.
At the jail this past year, Arthur Mayes and I had over 2,400 inmate contacts. Some of these were repeated contacts with the same people but still this is almost double from last year. We shared 427 copies of Science and Health, 470 Bibles, 1200 Bible Lessons, 849 Sentinels and 160 Monitors. There were also smaller numbers of Prose Works, Manuals, Hymnals and other books shared. This distribution was made possible by The State Committee, area churches and local members like Ann Sever who diligently collects literature and removes address labels. It also cannot happen without the metaphysical support of people like Christian Science practioner and teacher, Barbara Johnson, and other local members in Houston. I am deeply grateful for everyone that is supporting this Christ activity.
I wanted to close with an experience related to working with the professional jail chaplain. When I started at the jail three years ago, I was challenged by two of the professional chaplains to defend my faith in Christian Science. While quite aggressive, both chaplains expressed their loving desire to “save me” from cult of Christian Science. There were at least three of these long discussions. We remained cordial and in fact we became friends on social media. I did however, realize that I really needed to step up my study of the Bible and be able to explain Christian Science by using scripture alone. This proved to be an immense help in sharing Christian Science with Christian inmates who were solid students of the Bible. The challenge really was a blessing in disguise. The chaplains did however, seek to limit our Christian Science outreach to certain people and floors in the jail. At the end of that first year, the chaplain’s office had a major overhaul and one of the two chaplains left. All limitations on our activity soon disappeared. We could go anywhere and talk to anyone. Our ministry really began to flourish. Just two weeks ago, the one remaining chaplain called me into his office. He wanted to discuss coverage of the cell blocks as he wanted to make sure inmates are not being left out. He then asked what was my message of the day? I said, “choosing to accept God’s Word over what the 5 senses are telling us.” He paused and said what a great message. He then was very complimentary of Arthur and myself and our service to the jail. He closed the meeting by first apologizing for my initial reception into the jail three years ago. He said he was wrong to challenge and debate Christian Science vs his faith. I said no worries, it was a blessing to push me deeper into my study of the Bible. He further added that he was so grateful for Arthur and I and so loved what we are doing in the jail. He gave me a big hug and said I love you man. I said I love you too, man. For me, this was a wonderful demonstration of the power of Truth, as interpreted in Christian Science, to overcome scholastic theology and mortal resistance. I also so the proof that as we, ourselves, understand Christian Science better, resistance falls away. Mary Baker Eddy said the following on this subject, “the resistance to Christian Science weakens in proportion as one understands it and demonstrates the Science of Christianity.” (Message to the Mother Church in 1901, 15:9-12)
Thank you for the opportunity to share this report and I look forward to the fruitage coming up later.
Report to the State Committee on Institutional Work – Texas October 7, 2017
Patty Woodard, the DFW Zone representative on the Board of the State Committee thanked the current DFW Zone Board Members: Sally Griggs, Secretary, Darrell Doss, Treasurer, Liz Smith, and introduced Bob Woodard, Chairman to give the report.
Frankly, I am humbled to be standing here. It was about 7 or 8 years ago that a man sitting right in the front row, Dick Upshaw, met me on my first visit to a Texas State prison. And since then, this activity has changed my life. It is one of the best things to happen to me in my life.
Like many if not all of you, I am extremely grateful to be a part of this healing ministry in support of the cause of Christian Science.
And so, this report is one filled with gratitude… for each of you, for all the Volunteer Chaplains including those not present at this meeting, the Branch Churches and the members of their Congregations, the State Committee, The Mother Church, and the men and women we meet in the institutions: the correctional officers, Prison Chaplains, the Volunteer Chaplains from other religions whom we often interact with, and of course the many inmates we serve
(I had planned to include the following paragraph but Elizabeth did a beautiful job of covering this in her remarks!)
I am pleased to report that the good work being done in Texas by Volunteer Chaplains was recognized by The Mother Church at this year’s Annual Meeting which highlighted a DFW Zone Branch Church and some of those in this room for the positive impact institutional work is having on revitalizing the members and the healing activity of their Branch Church.
So here are some numbers from the DFW Zone.
