Promise Keepers' First Conference in Prison

Charisma News Service/August 13, 2003

A small group of Christian inmates in an Ohio prison was cited yesterday for helping bring Promise Keepers' (PK) first conference behind bars. "Redeem the Time" was the theme of the men's ministry's event at the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) in Ohio. An estimated 10,000 men in 70 prisons across the United States, Canada, England and Ireland tuned in to the free Web cast to hear the message of God's forgiveness, PK officials said. The four-hour conference was broadcast live on Sky Angel.

"Today, I live for God's glory," said Larry Reed, a Marion inmate who is serving 18 years to life for killing a friend. "It wasn't always this way. I was given hope when someone in prison shared the gospel with me. One man can make a difference; you can make a difference."

Reed and a handful of prisoners began praying years ago for a revival inside Marion. More than 1,000 men - half of Marion's population - attended the men's conference yesterday, PK officials said.

"You were the influencers out on the street," Bishop Larry Jackson, senior pastor of Charlotte International Church in Charlotte, N.C. and one of PK conference speakers, told the men. "Now, God's going to use your gift of influence for good. Today we're here because a small group of men prayed. We'll change the whole earth from inside this prison!"

Warden Christine Money said the praying prisoners have changed the prison's spiritual environment. "The impact at MCI can be seen through a very low rate of rule violations, inmate grievances and any other serious incidents," Money said.

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