The Church of the Damascus Road
In 2007 Dan Lund, a lay member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Weatherford, became a volunteer with "Accepting Grace Ministries," a small, non-profit service to offenders in Texas prisons.
Dan felt called to this ministry because he has personally witnessed the ravages of substance abuse as a recovering alcoholic, now with over 45 years of sobriety he and his wife Jan also were the parents of a son, now deceased, who was incarcerated for many years for drug offenses.
Dan raised funds for the ministry as well as facilitating weekly Bible-based alcohol/drug recovery meetings in Breckenridge and other units of the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice. The Rev. Franz Schemmel of Messiah joined the board of directors.
In 2011 the founding leadership of "Accepting Grace" withdrew from involvement with the ministry. Dan Lund and another volunteer, Rusty Fuqua, turned to Messiah Lutheran and other committed congregations(primarily in the NT-NL) to establish new leadership and structure for the prison outreach ministry.
Messiah Lutheran Church took over primary responsibility for the bookkeeping, support and direction of the prison ministry in January 2012. A new board was put in place, and Dan Lund was asked to serve as Director.
Bishop Kevin Kanouse led an Easter eve worship at the Lindsey Unit in 2013. Twelve men responded to the invitation to be baptized and more than 90 renewed their baptismal vows. In September we were offered the opportunity at the Lindsey unit to provide worship with holy communion, initially on one Friday evening per month. Beginning April 2014 the ministry will offer worship with holy communion every Wednesday evening at the Walker-Sayles Unit.
With encouragement from Bishop Kevin application was made to the mission council to approve the ministry as a SAWC. This was granted in January 2014. An outside council has been formed with Vance Everett from Trinity Lutheran in Sherman serving as the first chairman.
Goals on The Road to Damascus
- Share The Gospel of Jesus Christ with the incarcerated.
- Build a community of faith within the confines of the prison units.
- Build a network of supporters on the outside to support and participate in the ministry
- Have as an important focus of this ministry the spiritual needs of the suffering alcoholic and drug addict
- Assist those who are released to maintain spiritual wholeness and sobriety