Our 20 Volunteers come from 8 of the 19 Branch Churches and Societies within the DFW Zone. Could I please ask those volunteers from the DFW Zone to stand please. I think we have 8 of the 20 volunteers here today! Dick Upshaw, Patty Woodard, Elizabeth Arnett, Eleanor Bigbie, Liz Smith, Jack Robinson, myself, and please welcome back Troy Patterson who has been First Reader, Arlington. Thank you for coming.
This past year we added 4 new volunteers and here is some good news. Is there anyone here from Austin? One of our volunteers, a devoted Volunteer who has been regularly serving at Coffield since we started services will be relocating to Austin by the end of the year. I have Bill Klenzendorf’s contact information so please see me after the meeting!
These 20 volunteers provide 18 services per month in 5 institutions: 2 State Prisons: Coffield, and Michael, 2 Federal Prisons: Seagoville and Carswell, and Dallas County Jail (2 locations). Inmate attendance ranges from 2 per service up to over 65 per service. And this year we held our 4th annual Thanksgiving Service at Coffield in February with 125 inmates in attendance.
A special thank you to the Branch Churches that sponsored the 7 lectures held during the year. Lectures are one of the keys to the success that we are having in the DFW Zone.
And we wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the State Committee and the work of Elizabeth Arnett who fulfills all those requests for weekly Bible Lessons sent to hundreds of men within and outside the DFW Zone. We could not do what we do or accomplish the growth we have accomplished if it were not for Elizabeth Arnett in supporting this Zone.
I have a couple of pages of fruitage from Volunteer Chaplains which I will include in a written report to the State Committee.
I would like to share one of these accounts.
This Volunteer reported;
“One thing I try to do when I meet an inmate for the first time is to ask how he or she learned about our services. Just last month one inmate told me he was attending a religious class in the Chapel at the same time during one of our services. And he overhead the words from the Christian Science lesson sermon and said to himself, ‘that is what I am looking for’ and has began attending our weekly services.”
In closing, we are pleased to report that two former inmates who joined TMC while incarcerated are regularly attending weekly Branch Church services and Wednesday meetings and are grateful that they have received benevolence from one Branch Church as well as educational and general assistance from The Sunnyside Foundation.
The former inmate who attended this meeting last year has become an active member of Third Church, Dallas, is fully employed, and living independently.
We all have much to be grateful for.
Chairman, DFW Zone
Attachment: Healings / Remarks by Volunteers
Healings/Remarks by Volunteers
(Jack Robinson, Elizabeth Arnett, and Dick Upshaw will share their offerings in person) AND THEY DID as did Troy Patterson who also attended.
I am rather new at this, having attended only a handful of services so far. But, beginning next month, I will be on the regular monthly rotation at Coffield. A few weeks ago, when Woody introduced me to the Coffield group, I had a short but memorable exchange with a few of the guys after the service. There were three or four of them talking and I walked up to them just as one was saying to the others: “I love Wednesdays”. Another said, “yes – Wednesday, because of the Christian Science Service, is now my favorite day of the week”. The other guys agreed and expressed deep appreciation for the dedication, reliability and conviction of the Christian Scientists that they have come to know and appreciate during their time at Coffield. This is a standard that I will work hard to uphold as I take up monthly duties. The work that has been going on and continues to be done is having a very positive, uplifting effect on these men – it is very clear from their demeanor and even the look in their eyes. They are finding spiritual inspiration that is sustaining them. It is a privilege to serve on this committee. (Allan V)
We have just two men coming and both deeply value Christian Science and appreciate the services. Both men read quite a bit of other religious oriented books. One fellow came in eager to share a paragraph and how it relates to what he’s been reading in SH. (he has read all of SH). Comment in response was, “Why wouldn’t it be recognized by others when there is only one God, one Father!” The other gentleman has seen a commonality in other books – connecting them to SH. They are thinkers! (Dwight H)
One gentleman made the comment regarding Christian Science, “This has really changed my life!” What an incredible statement to say that something has “changed a life”. But that’s what happens in the prison work. A lot of relationships are built. It has been a growing opportunity for me; I was forced to study a little harder and to be prepared for questions. (Bill K)
