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Correctional Chaplains Conference Seeks Orthodox Participation

The Northeast Region of the American Correctional Chaplain’s Association (ACCA) held its 2014 Conference this past week in New Jersey. OCPM’s Executive Director Chaplain Patrick Tutella and board member Fr. John Kowalczyk participated. The conference brings together chaplains of different faiths to hear speakers on relevant topics in correctional ministry. This year’s topics included religious freedom in prisons and the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

From left to right:  Fr. Nicholas Solak, Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary Prison Ministry Field Education Coordinator, Fr. John Kowalczyk, OCPM Board Secretary and Director of Field Education at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Patrick Tutella, Executive Director of OCPM, Fr. Paul Tolve Catholic Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Services at West Chester County Department of Corrections, and Fr. Mike Koncik, Catholic Chaplain at Rikers Island Prison in NYC.

From left to right:
Fr. Nicholas Solak, Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary Prison Ministry Field Education Coordinator, Fr. John Kowalczyk, OCPM Board Secretary and Director of Field Education at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Patrick Tutella, Executive Director of OCPM, Fr. Paul Tolve Catholic Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Services at West Chester County Department of Corrections, and Fr. Mike Koncik, Catholic Chaplain at Rikers Island Prison in NYC.

The conference provides an opportunity to make new relationships and build on existing ones. One of the attendees, Fr Paul Tolve, a Roman Catholic chaplain, has worked with OCPM and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary to enable seminarians to minister to people in the jail where he serves as chaplain. Chaplain Tutella said that Orthodox and Catholic chaplains are looking for additional ways to work together in prison chaplaincy.

While attending the conference, Chaplain Tutella realized that the 2016 conference was scheduled to be held during Orthodox Holy Week. He raised this issue with organizers, and the date of the conference has been changed. “The ACCA wants Orthodox representation and participation to increase,” said Chaplain Tutella. “One doesn’t need to be a chaplain to attend. Orthodox clergy who are volunteering in prison ministry are also welcome.”

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