Alamance Orange Prison Ministry Celebrates 25 Years Serving the Community
Release date: July 29, 2012
From: Alamance Orange Prison Ministry
The Alamance Orange Prison Ministry celebrates its first 25 years serving the OrangeCorrectionalCenter today. The Ministry serves the residents of the OrangeCorrectionalCenter, a North Carolina minimum security prison for men located on the southern edge of Hillsborough.
The Ministry’s mission is to foster and deepen the public’s understanding of the needs of the inmates as well as to provide the residents with opportunities to turn their lives around in a positive, productive direction. With generous support from local churches, foundations, businesses, individuals, and fundraising events (such as Brunswick Stew and pecan sales), the Ministry built the PeaceCenter at OCC and supports a chaplain for the prison.
The PeaceCenter was a major, multiyear project, and the completion of the chapel adds a significant resource for the prison, its residents, and many volunteers. The Center provides a special place for men to study, worship, and celebrate. The Chaplain’s office is in the PeaceCenter, and numerous congregations and faith groups use the center for worship. It also provides a place for fellowship.
“A few months ago, a resident of the Camp died unexpectedly,” said Ministry Chaplain Dave Nickel. “Many men were present when he died. It was a traumatic time for all, and the PeaceCenter was open to those in need of a quiet place to process. The chaplain was also available, offering a listening ear and, if it was sought, counsel. Several sought out the opportunity to process the event.”
“The following week,” Nickel said, “we organized a memorial service for the man. His parents and sister traveled to the PeaceCenter from out of state to attend the service, with around 50 residents, as well as staff members. It was a sacred time of worship and sharing, filled with stories, poems, songs and reflections which were shared to celebrate the life and mourn the death of this man. He is missed.”
Ken Barker, the long-time chaplain, retired last October. Dave Nickel, a recent Duke Divinity graduate, is now the chaplain. Members of the volunteer board come from Alamance, Orange and—with the closing of the DurhamCorrectionalCenter—increasingly from Durham. The board is currently reaching out in new directions to further enhance the inmates’ successful reintegration into society and their families.