We work at the jails, which is a very transient place. Rarely do we get repeats, but we’ve had a couple guys who had found SH left in their cell and brought it with them to a service. We keep a very open thought as to how to lead each service; each service is approached with an open heart. Sometimes guys come with their very worn and used Bibles. These are the ones who make the connection with SH as they read and see how the Bible is referenced. “She (MBE) really knew her Bible well!” One fellow, who was quite interested in physics, loved a couple of references made in the service to physics; asking me to find that specifically in the SH he was taking with him. (Colby H)
I am impressed more and more how different it is every time we go and provide a service. The Pentacost always comes at some point during our time. There is a softening of thought, a cohesiveness, a connection made. At one service, I incorrectly invited some men to join us from a different pod, not realizing the two pods never mix. The guard called me on it when realizing there were more men in our room than she could account for. I quickly and humbly apologized. “This is completely my fault; I am new here. And I promise you I will never do it again.” As I turned to face the room of men, several were looking at me with the most surprised expression. One fellow said, “If we had behaved like that, we would be here.” (Vida W)
One fellow came to our lecture in prison and sat right up front. At the time, he had a very serious kidney infection – hadn’t slept for several nights. The lecturer stressed the important of loving our neighbor, loving our enemy. The man thought right away of a fellow inmate whom he hated, and realized he needed to change that; now. So he did; he made the decision not to hate him, but to love him. When he woke up the next morning, he was healed, completely. (Greg M)
I spoke with an inmate who attends our regular CS services at Michael Unit. He told me he had spent many, many years in Ad Seg (administrative segregation, meaning 23 hr/day alone in a cell) and he loved the solitude because it enabled him to study Christian Science uninterrupted. He has observed that many people depend on the noise and chaos that seem to prevail in prison because it blocks out the ability (or necessity) to listen to or be conscious of one’s own thoughts. He has learned to find his own peace in the midst of all that noise.
Liz and I also had a wonderful change of heart today about how we are seeing our chaplain. We applaud his constant regard for our safety and the smooth operation of our service every Monday. We are committed to seeing one Mind, unity, harmony – not several minds in conflict. It was such a wonderful release of anxiety and sense of complaint and we both felt uplifted. So we were not at all surprised by the large turnout and the wonderful way our CS service took place today.
(Referring to above) What impressed me the most was yesterday morning instead of feeling a little apprehensive as I have been for quite a few months now, I was ready to go, feeling great peace of mind. When Eleanor and I met up to ride together, we found we both felt good about our chaplain, had better insight about some things that still needed prayerful attention but could now see things from a different perspective and were together in the timing of this outcome for the day which was interesting but lovely – exactly what we expected from our prayers and metaphysical support by all.
With much gratitude for this church supported activity.
One man told of a healing he had after a piece of heavy machinery ran over his foot. He simply refused to be impressed and jumped up to continue on with what he was doing!
One inmate told how he had a serious problem and lost a lot of weight. Even after surgery he was still in pain. He thought about how C.S. teaches that it was only mortal mind telling him this. He came back to the CS services, was able to stop his pain medication and has accepted CS as his way of living, believing in his true spiritual life.
One man told us that he is no longer worried about what others think, only what God knows.
Another inmate told about a healing of a sinus infection.
One special story is about a group of men that would come to the services and would sit in the back and talk during th
e service. As time went by, this group moved to the front and began to liste
n with interest!
There is always much gratitude expressed by the men to us at the services. They don’t realize that we’re growing and learning as much as they are.
Texas prisons take hit from Harvey, complaints of water, sewage problems surface
Hurricane Harvey dealt a beating to prison and jail facilities in southeast Texas, triggering evacuations, marooning staff and depriving prisoners of toilets and running water as it cut a bruising path across the state.
Thousands of inmates remained in limbo Monday, including hundreds who fled rising floodwaters only to be taken to a Navasota facility a federal judge had deemed too dangerously hot for inmates with medical conditions.
