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Baptism touches lives at the Gadsden County Jail


On Thursday, Aug. 14, a baptismal procession, involving the clergy work of Chaplin Jimmy Salters, was held at the Gadsden Re-Entry Center.

Inmates at the Gadsden County Jail chose to profess their Christian faith and become cleansed of sin.

The service is one of many involved in a series of non-denominational baptisms provided by Chaplin Salters to a select group of spiritually inmates ready to begin upon new paths. Although non-denominational, many community churches are involved in supporting and encouraging inmates, praying with the persistently, and teaching them the right and wrong of life.

More than 20 representatives from local Gadsden churches were involved in supporting the baptism.

These included The Church at Tallavanna, Salem United Methodist Church, A.M.E Church, Thomas Memorial Baptist, St. Lorraine Baptist Church, Celebration Baptist Church, and many others.

County citizens also eagerly help support the ceremony. There were more than 50 fifty people in attendance.

The main speaker at the service was Colonel Robert Barkley.

“It’s a glorious day in Heaven as these inmates become ready to allow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” professed Colonel Barkley.

Through the chaplaincy program at the Gadsden Re-Entry Center, Gadsden County Inmates are involved in a variety of services involving religion and spirituality; this includes things such as faith-based studies, meditation classes, bible study, and general mentoring. Many religious and secular classes are offered in a number of activities and classes.

This system, adopted by various Florida correctional facilities under the Bureau of Chaplaincy Services, has had unyielding benefits to both inmates and society at large.

Their motto of “Inspiring Success by Transforming One Life at a Time” surely can be witnessed in these efforts for spiritual revival in the lives of these individuals seeking re-entrance into society.

These baptisms, having occurred since November of 2004, have all been at the Gadsden County Re-Entry Center. They occur every three to six months. The idea for the Baptisms originated with Chaplin Jimmy Salters, who then introduced it to Sheriff Morris Young and received an incredible amount of support.

“Our process begins with a letter of request written by the inmate to me and the Sheriff, wherein we determine the validity of their desire. Most of the inmates are in consternation, and often lack parental figures. We teach them persistently, answer the questions they have, as well as let know the true purpose of the baptism: to lead life anew. I am always deeply touched, as this is the most rewarding program for me in leading the downtrodden to the truth of knowledge. Even as they grow from their situation, we always witness key changes of life and attitude that originate from the chaplaincy program. Again, I am deeply grateful for this opportunity,” Chaplain Salters said.

Salters referred to Romans 12:21 in The Bible.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

“All services are available within the jail to both men and women,” said Captain Anglie Holmes. “The baptisms we have – they are through water, one of the essential components of life, and one of the necessary tribulations for the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.” Captain

Holmes stressed the importance of character development along with closely studying the Gospels.

At the end of the ceremony, the baptized were given certificates.

All in all, 17 people were born again: 12 men, and 5 women.

Rubén Darío Uribe – Gadsden County News Service