John at   MCTC

Greetings,   I would like to share something about St. Dysmas that is not yet known by the outside world.  In July of 2009 my mother went to be with the Lord.  I have been incarcerated for 15 years now and was not allowed to go and see her in her last days on this earth.  I was filled with anger because of that fact.  If it would not have been for the love and support of the members of St. Dysmas and the volunteers of the congregation that I attend, I would still be lost in bitterness and resentment.  God used people to help me to heal.  I am proud to say that our congregation has been growing at a fast rate.  Our Bible study has also been gaining new members.  Jesus is truly at work in the lives of the men in this prison.  May the love of the Lord fill your heart as it has mine.

Meet the people of the St. Dysmas congregation.

Luke 15: 1-10 "Lost and Found"

   Paula, by her own description, grew up in an average American family. She was an army brat brought up in Oklahoma. Both her parents served in the armed services.

As with many other young people she followed "other voices" when she was around twenty. She found herself in New York City and later Baltimore. That is where the trouble began that eventually led Paul to the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW). 

    While at MCIW the Holy Spirit led to the worship services of The Community of St. Dysmas. Through those Word and Sacrament services God gradually took hold of Paula. Now Paula was not perfect yet and she landed in solitary confinement for three months (I don't know why). While there she used her time wisely. She read through the Bible twice and memorized Luther's Small Catechism. She underlined and cross referenced passages in the Catechism with

Scripture. When she got out of confinement, she returned to The St. Dysmas services where she asked Pastor Charles Frederick (my predecessor) to baptize her, which he did.

    Some months later I became the Pastor of the Community of St. Dysmas and got to know Paula. She was soon released to a transitional house in east Baltimore. I visited her in her new "home". During the visit she said to me, "Pastor, I am a Christian thanks to the Lutheran church. I would like to attend a Lutheran church. Is their one nearby?" I asked Pastor Gary of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church which has a long history of working with people who live on the "edge" to visit Paula. He arranged transportation for Paula to worship at Amazing Grace since she has walking issues. She started to worship every Sunday at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in east Baltimore.

    Some weeks later Paula called me all excited. "I'm going to start taking "new member classes". I'm going to become a Lutheran." Two months later she called me again to share she had completed the classes and was joining Amazing Grace Church on Pentecost Sunday.

    Notice what happed to Paula. Someone who have no faith, when she was down and out by the Grace of God came to faith in Christ Jesus. The lost was found!

Kevin at  MCTC

     When I came to prison it was the most upsetting  time of my life—I felt hopeless!  I knew I had fallen out of fellowship with God and desired His reconciliation.  My prayers were answered when a faithful inmate member of the Community of St. Dysmas shared with me the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.  Through my four years with St. Dysmas, I have become strong in my Christian faith and understanding of scripture.  I enjoy assisting the volunteers with worship services and spending time mentoring and teaching new believers.  I can see my life becoming more conformed to the image of Christ everyday.  I am eternally greatful to the faithful volunteers of the Community of St. Dysmas, which have brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ into this prison to bring men like me hope. 
     Thank you.  Kevin