The crisis now centers on Beaumont, where flooding compromised the water supply at three federal and three state prisons inside the city limits. While city officials scrambled to get treatment facilities up and running, many correctional officers couldn’t cross the swollen Neches River to get to their jobs.
“It’s a dire situation,” said Lance Lowry, who heads the Texas Correctional Employees union in Huntsville. “Several hundred officers in the Beaumont area are unable to get in and staffing is critical at those units.”
Lowry said staff-to-inmate ratios don’t allow for wiggle room when there is an emergency. A guard said in one online forum that those who made it in to work have been spread very thin.
However, Jason Clark, spokesman for Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said he thought Lowry’s estimate that hundreds of prison guards were out of pocket was high.
To read this article in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, click on the button below.
The state shipped in more than 90 officers from across the state to fill the gap at Mark W. Stiles Unit, Larry Gist State Jail and Richard P. LeBlanc Unit, providing enough personnel to run the facilities safely. He said many guards in the Beaumont and Houston areas had lost their homes and were still making it to work.
In the meantime, however, worried family members have fielded a range of complaints from relatives at the Beaumont prisons — including minimal access to drinking water, barebones meals and poor access to medicine.
At least one inmate reported the floodwaters were immediately at hand.
Clifton Cloer, 42, who is housed in a first floor unit at the Stiles unit, told his wife Lindsey Disheroon there was standing water up to his kneecaps when the storm came through. On Monday, Sept. 4, he called to say the water was calf-high.
But Clark, the TDCJ spokesman, said that he toured the three state facilities in Beaumont on Sunday with top prison administrators and said floodwaters did not get into the facilities.
“There is no water near the units,” Clark said. “I spoke with offenders and given the situation they were in good spirits.”
At Beaumont’s federal units, family members shared complaints from inmates that their health had been severely compromised since the flooding.
Johnathan Grimes, 37, a diabetic with high blood pressure, told his mother, Margaret Greene, that he could not get his medication for days at the low-security federal facility because the infirmary was so understaffed.
David Vergara, 32, an inmate at the medium security federal prison who also has diabetes and hypertension, told his wife Rachel he’d seen people faint from a lack of drinking water. He told her he had resorted to drinking discolored and possibly contaminated toilet water to stay hydrated.
“In the mornings his eyelids will stick to his eyeballs. His tongue is dry — it sticks to the top of his mouth,” she said.
Bureau of Prisons officials at the Beaumont facilities do not respond to multiple requests for comment.
However, a website for the facility said that power had been restored to the Federal Correctional Facility on Friday and generators were no longer needed.
The first facilities impacted were four county jails on the Gulf Coast near Aransas Pass that voluntarily evacuated before Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, said Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
All four jails were built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, but wardens opted to evacuate as a precaution, Wood said. Inmates were back on site at all but one of those facilities, he said. The Aransas County Jail sustained some structural damage, he said, but officials expected said it should be operational within a couple of weeks.
Parolees were also evacuated from halfway houses in Gulf Coast communities, Houston and in Beaumont and taken to facilities around the state. Clark, from TDCJ, said that 13 female parolees had been taken from a halfway house in Beaumont to the Goree unit and 158 male parolees were staying at the Stiles Unit.
He said another 232 parolees from the Southeast Texas Transitional Center in Houston, which sustained flooding, were housed during the storm at the Holliday Transfer Facility in Huntsville and the Gib Lewis Unit in Woodville. On Monday, that entire Houston group was moved to Chasefield in Beeville, to a separate building outside the perimeter fence.
“As soon as those halfway houses are operational, we will move them back,” Clark said.
Most of the hastily emptied state prison buildings along the swollen Brazos River were spared the brunt of the storm but outbuildings, a trusty camp and training academy at the Ramsey unit were inundated. The C.T. Terrell and A.M. “Mac” Stringfellow units and training academy also sustained damage, Clark said.
Some buildings also had roof and fence damage.
Before the deluge, the state evacuated 5,900 inmates by the busloads from several prisons along the swollen Brazos River in Rosharon and Richmond and took them to facilities with room generally in gyms and multi-use areas.
