To the Editor:
As pastors who both serve churches in Cresaptown and who have a love and concern for the prisoners at our local prisons as well as the employees who work there, we want to thank you and the Cumberland Times-News for your editorial (“Do No Harm: Inmates enroll in new WCI seminary program) and the article (“Prisoners at WCI pledge nonviolence,” Page 1A) in the Aug. 20 newspaper concerning Pilgrim Seminary, and Western Correctional Institution.
We are both blessed to be affiliated with Pilgrim Seminary and are most grateful for the impact that the seminary has already had at WCI throughout the facility. We are also grateful for its impact upon our lives as well.
We thank God for Keith Smith, who is dean of the seminary and for both chaplains who serve at WCI, Chaplain Paul Demers and Chaplain Galen Beitzel. These men are making a difference in our community for the Lord.
It is our hope that the Gospel can continue to be proclaimed at WCI and North Branch Correctional Institution in the coming years.
We are dedicated to reach men and women of all races and creeds with the truth that God can change them through salvation through Christ.
The impact of Pilgrim Seminary is being used by God to help men that are incarcerated to seek life change and a new vision on serving the God that made them.
In light of the positive news coming out of WCI we want to take this opportunity to ask that the people in the Tri-State area join with us and the prisoners at WCI in praying for both WCI and the North Branch Correctional Institute.
It may be through our prayers that the “Do No Harm Promise Pledge” would not only spread to other nearby prisons, such as North Branch Correctional Institute, but spread throughout the Tri-State area as well.
It may be through our prayers that others throughout this area would also have a greater concern for both the prisoners and employees of our local prisons. What a blessing that would be!
Rev. Hal Atkins, pastor of Cresaptown United Methodist Church
Rev. Bruce McBride, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Cresaptown