Allendale Correctional Worship Center
Friday, July 21, 2017

Character Restoration Initiative

Starting in the fall of 2015, a new 501(c) (3) will be joining the team at ACI. The Character Restoration Initiative is being created to assist in raising funds and grants for the development of new programs at ACI. The ACWC will remain and continue in its efforts to build a Worship Center on the grounds. With ACI becoming "SCDCs First Character Based Programs Yard", it is important to streamline our efforts with the ongoing expansion of these programs.

CHU Dedication Ceremony Kicks off New Era at ACI – July 1st, 2015

The morning of July 1st started early for residents and staff at Allendale Correctional Institution. The day before the event, people began setting up display booths in preparation of the dedication ceremony for the first ever Character-Based Institution. On this day, administrative staff, volunteers, and residents would stand side by side to take note of what had been accomplished.

Guests filed into the visitation room to be greeted by a promenade of booths representing the various program opportunities available here at the institution. Greetings were exchanged, brochures and flyers were handed out, and the program was called to order. The ACI Color Guard presented the flags, Chaplain C. E. Stokes delivered the invocation and Warden Pate took the podium to welcome everyone in attendance. Special note was taken of the 4 years of preparation that had gone into this moment that began October 6th 2011, and how that would not have been possible without the support of the staff at ACI, the directors in Columbia, the residents of ACI, and the contribution of over 16,000 man hours by volunteers around the state.

Director of Operations Michael McCall congratulated all in attendance on the success of the CHU (Character Housing Unit), challenging the inmate population and reminding them that they were the ones making this happen; that the program’s success or failure would rely on them. He emphasized the importance of volunteers by sharing the story of a volunteer and personal friend who had recently passed away. He concluded by stating that he wanted this program to outlive us all.

Director of Programs and Services, Sandra Barrett, commented that “if you keep doing the same thing and it doesn’t work, try something different. If you show you care, there’s nothing wrong with that.” She stated that the purpose of this program was to provide guidance, and that no human should be judged for the rest of their life based on a single incident. She said her goal is that there would be no more prisons. Region 1 Director, Tony Padula, then noted that this was a unique milestone in SCDC.

Before closing, newly appointed Parole Board member and Volunteer, Thomas Hallam, discussed the road that led to his appointment to the Parole Board and his experience working with inmates as a member of KAIROS. He pointed out that a study was recently done of national DOC practices and reforms, and that none of the six states involved in the study had any plans to change their practices concerning rehabilitation. He left with a question to everyone: “What can you do to make the new ACI more successful?”

Allendale CI will be considered the model for The Character Initiative. Other institutions continue to join this cause, starting character-based units at their facilities, spreading the popularity and success of this program. With continued cooperation from staff and residents, there is no telling what may still be accomplished. The sky is truly the limit.


Carolina Chaplaincy Introduces a New Addiction & Recovery Program to ACI

Most people are familiar with the 12 step programs of AA & NA, as well as Celebrate Recovery, but Larry Skrant, Noah Halt, and Loycel Bacher, volunteers representing Addicts at the Cross, introduced another way to defeat addiction. Pastor John Yoder of Carolina Chaplaincy brought the Christian 9 step program to ACI to help strengthen our addiction recovery program.

The three day seminar was conducted on the 15th, 16th, and the 20th of July. With 20 residents in attendance, including 6 facilitators who will continue this program into the future.

Addicts at the Cross is a nine step program that deals with root problems of addiction from a biblical point of view. It is a spiritual formation program that focuses on a higher power. The program does not focus on the physical side of addiction, but rather on the cause that led the addict to that lifestyle in the first place. The goal of this program is to offer a different choice that enables people to overcome the perceived needs for a substance.

Larry Skrant, author of the book Addicts at the Cross and founder of Changed Lives Ministries, uses his own past experience as an inmate in the Ohio DOC to connect with participants. Larry refers to himself as a former 3 time loser, having served three separate sentences in the DOC. The last of those spurred him to cut off all ties with his family. It took a letter from his daughter which read: “Dear Dad, My name is Stephanie. Do you remember me?” to get him to the breaking point that brought him to a Christ-centered life.

Now, after founding Changed Lives Ministries, he travels all over the country speaking in prisons, juvenile facilities and addiction centers teaching his nine step program, and in every case he leads off with the question “How many of you are here because you were living in accordance with the Bible?” To date not one person has raised their hand. He uses this exercise to demonstrate the need for bible centered living.

One participant stated that this program helped him focus on improving himself, and to become ready to return to society as a better man.

Larry Skrant, and company are planning to make a return visit to ACI to continue training the resident facilitators of this program. It is their hope that all who enter this program would come to the realization as it is written in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him.”


Kickoff Event


A media and community fundraising kickoff was held at ACI on October 29, 2012. ACWC, SCDC and ACI officials hosted an inspirational program and Open House to demonstrate the need for this Worship Center. The event was well received and we look forward to future events with additional support. Click a picture to hear Warden Pate's or Tim Terry's remarks at the event.

Grassroots Support

Allendale inmates have already been contributing to the building fund and thus far have collected over $1,000.00. While the amount may be small, the commitment is huge. In addition, members of the community have contributed and pledged in various amounts. Large or small, all donations represent tremendous support for this project.

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