On Monday, TDCJ began bringing 1,400 evacuated inmates back to the Jester 3 and Carol S. Vance units in Richmond. The Ramsey, Stringfellow and Terrell Units were not yet operational as of late Monday, Clark said.
Those removed from the Brazos River area went to several state facilities including the Wallace Pack Unit, which is under an emergency federal court order to keep heat-sensitive inmates out of housing areas that do not have air conditioning. More than 1,000 inmates from Stringfellow were sent to the Pack Unit, Clark said.
There was plenty of room for them, since in mid-August, TDCJ moved more than 1,000 heat-sensitive inmates to facilities with air-conditioned dormitories.
“The department evaluated the projections related to the Brazos River and determined that three units needed to be evacuated immediately — 4,500 offenders were moved within 24 hours,” Clark said. “Inmates were moved quickly and safely to units that could accommodate them appropriately, including the Pack Unit.”
Clark said the placement of Stringfellow inmates at Pack was meant to be temporary.
“This is an unprecedented flood of historic magnitude,” he said. “The agency will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure staff and offenders are not in harm’s way and are safe.”
But Jeff Edwards, the lead attorney for the Pack inmates’ civil right lawsuit, said he was told that about 600 inmates who came over from Stringfellow may be heat sensitive, which he said could mean they are in violation of U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison’s order.
“While Harvey undoubtedly had devastating effects on many parts of Texas and several prisons, the idea that the leaders of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have chosen to violate a federal order and expose hundreds of its most vulnerable inmates to dangerous heat levels at the Pack Unit that Judge Ellison has already ruled were unconstitutional is beyond disappointing,” Edwards said. “It reflects a callousness and indifference not just to the inmates but also to the federal courts.
“You can’t fix one dangerous situation with one that has already been ruled unconstitutional,” Edwards said.
The Christian Science Committee on Institutional Work in Texas
Date: July 31, 2017
To: Christian Science Branch Churches and Societies in Texas
Subject: 2017 Mid-Year Report
Sincere seekers of the Christ, Truth as explained in Christian Science contact the State Committee and the volunteers daily! We take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude for your support and to report on the progress we see and the needs we must meet.
The myBibleLesson is mailed out every three weeks to those we serve. This healing message is an indispensable tool in sharing Christian Science. 130 myBibleLesson go to volunteers to distribute during their visits. The last direct mailing had 456 recipients. These individuals are in 77 different facilities. Several men receiving the myBibleLesson have written to the office asking for a list of units providing volunteer mentoring or for help to get transferred to a unit with church services. Would you consider volunteering once a month to provide a church service?
Church services, Chaplain visits, and “Mentors thru mail”
Volunteers serve on a regular basis at:
two federal facilities – Seagoville and FMC Carswell
five state facilities – Torres, Huntsville (Walls), Ramsey, Coffield, and Michael
four county jails – Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, and Harris
two juvenile detention centers – Bexar County and Gardner Betts
one substance abuse facility – Applewhite Substance Abuse Training Facility
one veteran facility – Wounded Warrior section at Laurel Ridge Training Center
eight volunteers are available for one on one visits in Abilene, College Station, Austin, Houston, DFW, El Paso
seven volunteers support inmates in 10 facilities through letter writing
NEED VOLUNTEERS FOR NEW SERVICES IN HUNTSVILLE UNITS Estelle, Wynne & Walls
We are so grateful for the generosity of the branches that sponsored lectures with Fujiko Signs, CSB, Nate Frederick, CS and Patricia Woodard, CS: The Woodlands, Tyler, Richardson, Irving, and 3rd Dallas. Over 100 men were introduced to Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy. Comments from volunteers in attendance included, “The room was just filled with love, you could feel it!” and “all (the men at the lecture) were leaning in.” One lecturer commented, “I looked out on not only receptive hearts but smiles”. One offender wrote, “I was disappointed that our unit went on lockdown on the very day that Nate Frederick was to be here. I have been able to tune in to WRR (radio station) and hear Christian Science (Sentinel radio). I’m enclosing a small donation to help your church to cover postage expenses. You are truly a blessing in my life. Thank you, God bless, Dave”
Subscriptions and Books provided by State Committee
238 subscriptions for The Christian Science Monitor. This includes inmates and facilities, 12 of which are for VA hospitals.
