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Lubbock church clarifies prison ministry incident


Elders of the Green Lawn Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, have issued a clarification after an e-mail concerning the church’s prison ministry was forwarded to Christians around the globe.

The message, written by elder Jack Cummings, details an incident in the Price-Daniels Unit, a medium-security correctional facility in Snyder, Texas, where  Green Lawn has an ongoing ministry. On every third Sunday elders from the church conduct Bible studies and worship with about 50 Christians at the facility. The 37th Street Church of Christ in Snyder also works with inmates there.
 
During a July 19 worship service, a group of about 15 inmates — visiting the assembly for the first time — became argumentative and belligerent, shouting epithets at the Green Lawn members before prison guards ordered them to be quiet or leave, Cummings wrote in the e-mail. Cummings identified the agitators as Muslims — based on information from other inmates.
 
The message “was intended to reach a small, select group of leaders in order to inform them and solicit their prayers for wisdom, courage and persistence,” according to the Aug. 18 clarification statement.
“Unfortunately, the email was forwarded beyond that scope and has developed a life of its own.”
Church members from as far away as Brazil forwarded the message to the Chronicle. It also reached the inboxes of Texas Department of Criminal Justice workers and some inmates at the prison.
Some readers misunderstood the message and thought the incident had taken place at the Lubbock church’s building itself — a claimed denied in the clarification statement.
Also, the instigator of the disruption was not a Muslim, but a member of a religious cult, according to the statement.
The e-mail “was not meant to be incendiary or a rallying point for some holy war against Muslims,” the statement reads. “Our hope is to call all men from all nations and races to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. While there are obvious differences between Christianity and the Muslim faith that we would not overlook or minimize, we believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), not any type of religious or political turmoil.”
Churches of Christ will continue to minister to inmates at the facility, said Ted Stinson, an elder of the 37th Street church in Snyder.
Read the full statement from Green Lawn elders at www.greenlawn.org.

  • Feedback
    This article emphasizes how careful we must be to verify sources and destinations when messages are sent in this electronic age. I am involved in chemical abuse and jail ministry here. The importance of this ministry cannot be overemphasized. This has been a most satisfying and productive ministry in our community.
    I am praying that this work will not be harmed by this incident.
    D. C. Chambers
    Frankfort church of Christ
    Lafayette, IN
    USA
    February, 24 2011

Filed under: National

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