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Ministry to hire prison chaplain

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By Larry Chambers, Staff

INDEPENDENCE — The River North Ministry Council voted at its Oct. 31 meeting to advertise for the hiring of a chaplain to serve at the new River North Correctional Center in Independence.
Council members voted unanimously to begin advertising the position in area newspapers this week. Applications will be reviewed on Nov. 30, and interviews will begin Dec. 2.
The Rev. Terri Gregory, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Independence and council chairwoman, said several area churches and groups had been asked to make donations and pledges to help pay the chaplain’s salary. The chaplain will work 20 hours a week. Tentative plans are to have the chaplain in place by January.
Kevin Richardson, the interim chaplain at River North and chaplain at the Pocahontas State Correctional Center, is helping set up the ministry program at River North. He held a church service on Oct. 25 at the facility in which 20 inmates and five staff members participated.
Richardson said the services at the Pocahontas prison — a level 3 unit similar in size to River North, which is level 4 — averaged about 200 inmates weekly.
Richardson said he planned another church service for Nov. 1, and three members of the ministry council would attend to observe how he conducted the service.
In other action at the meeting, Bill Duncan reported that he was working on the council’s website, which should be operational in the near future.

The council meets on the third Thursday of each month, and the next meeting is set for Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. at the Methodist church.