100 inmate subscriptions to the Christian Science Sentinel.
600 subscriptions to the This covers inmate mailings and volunteer distributions. Volunteers are not to distribute copies from their personal subscriptions.
26 bilingual Ciencia y Salud con Clave de las Escrituras by Mary Baker Eddy have been given out.
Spanish Full-Text have increased from 11 recipients to 18 recipients.
Over 250 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy have been given out.
49 Bibles have been mailed out.
5 Prose Works, 3 Manuals, 3 Hymnals, 13 Biographies, along with Concordances
The third annual national Institutional Committee meeting was held in Boston during Annual Meeting weekend for active volunteers. Executive Board member Patricia Woodard, CS represented the State Committee along with three other volunteers from Houston and San Antonio. We are grateful for the appreciation, recognition, and support from The Mother Church for the work being done by the workers in the institutions. There is a growing demand for Christian Science, and the Bible gives the authority to serve the institutions, Isaiah 42:6, 7 “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Hal Shrewsbury, CS and Sandra Shrewsbury, CS represented their branch church at the University Hospital Center’s Festival of Faith. 12 of the 40 attendees took a Science and Health home with them. Hal and Sandy wrote about the experience, “This was the first time the hospital had sponsored such a program and we felt it had been a worthwhile event. It was also humbling to realize Christian Science was included. While guests would take home some 50 handouts including ours from their visit, they would remember the one-on-one conversations they had without researching those handouts.
“We found ourselves talking with individuals in 5-15 minute conversations from the time we got there until we left. After explaining Christian Science had nothing to do with Scientology we focused on explaining how Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy, as a reinstatement of primitive Christianity with its lost element of healing and tried to illustrate how they could utilize their understanding of God as good and perfect to correct life problems and find healing much as they used the science of mathematics to correct mathematical errors. We asked them to share their concerns and demonstrated how knowing the truth about God could be part of their prayers and heard some very interesting issues.
“Just about all from the other religions visited our table asking about Christian Science. All were very friendly and we enjoyed learning about them as well. The Muslim lady explaining her religion even asked prayers for her husband who was ill.”
Gratitude from inmates
P. at the Wynne Unit, “I really enjoy reading The Christian Science Monitor and I have a long line of inmates who read them as I’m thru with them. Everybody loves them. Thank you!”
H. at the Michael Unit, “Every lecture I attended since I’ve been assigned to the Michael Unit I have been able to take away fresh ideas about myself as God’s image and likeness. Especially from the Bible lessons (BLs), I have been able to take away fresh ideas upon my study. The BLs have been pertinent to my situation and circumstances in regards to the atmosphere and relations of the men who attend the Christian Science service meetings. I know that I must be an alert Christian Scientist who does not lend himself as the tool of an aggressive mental suggestion. The alert Christian Scientist does not let error use him to bring dissension, division, or disloyalty into the Christian Science movement. I was so astounded how the BLs have seemed to be made especially to comfort me!”
San Antonio Zone: Weekly visits are again being made to Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center. Additionally, we are grateful for the ongoing work at the Torres Unit, Bexar County Jail, Wounded Warrior section at Laurel Ridge Training Center and the Applewhite Substance Abuse Training Facility.
Houston Zone: Volunteers provide weekly services on Sunday evenings at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, bi-monthly services at the Walls and Estelle Units in Huntsville, one on one pastoral visit upon request at any of the more than ten state units in the zone, and weekly cell visits three days a week at the Harris County jail.
Austin Zone: The dedicated volunteers continue their long-standing support of the Gardner-Betts Juvenile unit.
DFW Zone: This group maintains its support of weekly services at the women’s Federal Medical Center at Carswell, the Coffield Unit and Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony and the male federal facility at Seagoville. Multiple services are provided within the Dallas County Jail system. There is a need for additional individuals to volunteer in all of these facilities.
