United Methodists to take DISCIPLE Bible Study to prisoners in six states

March 25th, 2011


JAMESTOWN, N.C. –– Mark C. Hicks, executive director of DISCIPLE Bible Outreach Ministries, and Gilbert C. Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on UM Men, announce plans to recruit and train persons to teach DISCIPLE Bible Study in prisons in six states.

Hicks founded the ministry in 1999 to mobilize local church volunteers to teach DISCIPLE Bible study in North Carolina prisons.

A graduate of the Duke Divinity School, Hicks said he was surprised at how many people are willing to participate in the prison ministry. “They were simply waiting for someone to show them how.” Seventy people showed up for the first training event in the state. Hundreds of volunteers are now involved in the North Carolina ministry.

With support from the General Commission on United Methodist Men, the ministry is now being introduced to churches in Virginia, Kansas and Tennessee. Training experiences are also being planned in the Baltimore-Washington area and Louisiana for later this year.

Coming events

April 6 –– DISCIPLE training for North Carolina prison chaplains
April 11 –– DISCIPLE training for Virginia prison chaplains
June 13 –– Signing a statement of relationship at the Holston Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
June 16 –– Signing a statement of relationship at the Virginia Annual Conference in Roanoke
August 27-28 –– Training Tennessee church leaders in DISCIPLE and prison ministry at Christ UMC in Franklin
September 10-11 –– Training Kansas church leaders in DISCIPLE and prison ministries at a church in Wichita
September 17-18 –– Training Virginia Conference church leaders in DISCIPLE and prison ministries at the conference center in Glen Allen

In each state, representatives from the conference(s) will incorporate as non-profit 501(c)3 organizations in order to raise funds and relate to the state organizations that regulate the prisons.

All state organizations will be affiliated with the national organization led by Hicks. Other members of the board are: Bishop Richard B. Wilke, principal author of the DISCIPLE Bible Study series; Bishop Kenneth Carder, professor of the practice of ministry at Duke Divinity School; Ernie Pearson, partner with Nexsen/Pruet Law Firm of Raleigh, N.C.; and Hanke.