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Prison ministry enables students to study with MCTC inmates

October 03, 2009

Over the summer months, four students from Covenant Theology Seminary in Rockville, Md., studied with inmates at the Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown in an intensive study as part of the master's program.

Since 2003, the seminary has offered a training program for inmates at MCTC aimed at deepening a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and broadening the theological knowledge of participating inmates.

The program has offered many "firsts" at MCTC, such as a 34-credit hour master's degree program and more recently a 24-session Certificate in Biblical Studies course.

There have been nine inmates who have graduated with a master's degree and through these trained men more than 60 inmates have taken the certificate course.


This has been the goal and the success of the program as men trained by CTS are now involved in the training of others in the prison setting.

Recently, something new has taken place at MCTC. One of the master's courses is taught in an intensive format - six hours of teaching over three evenings. The master's degree program is also taken by local students in various locations, one being Frederick.

Four of the local students: Debra Tyson, Anton Greer, Cristal Saxon and Jamie Herbert decided to get passes to MCTC as visitors and take the course with the inmate students. At first this was done to save time, but it is also became recognized as something new to the training programs of MCTC.

"I never felt the least bit shaky about studying with the men at MCTC." said Debra Tyson a Frederick resident and CTS master's degree student, "It is a joy to see how committed the men are to their studies and the chapel setting is comfortable and secure - there is no need for fear."

Pastor John Bayles of Twinbrook Community Church in Rockville and director of the Prison2Pulpit program since January 2003, said, "I'm very gratified to see the CTS training giving at least a few local residents a first-hand view into what we're doing at MCTC, and giving some of the men a sense of identity with CTS students outside their setting - I'm grateful for the vision of Chaplain Buckley for making this happen."

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