Yesterday was declared "Remember the Prisoners Day" at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in West Baltimore, as members of the United Baptist Ministry Convention gathered to call on local churches to help them put a Bible in every prison cell in Maryland.
"We want to take the word of God to those who are in prison and to those who do not know Jesus," said the Rev. R. A. Miller, director of the prison ministry for the convention. "They are our brothers and sisters. We need to minister to them."
The statewide prison ministry, now in its third year, hopes to get enough support to buy 5,000 Bibles from the American Bible Society at $2.65 each. The society has agreed to donate one for each one purchased.
"If the Gideons can put a Bible in every hotel room in the country, then surely we Christians can put a Bible in every prison cell in the state," Miller said.
Members of 10 local churches and several gospel groups attended yesterday's service at 3008 Gwynns Falls Parkway.
"We came because it is important for prisoners to know about Christ and to know that we care about them," said Ruby Lassiter, 46, director of Voices of Unity, the choir at East Baltimore's New Unity Baptist Church. "We used to go into the prisons years ago, to spread the word of God. After today, I believe we will begin doing so again."
The service inspired many to support the prison ministry. Some, such as Lassiter, said they would take Christ's words to heart by visiting inmates. Others gave money -- some up to $500. More than $1,500 was raised.
"It is vital that we send a man of God -- a minister -- into the prisons," said Van Eprin, a former inmate at the Maryland House of Corrections who is a member of the prison ministry. "Hearing the word of God changed my life. The more I read the Scripture, the more I knew God loved me."
Pub Date: 2/02/97