Author: DAC Communications Office
NASHVILLE, NC – One by one, the men in blue and white robes ascended the stage to receive their fully-accredited bachelor of arts in pastoral ministry degrees and hearty handshakes of congratulations for graduating from the North Carolina Field Minister Program at Nash Correctional Institution on June 7.
These Class of 2023 graduates will soon be reassigned to other state prisons to act as offender counselors and to help as spiritual guides for offenders in need.
The N.C. Field Minister Program is a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction, The College at Southeastern (the undergraduate school of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest) and Joe Gibbs Racing's Game Plan for Life organization.
There were 14 graduates, but only 13 attended the graduation. One of the graduates was awarded his diploma posthumously. He passed away a few months ago after a long battle with cancer. His dying wish was to obtain a diploma. His fellow classmates cheered for him as his named was called.
Gibbs was the keynote speaker at the commencement. The three-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Washington Redskins and successful NASCAR racing team owner told the graduates he was proud of their accomplishments and urged them to focus on their mission to changes lives for the positive.
DAC Chief Deputy Secretary of Rehabilitative and Correctional Services Maggie Brewer spoke about the impact the field ministers will have both inside and outside of prisons. Dr. Seth Bible, the director of The College at Southeastern’s prison programs, remarked at the dedication and commitment of the new graduates to preserve through their rigorous coursework in the confines of a prison.
The new field ministers will transfer next month to Caswell, Columbus, Roanoke River, and Scotland correctional institutions to begin their work as spiritual shepherds.
The 2022 class was dispersed to Craven, Scotland, Alexander, and Columbus prisons, while the 2021 program class serves at Foothills, Granville, Piedmont, Warren, and Nash prisons. Overall, 35 offenders have graduated with four-year degrees.