Cedarville University jail ministry students return in-person to help inmates

The Cedarville University student chaplains along with the outside volunteer chaplains. Photo provided by Cedarville University.

caption arrowCaption
The Cedarville University student chaplains along with the outside volunteer chaplains. Photo provided by Cedarville University.

Frustrated that they were unable to foster personal relations with inmates at the Clark County Jail because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cedarville University’s Clark County Jail Ministry student chaplains found a way to reach out to inmates through the Greene County Jail.

Though the pandemic halted in-person ministry in spring 2020, the Clark County Jail Ministry group began writing letters to inmates. Plagued by return-to-sender notices and their inability to follow up with inmates, the ministry members continued searching for a way to return in person.

Early in the fall 2021 semester, the students received approval to return to Clark County Jail, only to have the COVID resurgence cancel their plans.

The group searched for other local jails admitting chaplains and found one in the Greene County Jail.

ExploreHabitat for Humanity focuses on home repairs in Springfield, hopes to start new builds in 2022

“We jumped at the chance,” said jail ministry member Kelton Moore, a student at Cedarville, in a news release.

Moore shared the story of a man he met in Clark County Jail after offering to talk with Spanish-speaking inmates, thinking the language barrier might make them feel isolated. He talked to the inmate regularly for months. Moore said he found joy in seeing the man’s “zeal and love for his family” increase as they got to know each other.

The students’ persistence derives from how vital the members believe their ministry is during a time where many are feeling isolated.

“I want to help people who struggle through addiction because I struggled with addictions in high school,” student chaplain Hannah Jeffers, a junior biblical studies major, said.

The students were able to spend several Sundays at the end of the semester at the jail.

ExploreClark County family, cemetery at odds over headstone of child who died of cancer

About the Author