Ouachita River Chapel Grant Helps Provide Space for Worship and Training

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (Nov. 14, 2017) – The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas recently made an additional $10,000 grant to the help complete the $225,000 chapel at the Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern. Previously the Foundation made a $25,000 grant to the program.

“The UMFA Board of Directors are pleased to have a part in the building of the chapel,” said Jim Argue, UMFA President and CEO. “John Wesley’s dedication to prison visitation and significant contribution to prison reform inspires today’s Arkansas United Methodists to continue his work.”

The chapel, to be dedicated Dec. 4, will be used by the men incarcerated at the Ouachita River Correctional Unit for religious services, training, and more. “Our programming speaks to building character, cultivating a work ethic, and strengthening the ability to reenter society,” said Rev. Norma J. Gillom, chaplain and pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Gillom said fighting recidivism, the tendency of those convicted to return to prison, is one of her primary goals at the unit. Her experience in prison ministry has shown many men who participate in programs like those to be housed at the new chapel have returned to the workforce and are doing well.

“God calls his people to do his work,” Rev. Gillom said. “We have to be able to go where God calls us. We are each other’s keeper. I thank the Foundation for its help in our ministry.”

The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas manages $162 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. The UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, the UMFA is responsible for over 800 funds that support United Methodist ministries.