The staff of the Virginia prison chaplain service celebrates the announcement of its new name.
The staff of the Virginia prison chaplain service celebrates the announcement of its new name.

Virginia’s prison chaplain service adopts new name

GraceInside describes what the nearly century-old ecumenical organization does, says its president.

By Robert Dilday

The 94-year-old ecumenical organization which provides Christian chaplains to Virginia’s prisons announced Aug. 13 it is has changed its name to GraceInside.

Founded in 1920, the former Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia maintains chaplains at 32 of the state’s more than 40 prisons, correctional centers and work units.

GraceInsideVirginia doesn’t fund prison chaplains, due in part to its long history of church-state separation. That prompted the creation of the non-profit chaplain service nearly a century ago. Contributing denominations include the Baptist General Association of Virginia as well as Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Mennonites and the Church of the Brethren. The service also assists other faith traditions to meet the religious needs of inmates.

“[GraceInside] is a much simpler name and is quite descriptive of what our God is doing in the prisons through our chaplains,” president Randy Myers said in a press release. He added that the new logo includes the tag, “Virginia’s Prison Chaplain Service.”

“This is a new beginning for us, and we are very excited. The Virginia State Corporation Commission has now approved the name change and it has been incorporated into our articles, constitution and bylaws. … Shortly to come will be a new website, new email addresses for our central staff, new letterhead, business cards, video clips, as well as entry into social media.”

GraceInside’s six-member administrative staff, including Myers, is based in Richmond. A 16-member governing board includes representatives of each of the contributing denominations.

“God is doing great things, and to him be all the glory,” said Myers. “The lives of men and women in the prisons are being changed through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”