More than 100 local churches and individuals gave money to open a chapel at Pender County Correctional Institution. The groundbreaking last week was also a community affair.
Amanda Greene with Wilmington Faith and Values reports that about thirty corrections officials, leaders with N.C. Baptist Men and even the Burgaw mayor broke ground on the chapel by pulling a rope hooked to an old farm plow.
The future chapel inside Burgaw’s prison took six years to plan and prison officials expect it will be complete later this year. The current space used for any type of religious meeting is a classroom with a capacity of thirty inmates. Chaplain Jimmy Joseph says 768 inmates swell the prison’s walls.
The new building’s auditorium will seat two hundred and will provide needed space for extra classrooms and chaplain’s offices.
The chapel is the first in history of the North Carolina prison system to be built with mostly volunteer labor, donated by the N.C. Baptist Men. Prison officials hope providing more space for chaplain services will reduce the return rate of prisoners to the system.
Reprinted with permission