From The Treasurer, Fall 2018 – Roy Fite

We will have to excuse Roy from giving us his report for this issue. Congratulations are in order for Roy Fite and Becky Benedict who were married on October 27, 2018.

So since he and Becky are on their honeymoon, I will offer a brief report. From the last report to the board Roy indicated the faithfulness of God’s people in supporting Onesimus Ministries has been amazing. God supplies the needs we have, and we are full of thanksgiving for His faithfulness.

Thank you for your faithful support.

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Monday Night Fellowship – Jim Kreider

This year on November 19th we will celebrate 40 years of Prison Fellowship’s Chapel Services in Chester County Prison. God has been faithful in providing willing volunteers for the past 40 years to participate in worship with the inmates. We continue to hold two
services each Monday night, presenting the Gospel each Monday night. We are actually with a group of inmates for 75 minutes of worship and fellowship.

At the end of this year I will end my time of serving as a Monday Night volunteer and leader of Prison Fellowship. A current volunteer, Andy Duncan, has agreed to be Leader/Coordinator of the second service on Monday Nights. Dan Turley will continue to lead the first service.

Prison Fellowship has given me the privilege to literally obey Hebrews 13:3a which says we are to “continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.” It has been wonderful to share Jesus. I have been deeply blessed.

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My Last Jottings – Lillian Anthony

Dear Friends,
It is hard to believe after 26 years this will be my last Jottings.  This past August I informed the board of my intention to retire at the end of 2018. These past years
have been filled with learning, joy, victories and losses. I will be forever grateful for the people God has used to help me in my journey. The board of Onesimus ministries,
Chaplain Brooks, Chaplain Roomet, Chaplain Jack Crans and Chaplain Botes.

My plans for retirement include helping take care of my dear mother-in-law and providing counseling for two local ministries. I would ask you to pray for my replacement. The board has two ladies in mind and are prayerfully seeking God’s decision.

Lastly, thank you for your continued support and your prayers. You will never know how much your prayers mean to the ministry. Knowing that the saints are charging the throne for our benefit and the ladies and men at CCP, fuels me each day.

Thank you and God bless you all!

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The Honeymoon is Over? – Heinrich Botes

Jeremiah 23: 21 – 24
21“I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied.

22“But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.

23“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?

24“Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

“The honeymoon is over” is a phrase used to convey a message that boils down to “Okay, get back to work now, we’ve put up with you being on vacation long enough” and that the period of grace for being “new” is over.

In its most literal context, it also (sadly) reflects so many marriages where the love and the romance of courting and the bliss after the wedding have vanished and all that’s left is the slog and boring routine of keeping a family afloat.

All of these interpretations can be applied to the Chaplaincy at Chester County Prison.  Being the “new” chaplain since April 1, is no longer an excuse or a cover to hide behind. The sheer volume of work and wonderful opportunities generated by 900 plus inmates on a daily basis leave no room for “mistakes” and complacency.

There is a real spiritual war happening for which I request (no, beg) intentional and concerted prayer.  Dealing wisely, lovingly on a daily basis with inmates and staff of whom some may be antagonistic, agnostic, Satanists, Buddhists, Islamic, overly bureaucratic, or
simply religious is very demanding.

By God’s grace, we have seen (verse 22b) many “victories”: souls saved, tearful conversions from sin, idols and other religions, joyful baptisms, relieved faces and voices of inmates, mothers and other loved ones, reports of successful reentry, hundreds of Bibles distributed…the list goes on.

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From The Chairman – Vernon Myers

One of the certainties in life is “things are always changing.” 2018 has been a year of changes for Onesimus. It is gratifying to know that in the “seasons of change” we hold onto a Heavenly Father who “changes not.” His mercy and grace are new every morning.

In our last newsletter we introduced our new chaplain, Heinrich Botes, who takes the place of Peter Roomet. Peter and his wife Theresa retired and are moving to their retirement home in Lewes, Del. Peter served at CCP for 27 years. Peter had a very profound life change at CCP. He benefitted greatly from the Onesimus Ministry while he was an inmate at CCP. After serving his sentence, God called him back to “help others” as he himself had been helped. Heinrich has been a real asset and has picked up Peter’s role well. We thank God for that smooth transition.

Change is coming again. Lil Anthony, who has served as the chaplain to women, has served very well. In her words, “I love my job, and I love my girls.” But changes do come. Due to responsibility for helping to care for an elderly family member Lil has told us she will be retiring at the end of this year. We are sorry to lose her, but the good news is she has someone to recommend as her replacement, someone who has already been involved with the ministry at CCP. Please keep us in prayer as we work through this “change” of a women’s chaplain.

There are more changes coming. Jim and Rozie Kreider have informed us they will be retiring at the end of the year as well. Jim and Rozie have been a significant part of Onesimus Ministries since its inception in 1978. Jim served as treasurer for many years and Rozie as secretary. Jim has been a very faithful member of Monday Night Fellowship, going to CCP virtually every Monday evening for the past 40 years. There were only a few nights when Monday Night Fellowship was cancelled due to bad weather. It is safe to say that Jim has the “worst record” for recidivism — that is “getting released” from prison and then “coming back.” He has “gone into” CCP and been “let out” every Monday night, only to do it all over again the next week. We are so grateful for Jim’s and Rozies’ faithfulness in giving 40 years of leadership to the Monday night ministry.

