Saturday, April 7th, 2012 |
Nearly all of the religious denominations are represented here so there are religious services for nearly everyone who desires to worship. We had our Catholic Good Friday services yesterday. We have an Easter mass scheduled for Monday.
The Protestants are having their Easter service at sunrise on Sunday. The Jews had their Seder last night. I think they have been very accommodating on scheduling and facilitating the services. You got to take it as you can get it.
The chapel here is heavily used. It’s not big by any stretch. It has a main room with partitions that divide the space into two other small rooms. One of those rooms is used for watching DVDs/Cassettes on individual players. There is always at least one or two guys watching something. In addition to the religious services, the chapel is also used to show movies that are fairly new (no first releases here and nothing rated over PG-13).
There is an office for a chaplain and a secretary. The camp used to have a dedicated chaplain but not anymore. I see a complex chaplain every once in a while. The secretary works a full schedule coordinating the chapel activities.
There is also a religious library divided into sections by religion. I’ve donated some Catholic books to it so I assume that, for the most part, the books have been donated by the inmates over time.
We have Catholic Eucharistic service every Sunday and a mass with a Catholic priest once a month. All of the religious services are presided by volunteers. At least for the Catholics, the same volunteer services two or three of the prison facilities at Butner. I know that our volunteer also has services at the FMC and the Low. I’m assuming that there is a second volunteer for the Medium and the High.
There is a general Protestant service on Sunday evenings, but there are others, primarily evangelical such as Church of Christ, that have their own. There are also regular bible study classes.
The Muslims are active and well represented here. There is a small but active Jewish community. The Low even had a Wiccan community that had their service before the Catholic service, which was really weird. The Native Americans have their own tepee on the far end of the recreation yard. They smoke pipes and burn fires regularly.
Solo Religious Practice
The guys also find ways to worship on their own. For example, there are about ten black guys who always recite the Lord’s Prayer every night before the 9 pm count. One of the Jewish inmates teaches a comparative scripture class for Christians on Saturday evenings.
I also see a lot of guys reading their bibles. Obviously there are a lot guys who don’t practice anything but, all-in-all, there is a more active faith community than I was expecting.
As much as I complain and let out steam about Butner camp life, the reality is that we have it good. Despite all the things I write about, it is far better than it is behind the fence. I know that some people prefer being at the Low, but I don’t see why. Everything that really matters is better here in the camp.