I lead a weekly Education for Ministry seminar at Elmwood Correctional Facility (County Jail in Milpitas, California). This month, we started our second EfM term inside Elmwood. Our seminar includes six men in Year-1 (studying Collins’ Introduction to the Hebrew Bible) plus four continuing to Year-2 (studying Powell’s Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey). We use college-level texts plus Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, and the EfM Reading and Reflection Guide, with other resources in both English and Spanish.
I am also the EfM Mentor for another weekly seminar hosted by Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Saratoga, CA). One of the differences between my two classes is availability of outside reference materials. The student inmates do not have web access. So, I make a standing offer to print out articles from Wikipedia and other sources to supplement assigned texts. The EfM students at Elmwood are deeply curious and want to learn all they can, especially about text and biblical references and topics raised during our theological reflections.
Yesterday night, I was asked to look up the Oracle of Delphi, lyrics to two hymns, and Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. I bring in printouts glued at the corner (staples are forbidden). During the last year, I have provided Wikipedia articles on these topics:
|Amenemope (pharaoh)||Apostle (Christian)||Archangel||Ark of the Covenant||Assumption of Moses|
|Baptism of Jesus||Bel and the Dragon||Ben Sira||Bible translations into English||Book of Amos|
|Book of Baruch||Book of Jasher (biblical references)||Book of the Wars of the Lord||Book of Kings||Cain and Abel|
|Cenacle||Civil and political rights||Code of Hammurabi||Crossing the Red Sea||Crusades|
|David||Davidic line||Diodorus Siculus||Don Quixote||Francis of Assisi|
|Golden calf||Gospel of Jesus’ Wife||Herodotus||Historical criticism||History of ancient Israel and Judah|
|Huldrych Zwingli||Ignatius of Loyola||Innocence Project||Instruction of Amenemope||Isaac|
|John Calvin||Levite||Maimonides||Martin Luther||Nephilim|
|Noah||Nostradamus||Oxford Martyrs||Paleontology in New York||Paul the Apostle|
|Sodom and Gomorrah||Ten Commandments||Ten Lost Tribes||Tertullian||Third Temple|
|Unknown years of Jesus||Western Wall||William Shakespeare||Zayin||.|
If you are interested in volunteering in a Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) jail, please contact the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC).
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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson, with the Rev. Jennifer Bales