New documentary explores faith groups’ ministry in prisons

Stories of redemption and hope are the focus of a new documentary on prisons and faith, which features ministry leaders in Virginia and three other states.

By Robert Dilday

A new documentary on prisons and faith, to premiere in Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, explores ministry initiatives taken by churches and faith-based organizations in Virginia and three other states.

“Through the Door,” produced by EthicsDaily.com, features interviews with Randy Myers, president of the Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia, and Travis Collins, pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond. The 93-year-old chaplain service is supported by 17 denominational bodies, including the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

The documentary premieres at Bon Air Baptist Church on Monday, Feb. 17.

Myers RandyThe film addresses prescription drug abuse, addiction, mental health, the role of religious volunteers and chaplains, and stresses of prison officials.

It includes stories of redemption and hope — from a quilting program at a correctional facility in Indiana to a bus stop ministry in Texas to a remarkable program for women re-entering society from the Tennessee Prison for Women.

Bon Air Baptist Church will host two screenings on Feb. 17, the first from 10 a.m.-12 noon, the second from 7-9 p.m.

Following the morning screening, a panel discussion will include Myers and Collins, as well as Christine Eacho, reentry special projects manager for the Virginia Department of Corrections. Cliff Vaughn, media producer for EthicsDaily.com and the documentary’s co-producer, will moderate the discussion.

Two versions of the documentary are available on a single DVD. A short version runs 28 minutes and will be shown at the Richmond church. A longer version of 53 minutes is designed for use in churches as a moral education resource over a four-week period.

Both versions have four chapters: The Issues, The Bible, The People and The Hope.