"We are currently over $15,000 behind budget," said Pastor Timothy W. Sawyer of Good News Jail & Prison Ministry.
"That's just for the first six months of this year."
The total annual budget for the Chaplaincy program is $65,000.
Even before he
took over as chaplain last year, Sawyer
said the ministry would need help from the community in three ways - by supporting it in prayer, by volunteering time and by contributing money.The volunteers were needed because Sawyer
planned to institute more programs at the jail.
This week he
said that volunteers have stepped forward to help the ministry and programs are flourishing.In May and June alone, 55 church services and 25 Bible classes were conducted at the facility, Sawyer
said.Attending those services were 291 inmates, and attending the studies were 245.During that time 27 inmates were counseled one-on-one, there were 13 professions of faith and 291 inmates rededicated their lives to Christ.
"So as you can see, the ministry is working," he
added that the ministry will enter into a partnership with Prison Fellowship Ministries this fall in which congregations will get training on how to mentor children of inmates.He
said two churches are already interested.
Despite the volunteer support and the abundance of services and programs, financial support has not kept pace.Good News accepts no government funding so support must come from individuals, businesses, community organizations and churches. That isn't happening, said Sawyer, who has been chaplain at the county jail since April 1, 2003.
"As far as churches getting involved, that has been very slow.We really need the support of the local churches," Sawyer
said."We've been here a year and a half now.We have not seen the support that we should be seeing."
If the ministry is unable to raise the money to support a full-time chaplain, the first thing Good News would be to make Sawyer
a part-time chaplain.Were that to happen, he said, he would not be able to continue as chaplain in Washington. Sawyer
is hoping that members of the church community will begin a turnaround by helping to make this year's annual fund-raising banquet a success.
"We have a very exciting speaker this year," Sawyer
said."I'm in the process of reading his
According to a letter he
sent to churches and potential advertisers, 285 people attended last year's banquet and Sawyer
is hoping that many more will attend this year.However, he
admits that ticket sales so far have been slow.
"We're hoping to clear $10,000," he
said of the banquet," but we're not getting the response as far as registrations for the banquet.We're way off even from last year."
The cost to attend the banquet is $30 per person.Those who want to attend need only to call 724-229-5939 and leave their name and the number of people who will be attending.
For the first time, the ministry will also produce a program book for banquet.Sawyer
said the ministry is looking for a corporate sponsor which would contribute $1,000, which would entitle the sponsor to an ad on the inside front cover of the program and the ability to place favors at the banquet.The deadline for getting an ad in the program book is Sept. 3.Advertisers who would like to be included in the program should call 724-222-8895.
In addition, Sawyer
is also looking for businesses to donate gift certificates that the ministry could give away as door prizes.Such businesses will receive recognition at the banquet, he
is not sure why there has not been a greater response from the churches.He
said promotional letters were sent out this year, just as they were last year.
"We've had lots of words but no action," he