One thing is certain—the faithfulness of a Heavenly Father who changes not, his compassions they fail not. Reflect again on the text of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” We sing with confidence:

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

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From the Treasurer, Spring 2018 – Roy Fite

God has shown himself faithful for the past 40
years. Not too much, never too late, just in time, God
has supplied the needs of this ministry. As we make
a transition from Peter to Heinrich we pray God will
continue to supply the needs “…..according to his
riches in Christ Jesus.” Thank you in advance for your
faithful financial support.

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From The Chairman – Vernon Myers

2018 is a transition year as we welcome the next chaplain to serve at Chester County Prison. Peter is retiring after 27 years of ministry at CCP. He and Theresa are making a move to their beloved new home in Lewes, Delaware. As we began the process of
finding the next chaplain we were not quite sure how God was going to honor our prayers. It took months before we would “catch up to God’s leading.” In the end God had someone ready to carry on the ministry. God was preparing Heinrich Botes to step into the position beginning in April 2018.

Heinrich was already working with Chaplain Jack Crans of Country Corrections Gospel Mission and was involved with prison ministry. How grateful I am we did not need to “start over” with someone who did not know Chester County Prison, its staff and administration, or Onesimus Ministries. It took a little while until we came to understand that God was already preparing for this transition with someone already involved in prison ministry.

You are invited to attend our annual banquet at Mt. Vernon Christian Church in Kirkwood, PA on April 6 at 6:30 pm. Come a bit earlier to enjoy the fellowship of others who support this ministry. Our evening always promises to be a great evening of worship and encouragement. This year come be a part of the 40th year celebration of God’s faithfulness. We will be saying thank you to Doug Burnette for the original vision of helping other inmates as he himself was helped. We will be saying thank you to Peter Roomet for his years of service to people who need and want the same help he received when he sat in his cell on the block. We will welcome Heinrich Botes who will, in obedience to the Lord, lead in the continuation of the Onesimus Ministries of helping men and women become useful to Christ, their families, and their communities.

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Monday Night Fellowship – Jim Kreider

We are in our 40th year of Prison Fellowship in
Chester County Prison. We continue to hold two
services each Monday night – one for medium security
and one for minimum security. Total attendance of
both services is about 40 or 45 men.
We thank God for faithful volunteers at these
services each Monday night. They are being obedient
to the admonition in Hebrews 13:3a which says:
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were
together with them in prison.”

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An Honor and a Privilege – Chaplain Lil

Serving as the women’s chaplain these past 20 plus years has been, and continues to be, an honor and privilege to serve the inmates as if I am serving our Lord. One of my greatest joys is watching the women grow in their walk with Christ and trusting Him with their  lives. I pray on a daily basis they will have a lifelong relationship with Him. Many times I share Proverbs 3:5,6. God is opening eyes and hearts. Seeing the light of God in their eyes keeps me encouraged daily. Daily they are reminded to share with their cell mates the things they have learned and what God is doing in them.

One of the biggest challenges is encouraging the ladies to not leave God behind when they are released, but to use their time here to prepare for when they are released so that they continue to grow in their walk and service to the Lord. Understanding that their lives are difficult and many times their futures uncertain, my encouragement to them is that they walk not alone. God is with them every step of their journey. We are thankful for the Bibles, religious books, and journals for the inmates, offering them the tools they need to grow. As always, we thank you for your prayers and faithful support. You are loved and appreciated.

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The Passing of the Mantle – Chaplain Peter

Greetings to all of the Partners of Onesimus Ministries.
It is with a joyful, yet sad, heart I send you my last message as the Pastoral Chaplain of Chester County Prison. Twenty-seven years have passed since I first walked through the doors of Chester County Prison as a chaplain. It has been 32 years since I first walked through the doors of Chester County Prison as an inmate. Doesn’t God have an interesting way of “working all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose?” (Romans 8:28). This is a verse that I have learned to live by to help me understand “the now” of God’s plan.

The plan now is that my wife Theresa and I are to move to southern Delaware and realize what the next step of life for us is to be. One cannot turn left until one reaches the left turn. It is time (27 years) for me to move along in life and ministry. I do not know what the future holds but I know who has a hold of it. (“Not I but Christ in me…” Gal. 2:20). I am more than willing to continue in whatever ministry Jesus would have me be a part of, preferably on a part-time volunteer basis. As a volunteer I will be able to have more time to share life and explore with Theresa and thereby enjoying growing older together.

As for volunteer work; Sussex County State Prison is not far away and a mission is around the corner. Opportunity will be close by in many directions, [“Here I am, send me…”
Isaiah 6:8] and I am excited to face the next challenges of ministry that the Lord may call
me toward.

I know the responsibility of being the Pastoral Chaplain of Chester County will be in good hands as I leave. Doug Burnette passed the mantle to Keith Brooks; Keith passed it on to me and now I pass it along to Heinrich Botes. I believe Heinrich is the one called to serve the inmates and staff of CCP for a time; “….for there is a time for every purpose under Heaven.” (Ecc. 3:1). I invite you all to attend our annual Onesimus Celebration Banquet on Friday April 6th at Mount Vernon Church and meet Heinrich personally. We can have a wonderful time of sharing what the last 27 years have been and pray for the many years to come. Thank you for your love and prayers for so many years!

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