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Community of St. Dysmas - Jessep, Maryland, 1984

The first prison congregation developed by a main-line denomination was a Lutheran congregation in the Maryland prison system. It was called the Community of St. Dysmas, named for the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus who asked to be remembered. Jesus' reply was "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

The community of St. Dysmas was begun in May 1984, and has been engaged in effective ministry ever since.  St. Dysmas now has congregations in the women's prison (MCI-W) where it all began, as well as a medium security men's prison (MCI-J), in Jessup, MD. St. Dysmas also has a presence the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown, and the Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville. 

Rev, Susan Beck
PO Box 354, Jefferson, MD  21755-0354
(443) 326-1115





St. Dysmas of South Dakota - Sioux Falls & Springfield, SD, 1990

St. Dysmas of South Dakota was begun in 1990 in the South Dakota synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Thousands of visitors have worshiped with inmate members at worship sites in Sioux Falls and Springfield, South Dakota. It is a commonly accepted fact that St. Dysmas has affected the Lutheran congregations in South Dakota more than any single ministry in recent history.

Pastor Wayne Gallipo
1300 E. 10th St.
Sioux Falls, SD  57103
(605) 338-1735


Pastor David Bentz: dhbentz@gmail.com

St. Dismas Episcopal - Graterford, PA , 1991

St. Dismas Episcopal prison ministry in Graterford, Pennsylvania began in 1970. Upon hearing of the congregational model, they organized as a congregation of the Philadelphia diocese in 1991.  Deliberate attention has been paid to creating a community of faith that is spiritually self-sustaining and is increasing the involvement of the support congregations. Welcoming Congregations reentry training through is also underway. 

Rev. George Master
6838 Woodlland Ave.
Philadelphia, PA  19142
(215) 370-7877

Church of Hope - Pierre, SD, 1997

The Church of Hope is an American Baptist congregation in the SD Women’s Prison. When the prison was built, the women, who were then housed in Springfield, SD,asked that a congregation be a part of the programming, and so it was - from the very beginning.

 Pastor Kimberly LaPlante





The Church of the Damascus Road - Fort Dodge & Rockwell City, IA, 1997

The Church of the Damascus Road is an ELCA congregation serving in two men’s facilities in Iowa. Their program has expanded to include a vibrant reentry program.

Pastor Paul Stone 
239 North 11th Street
Fort Dodge, IA  50501
(515) 955-3579


Followers of Christ - Lincoln, NE, 1997

Followers of Christ is an ELCA congregation in the Nebraska State Penitentiary for men. There is strong and on-going support of this ministry from the Nebraska Synod, ELCA.  Followers of Christ members celebrate the call of their new pastor effective March 1, 2011. 

Pastor Bob Bryan 

POB 22014  Lincoln, NE 68542-2014



New Beginnings Worshipping Community - Church Denver, Co, 2000

New Beginnings Worshipping Community is a joint venture among the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA, the Episcopalian Diocese of Colorado and Prison Congregations of America,serving the women in the Denver Women's Correction Facility.

Pr. Terry Schjang
111 Del Mar Circle
Aurora, CO  80011-8248
(303) 807-7187


Prison Lighthouse Fellowship - Sioux Falls, SD, 2003

Prison Lighthouse Fellowship is a congregation of the General Baptist Conference, which worships in the Jamison Annex of the SD State Penitentiary. The men of this congregation are led by Rev. Regan Beauchamp.


Cornerstone Prison Church - Sioux Falls, SD, 2005

Cornerstone Prison Church is a Christian Reformed congregation in the SD State Penitentiary. This congregation and ministry have served as a model for new church starts in other prisons.

Pastor Doug DeGroot

PO Box 88708

Sioux Falls, SD 57109

Office Phone: 605-496-8152





Living Stones Prison Congregation - Shelton, WA, 2006

Living Stones is an ELCA congregation offering worship and programming for the men in Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

Rev. Chris Ode
Chapel @ WCC
PO Box 900 
Shelton, WA 98584 
(360)426-4433 ext. 5513
Email: livingstonesassistant@outlook.com



Women at the Well - Mitchellville, IA, 2006

Women at the Well, in the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, is a vibrant congregation of the United Methodist Church led by Rev. Lee Schott.

Rev. Lee Schott

Rev. Paul Witmer

PO Box 33
Mitchellville, IA 50169
Office: (515) 822-4599
Prison Office: (515) 725-5228


Grace Place - Fort Pillow,TN, 2007

Grace Place is a ministry of the United Methodist Church serving the women of the Women's Therapeutic Residential Center. Their pastor, Rev. Diane Harrison, has been the inspiration behind a variety of programs including worship, Bible study, book club, prayer shawl ministry and exercise class.

Grace Place Ministries
Rev. Diane Harrison
3476 Summer Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122



Celebration Fellowship - Ionia, MI, 2008

Celebration Fellowship is the second PCA congregation of the Christian Reformed Church. Celebration Fellowship is a three-point parish, with two congregations inside the Ionia Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility and one across the road in the Handlon Correctional Facility.


