God is transforming Texas prisoners. But Texas prisons have no dedicated place for believers behind bars to worship or mature in their faith. They need chapels!
This need became even more urgent with the establishment of a four-year seminary at Darrington Prison in Rosharon, Texas. Modeled on a successful program inside Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison that is credited with a dramatic prison-wide decrease in violence and recidivism, Darrington is training hard-time inmates to become field ministers. Scores of inmate seminarians are about to graduate and continue their sentences as chaplains’ assistants in prisons throughout the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
But, without chapels, they have no place to go. No place to minister. Christians behind bars have no place to worship or mature in their faith. And a life-changing spiritual movement of restoration remains on hold.
Chapel of Hope completed its first prison chapel in 1997 at Hutchins State Jail in Dallas. Seven more chapels followed. Inmates and ministry volunteers flooded in. Today, these eight chapels alone host an estimated 80,000 inmate visits and 15,000 volunteer visits every year.
And no wonder. Every Chapel of Hope includes:
- 350 to 500-Seat Sanctuary, depending on size of unit
- Library and Baptistry
- 3 Classrooms
- Chaplain offices and work areas
- Restrooms, Kitchen, and Storage
There’s a good reason why they’re called Chapels of Hope. They’re a place where thousands of lives are transformed. Where inmates can go to grow. Where they can worship the God who set them free, even while they’re still behind bars. And where they find the hope, strength, and empowerment they need to never come back again.
With the success and experience gained with the first eight chapels, and because of the urgent need to provide many more facilities for scores of inmate seminarians who will graduate every year, Chapel of Hope has accelerated its building program.
We have tripled our efforts to design, fund, and build new chapels, until every one of the 95 prison units administered by TDCJ is equipped with a spacious, fully-functional chapel. Every seminary graduate must have a chapel as a place to minister, council and provide morality education. Chapel of Hope’s mission is that every prison will have a place where God can work among his people and lives are being transformed.