Annual Meeting 2017
First Church of Christ, Scientist, New Braunfels, will be hosting the 2017 Annual Meeting for the State Committee on Saturday, October, 7th at 1 p.m. Joining us from Florida, 12-year volunteer institutional chaplain and former military chaplain Janet Horton will be our keynote speaker. In addition to reports from the State Board and Executive Secretary there will be time for attendees to share fruitage or ask questions. All volunteers will be sharing ideas and healings and will be available to answer questions. The meeting will adjourn by 4 p.m.
Executive Secretary activities
In addition to answering requests for books, Bible lessons, or prayer, this office manages the subscriptions to the Christian Science Sentinel, The Christian Science Monitor and the myBibleLesson mailings; supports and provides information on how to work with chaplains, wardens and facilities. As Executive Secretary, I am in contact with committee workers around the state supporting their work and providing materials for their services and lectures. Over 600 letters to offenders have been mailed out this year. I would be happy to visit your branch and share more details on opportunities for you and your branch to participate in this holy work.
Gratitude for gifts
The State Committee is grateful for the generosity of the members of First Church Brownsville for $25,000, College Station Society for $2,400 and Third Church Dallas and the DFW Zone for the contributions in addition to the per capita that support the healing mission of this Committee. We have also been blessed with individual contributions ranging from $20.00 – $3,000.00. A special thanks to Charlene Carrington, 7th Church Houston Reading Room and 8th Church Houston Reading Room for sending donated periodicals to share. Each contribution is a precious gift providing powerful tools to those we serve!
Areas of Needed Support
Additional volunteers are needed to help provide weekly services at the Torres Unit, in the San Antonio Zone, the Estelle Unit and Huntsville Unit in the Houston Zone where there is currently only one volunteer serving at each unit. New volunteers are needed for services at the Wynne Unit in the Houston Zone! We would like to be able to continue and strengthen the programs in place since it often seems a struggle to be allowed to serve in the facilities.
SPANISH translators, volunteers and “mentors thru mail”. There are 18 individuals receiving the Spanish Bible lessons and El Heraldo.
Funding from The Mother Church specifically for subscriptions to The Christian Science Monitor has ended. Please consider making an individual donation to the State Committee, in whatever amount inspired, to help us to renew the individual subscriptions and allow for more requests to be fulfilled. We have been granted a special institutional gift rate of $89 for The Christian ScienceMonitor and $99 for the Christian Science Sentinel.
Thank you for your continued metaphysical and financial support of this healing statewide activity. Contributions to the committee are welcomed and can be mailed to the address below or through Pay Pal at: https://christiansciencedallas.com/programs/outreach-to-prisons/ Each member is a vital part of the success of this healing ministry.
State Committee Board
Eleanor Bigbie – Chair, At Large Member
George Nutwell – Vice Chair, Houston Zone
Suzanne Davis – Austin Zone
Patty Woodard, CS – DFW Zone
Hal Shrewsbury, CS – San Antonio Zone
Shellie Evans – At Large Member
Elizabeth Arnett, Executive Secretary/Treasurer
Christian Science Committee on Institutional Work in Texas
In the Houston zone, the harvest is great and the laborers are few, but man are they having fun in the process. There are three areas that Houston volunteers are addressing: letter writing, prison and jail ministry. In the past year, letter writing has touched 33 inmates in parts of the state that would not normally have contact with a CS chaplain. Through this correspondence, inmates are receiving books, periodicals, monitors, hymns and lots of love, the most important thing.
We have a number of requests for prison visits. Some are in the process of being set up at facilities earlier supported. There is an active program at the Huntsville Unit, in Huntsville Prison, where inmates are supported with two church services a month. Those inmates are also given books, periodicals, bible lessons and lecture DVDs. The lecture DVDs are extremely popular and can be watched over and over by a wider audience.
At the Harris County Jail, three chaplains have volunteered over the past year. For six-months, weekly services for women were provided and on average 5-15 women were in attendance. Science and Health, Bibles and bible lessons were shared and much fruitage was witnessed. Tina Houston will say more about that program and why it ended.
