The Bishop’s Bulletin is the newspaper of record for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. The monthly publication includes news, features and columns relating to Catholic life in eastern South Dakota and is sent to every registered Catholic household in the diocese. It is also available on this web site. Bulletin Extras is found only on this website and allows the newspaper to report events between editions.

This Months Issue
May 2015

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Top Stories

Residents Encounter Christ (REC) program marks its 100th weekend helping men and women in prison
by - 5/12/2015
 


The Residents Encounter Christ or REC program recently marked its 100th weekend of helping men and women incrarcerated in the state’s prisons.(Photo by Sherri Alvey, St. Mary Parish, Sioux Falls)
The Residents Encounter Christ or REC program recently marked its 100th weekend of helping men and women incarcerated in the state’s prisons.

“The first REC was held approximately 34 years ago,” according to Jeff Alvey, a member of St. Mary Parish, Sioux Falls and a long time REC volunteer and participant.

REC is based on Teens Encounter Christ and Search. It has been adapted to fit in a prison setting.

“REC is held three times a year in Sioux Falls - at both Granite City and at the Jameson Annex,” said Alvey.

He and his wife, Sherri, have been involved for 10 years. “We were first invited to participate in a REC back in 2005 by Father Gary Ternes,” he said. “Each weekend brings new insights to both Sherri and I. The goal of each weekend is to see Christ in everyone.”

Alvey points out that too often society throws men and women in prison and wants to forget about them.

“We are all children of God,” Alvey said. “The inmates are always very appreciative that we take time out of our lives to spend a weekend with them.”

The Alveys share that they always get more out of each REC weekend than they put into it. “We get to see inmates grow and share in ways they never thought they could,” he said. “Sherri and I have learned many things from the program over the years. We have learned that if you get these men away from their addictions and their environment they are really not a lot different than any of the rest of us.”

The Alveys also share they have learned that too often the imprisoned men and women have burned all their bridges and have little or no outside contact and as such really appreciate that people are willing to spend time with them. “We have learned that even folks serving a life sentence can grow in Christ and share the gospel,” said Alvey.

It takes 12-20 volunteers to do a REC weekend, the number varying with the location and Father Ternes is always pleased to accept new volunteers. Certain approvals are needed from the Department of Corrections and there are differing levels of clearance depending on the ministry.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at correctional facilities in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, please contact Rev. Gary Ternes at gary.ternes@state.sd.us or call (605) 367-5113.