Pastor Bob Arbogast





St. Francis of Assisi Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) –Draper, UT, 2011

This congregation, made up primarily of women inmates at the Utah State Prison, calls itself “A Ministry of Encouragement.” The members of the congregation are growing in Christ by doing evangelism, worship, and a crochet ministry, all the while seeking to live out Matthew 25: 31-40.

Rev. Charles Hines

PO Box 571737 Murray, UT 84157-1737








New Life Prison Community – Newton, IA, 2011

New Life Prison Community is lead by Pr. Rick and Rose Admiraal, under the auspices of the Christian Reformed Church.  New Life is busy with Bible study and prayer groups and monthly worship. Check out Pastor Rick's blog - it's amazing!

Pastor Rick Admiraal

408 Maple Street, Pella, IA 50219

(641) 204-1954

Email: PastorRick@newlfe-prison.org

Web:  www.newlife-prison.org


Blog: www.newlifeprisonchurch.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NewLifePrisonCommunity




Freedom in Christ Prison Ministry - Deer Lodge,MT, 2012

After much prayer, work and patience, the Freedom in Christ Prison Congregation of the ELCA has their first pastor.  Pr. Rob Nedbalek has begun his duties at the Montana State Prison and will be officially installed as the pastor at the Synod Assembly.

Pr. Rob Nedbalek
500 Conley Lake Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722




The Living Stone Prison Church - Springfield, SD, 2012

The Living Stone Prison Church is the first PCA congregation sponsored by the Reformed Church in America, and the second PCA congregation in the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield, SD.  Pr. Wiersma served an intern for Rev. Steve Moerman of Cornerstone Prison Church in the SDSP in Sioux Falls. Living Stones has weekly worship as well as Bible studies and other special events. This congregation serves as an important link as men are transferred from the Sioux Falls facility.

Pr. Jason Wiersma
PO Box 415
Yankton SD 57078



New Life In Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - Louisville, KY, 2013

New Life in Christ Christian Church is a mission plant of  Luther Luckett Christian Church in the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. When programming was restricted at the Luther Luckett complex, the men there sent their pastor, Dean Bucalos, to start a new congregation in the Diersen House, a half way house for women in Louisville. 

Pr. Carol Wieger, Pastor of New Life in Christ Christian Church
PO Box 99852
Jeffersontown, KY 40269

Pr. Dean Bucalos, Project Coordinator of New Life and Mission Behind Bars and Beyond
PO Box 99852
Jeffersontown, KY 40269

Facebook Page





The Church of the Damascus Road - Texas - Breckenridge & Jacksboro, TX, 2014

On Palm Sunday, 2014 Dan Lund was installed as the first pastor of The Church of the Damascus Road - Texas.  Like their namesake in Iowa, this is a two-point prison parish, sponsored by the ELCA. 

Dan Lund
PO Box 399
Weatherford, TX 76086



Church of Another Chance - Nashville, TN, 2015

The Church of Another Chance is a bit outside the usual PCA mold in that this congregation is inside a large county jail in Nashville.   Rev. Scott Jamieson of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is building a powerful ministry with the men in this jail.  He has also built strong relationships with administrators in the county correctional system as well as his denomination.

Rev. Scott Jamieson
PO Box 60510
Nashville, TN 37206-0510




Breaking the Chains Church - Milwaukee, WI, 2016

Breaking the Chains Church, sponsored by the ELCA is in the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Since this is a pre-release unit, the prison congregation, led by Rev. Mark Thompson, will be working closely with the community as the members transition back to free society.   

Rev. Mark Thompson






FreeIndeed - Anamosa, IA - 2017

This congregation in the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa, Iowa is sponsored by the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA, and is the fifth PCA prison congregation in Iowa!  

Rev. Jerry Collell

(360) 480-4997



Prisoners of Hope Christian Church (DOC) - Memphis, TN - 2017

Prisoners of Hope is in the Mark Luttrell Transition Center for men in Memphis, Tennessee.  This is the prison where, in 2007, Grace Place was born.  When the women of Grace Place were moved to the facility in Fort Pillow, volunteer Bud Wilson started dreaming about a congregation for the new population at Mark Luttrell.  From that dream, Prisoners of Hope was born, through which Pastor Bud offers worship and Bible study to the men, all of whom have three years or less before they are released.  

Rev. Bud Wilson





Santa Isabel Ministry to Immigrants - Elizabeth, NJ - 2017


The Santa Isabel Ministry to Immigrants, sponsored by the ELCA, has been active in the Elizabeth Detention Center since September 2010.  It is a gift to PCA that they have chosen to become part of the PCA family in 2017. Men and women are segregated at this facility; thus, there are services and Bible studies for each.  Bible related movies are also shown.

Rev. Ramon Collazo






Grace & Hope Fellowship - Pendleton, IN - 2018


Grace & Hope Fellowship, sponsored by the ELCA, is in the Correctional Industrial Facility, a men's prison in Pendleton, Indiana.  The ministry is just getting started with offerings of Bible study and eventually, worship.

John Stramiello