With the male inmates, we (Arthur Mays and I) have a different approach due to the sheer number of the population. There are on average 9000 inmates in the jail, the third largest in the nation. Most of them are male. While once restricted, CS chaplains now have free access throughout the jail. We walk into cell blocks and ask if anyone wants to talk about the Bible or God. Sometimes inmates are met in the hallway and they ask us to visit their cell block. Over the course of the past year, we have had 1,375 contacts with inmates. We have visited special cell blocks such as military veterans, transgenders, protective custody, re-entry/education programs, medical and mental health units. The veterans, many who suffer from PTSD and substance abuse, are very grateful for our visits. The transgender inmates feel especially isolated and are not visited by many of the other churches. They keep a little library of CS materials in the center of their cell block.
We have shared 521 copies of Science and Health. We have given out hundreds of bible lessons and periodicals. Houston churches (4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, Bellaire and The Woodlands) have contributed funding and materials in this effort. More serious students of Christian Science have begun requesting Prose Works and the Manual. Even better, many inmates are sharing Science and Health and the periodicals with others who then become interested. The overall receptivity of inmates, of all faiths, to Christian Science is both eye-opening and inspiring. Truly, the Truth cannot be resisted. We all feel deeply blessed to be a part of this spiritual mission. We look forward to sharing some of our fruitage in a few minutes.
The Wolf Lies Down with The Lamb
While many of my visits might be one-time encounters, I had the blessing of seeing the spiritual growth of one inmate over the past two years. For me this is like being in the laboratory of Christian Science and seeing how Truth transforms from old to new. Willie, known by the prison nickname of “Wolf,” was one of the first inmates I met in the Fall of 2014. Over the course of two years he was moved around in the system but we kept being brought into contact by unusual circumstances. Willie, who approved of my testifying, was kicked out of the house at age thirteen. He has been in and out of prison his whole life in multiple states and for different offenses. He is currently waiting for an appeal to a murder conviction in a 28 year-old cold case. His ex-wife testified against him in court. He was also estranged from other family members and friends. He admitted that he was skeptical of CS at first and thought it might be like Scientology. However, he enjoyed our discussions and did read a little of Science and Health. At one point he said that CS must be like graduate-level Christianity.
Despite his interest and CS study, he continued to be isolated from friends and family and suffered from a number of health concerns. He also could not wait to get out and return to a materialistic lifestyle. After his conviction of murder and sentence of 33 years, this all began to change. First, through his study of Christian Science he found peace with the verdict. Next, he complained that his desire for revenge and lack of contact with family and friends was keeping him awake at night and depressed. We discussed preying for our enemies as Jesus taught and forgiving and asking for forgiveness. He took up this duty daily and after about two-weeks, he said he found peace and sleep. Soon after, family and friends began to write him and visit. Even a girlfriend he had not seen in 25 years began writing and visiting him. Later he experienced healings of chest pain, neck pain, colds and high-blood pressure. He also began sharing his new Christly perspective with other inmates and led prayer sessions.
Willie was then transferred out of the jail and into the Texas prison system. After a few weeks, he wrote me that when he was given a prison medical exam, the doctor said he was surprisingly healthy for a middle-aged inmate. Willie asked about a number of physical issues he had and the doctor said there was no sign of them. This included Hepatitis C which he had for 15 years and which took the life of a girlfriend 5-years before. Willie was so excited to tell me and so grateful to God. Willie is receiving the weekly bible lesson and we continue to correspond.
Just this week, an inmate I just met last week, told me that seven years ago while in prison he prayed with all his heart to know absolute truth that comes from God. Having tried different religions, he has been searching for the past seven years. In jail on a parole violation, he recently got to borrow a Science and Health from another inmate and read 20% before the inmate transferred with the book. He did, however, write down the address for 8th Church and sent a letter asking for a Science and Health. I received the letter and went to meet him two-days later. He told me yesterday with tears in his eyes that this is the truth for which he was searching. He also began to tell me like “Zacchaeus” told Jesus, how he would correct a number of sins and make good on dishonest interactions in the past. He is now studying Science and Health, Prose Works and sharing with others in his cell block.
Welcome to Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, Dallas!