CRESAPTOWN, Md.—Inmates at the Western Correctional Institution are experiencing life change with the teaching of Calvary Baptist Church. In its ministry to the inmates, Calvary Baptist purchased 1,400 copies of The Purpose Driven Life and donated 145 Bibles to the prison.
The Western Correctional Institution is a medium- to maximum-security prison housing 1,700 inmates in Cumberland, Md., just one mile from Calvary Baptist Church. On the third Sunday of each month, Calvary holds a church service in the prison, preaching, teaching, and challenging men toward salvation and Christian growth. The men provide their own music through a quartet they call Men of Grace.
Along with attending monthly church services—which the inmates have named Tree of Life Fellowship—the men also meet weekly. Every Tuesday night about 200 men voluntarily meet with the Calvary team in the mess hall for a Bible study, and the men are eager to learn. Pastor Bruce McBride describes the inmates as coming to Bible study with their Bibles open and ready to learn. Some of the men have even been baptized.
Pastor McBride is not alone in this ministry. Under the leadership of Chaplain Galen Beitzel, the gospel is being preached and lives are being changed. Beitzel, a Maryland state certified chaplain, has a passion to reach people for Christ in the prison system. In his eight years of ministry at WCI, he has seen many men surrender their lives to Christ. Calvary Baptist has partnered with Beitzel to support him in whatever resources he may need.
Chaplain Paul Demars and Gene Martz are also involved. Demars was recently hired to assist Chaplain Beitzel with counseling, prayer support, and small group studies. Martz, a member of Calvary Baptist, has completed the state’s certification course, allowing him to minister at the prison numerous times each month. He assists with preaching on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Most of the men incarcerated at the Western Correctional Institution are from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and the capital’s surrounding areas. For these men, life change is happening. They sense Calvary’s concern for them and the team’s desire to see change occur through the teaching of the Word of God, and men are accepting Christ as their Savior.
- Read about Regular Baptist institutional chaplaincy.