History, Mission, and Vision
Since the late 1970s, Hamilton County, Ohio jail and treatment facilities have been served by volunteer chaplains. In 2007, a group of chaplains--led by Reverend Jack Marsh--gathered in prayer to discern how they could add to the success of jail ministry, both locally and in other places. Part of their discernment centered on how to create an enhanced model for jail ministry that was effective, measurable and replicable. After months of meetings, numerous pads of easel paper, and a mountain of prayer, Transforming Jail Ministries was born.
We have one overriding mission at Transforming Jail Ministries: to take God's message of hope to those in jail. There are many ways to define that. Many ways to measure that. Many ways to deliver on that.
At TJM, we create a framework that defines and measures and delivers our mission one man or woman at a time. When people's lives are touched, so too is the community in which they live. In doing what we do at TJM, we rely on the wisdom of the great servants who have come before us.
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."
— Colossians 1:21-23 (ESV)
Today, over 2 million people in the United States are incarcerated in either jail or prison. That is one out of every 100 persons. Whether or not the right amount of people are incarcerated, for the right reasons, for the right length of time is debatable. Whether or not we should try to be part of what changes those statistics is not.
We know that God's timing is perfect. He meets us where we are and provides us with everything we need, exactly when we need it. At TJM, we try to follow God's lead by being present, planting seeds and fully expecting that it's the small things, delivered with great love that will make the difference.
It's not always popular when we show compassion and understanding to those who have hurt others, broken the community's trust, thumbed their nose at the rules and mores the larger society has set forth.
Good thing we're not interested in being popular.
Jesus' message was clear: We're all sinners. God loves us anyway. We hold a vision of jail as a place of change that is positive, profound, pervasive and permanent.
The values that support our vision and mission are a commitment to:
Respectful relationships at all levels
Helpful interfaith ministry
Telling the truth to ourselves and others
Integrity, consistency, dependability