The Plan

The original plan is below.  This blog has evolved into an ongoing reflection of life, love and service as a travel the roads of the world...

Sabbatical Plan June – August 2011
Service:  Chaplaincy, Connections that Support Change
Study:  Researching Results Based/Change Agency and Institutional Chaplaincy
Sabbath:  Riding to Oregon, the Oregon Coast and Back Again

Service: Connections that Support Change
A formal network of North American federal, provincial or state institutional correctional chaplains currently does not exist.  Nor is there a North American chapter of the International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA). I have attended one meeting of the American Correctional Chaplains Association (ACA) but even this organization is challenged financially and organizationally.

Over the past number of months as a result of my work on a national CSC Committee I have begun to develop a database of Institutional chaplains of the Canadian Federal system.  I will spend the month of June (2 days per week) developing a database of institutional chaplains for North America.  Utilizing an office with phone and computer at Springhill Institution I will develop a database of federal, provincial and state institutional chaplains - limiting the database to those who are employed or under contract full-time or part-time, not including those who are volunteer chaplains.

I will spend the month of June (2 days per week) developing a simple interactive website where Institutional chaplains can connect with each other, share resources and receive information about events and resources supportive to their work.  I am optimistic that funding for this venture can be secured from the International Prison Chaplains Association.

From June 26th to July 2nd I will attend the National Chaplaincy Conference ”Connections that Make A Difference” and the Prison Fellowship International Convocation “Jubilee” where in addition to offering a workshop on Group Pastoral Counselling with Male Survivors of Sexual Trauma, I will take part in various other workshops and develop connections through participation in events and activities and volunteering at the International Prison Chaplains Association display table.

Study: Researching Results Based Framework for Chaplaincy and Being an Agent of Change
Chaplaincy within the Correctional Service of Canada is increasingly being required to justify its existence - to demonstrate results from the investment of funds.  Recently the Service has directed contract chaplains to complete statistical forms each month and they are to be submitted to the Regional Chaplain through the contract authority.  This is an important first step.  However, this does not demonstrate results.  These statistics track what services are provided but there is no connection between this data and the all important statistic - the rate of recidivism.  Dr. Tom O'Connor, formerly of the Oregon Department of Corrections has begun to utilize methods of statistical tracking of chaplaincy correctional programs.  This research is showing significant reductions in recidivism.  Key in the methodology is the chaplain understanding her/himself as an agent of change.  I propose to spend a minimum of two weeks learning from Dr. O'Connor first hand some of the programs that are being offered in his setting and the methodologies used to track participation, process and rates of recidivism.  Where possible and appropriate I would seek to bring any learning to bear in my work within Springhill Institution and possibly the larger organization of Chaplaincy in the Correctional Service of Canada.  These arrangements with Dr. O’Connor are tentatively in place. 

Sabbath: Riding to Oregon, the Oregon Coast and Back Again
At the end of June I will ride my motorcycle to Toronto where I will take part in the conferences noted above.  Following the conferences I will continue on my motorcycle to Oregon.  Riding there, I will visit various prisons in Manitoba, Sasketechawn, Alberta and British Columbia interviewing Chaplains and learning best practices for ministry.  While in Oregon, I will job shadow at the Oregon State Penetentiary and interview area prison Chaplains.

Also while in Oregon I will take part in TaizĂ© Prayer Retreat.  This retreat is offered at the Alton L. Collins Center in Eagle Creek, Oregon.  Such an experience would provide a structured time of Sabbath for reflection and prayer. 

I will return home via a different road. Riding provides me with much needed and much appreciated solitary time.  Riding also affords me opportunity to make many connections along the way: those who offer me accommodation, those who are drawn to the lone traveller on the motorcycle and other travellers.  It is my intention to maintain a travel blog where I will reflect on the importance of connections and how connections with people we meet along the way shape us and change us.