CR Inside Newsletter

The blog for CR Inside. Much talk about all things CR Inside...

Principle 8 In Action!

By James D'Amato
CR Inside SW Team Lead

In December 2016, Valley Baptist Celebrate Recovery, in Partnership with Prison Fellowship Angel Tree, invited all of the families located in Kern County, CA that were receiving gifts from the Angel Tree program to a Christmas Celebration. This event started from a meeting with Janice Little, Prison Fellowship Area Director and James D’Amato, CR Inside SW Regional Team Lead and his wife Debbie D’Amato, who are both Ministry Leader’s for CR at Valley Baptist located in Bakersfield, California.

Prison Fellowship stated that they did not have enough church’s available to distribute all of the gifts in the Kern County area. So James contacted all of the area CR’s and organized an event on Valley Baptist’s regular CR night. We ended up getting seven local CR’s involved in helping out. We had over 80 families attend with over 225 total in attendance.

We held it on our regular CR night which helped us, not only to distribute the gifts, but to expose the families to what CR and CR Inside is and how it can help the families of the incarcerated. Each family got to see how CR and CR Inside works, which included exposure to Celebration Place and the Landing. It was a time for CR and the Church to show them the love of Christ, which some haven’t felt in a long time.

We ran it just like our regular CR with a Christmas Dinner fellowship time, worship time, CR Inside video, and the other tools that we use each week at CR. At the end of the night, we distributed the gifts provided by various churches in the area to all for the families in attendance. The kids got to see a Holiday movie, do some face-painting and received small gifts that were donated by local churches.

It was a blessing to see all of the CR’s attend and the volunteer’s help in every area of the event. But it did not stop there. There were about 50 families that could not attend and so the CR’s that joined to help took the gifts for the families that were in their area of their CR, and distributed the gifts to the families home where they prayed, ministered and invited the families to come to their local CR and Church.

It was an exciting and memorable evening that affected the hearts of all those in attendance and all of the volunteers. It was also an opportunity for CR, CR Inside, Prison Fellowship, and the Church to work together for one cause – it was looking at Principle 8 and Step 12 in action!


Unspoken Performs at Maine State Prison



By Gerald Boguhn, CR Inside State Rep Maine

Recently the Maine State Prison had some musical visitors who blessed the inmates in the medium security wing of the prison. Those visitors were the Christian contemporary band Unspoken. A great group of guys who’s popularity is only rivaled by their humbleness. They came in to visit, play an acoustic set of songs and share testimonies.

The event was put together very quickly in January of this year, and was up in the air until a few days prior to their appearance. Due to their concert schedule, time constraints and prison policies, nothing was for sure until the last minute. But in the end, God was faithful and a wonderful event for the inmates was made possible.

It started in early January of 2015 as I was looking through upcoming concerts I could attend. I saw that Unspoken was coming in concert and I knew of them not just due their popularity and radio air play. I was very familiar with them through their ties to Maine, several calling Maine home. I got the idea that a CR Inside concert might be a possibility due to the location of one of their concerts at Waldoboro Baptist Church in Waldoboro, ME being only 30 minutes from the Maine State Prison. This is also the church home of one of our CR Inside volunteers. I contacted the band by Facebook explaining that I was the Maine State Celebrate Recovery Inside Representative and asked if they would be interested in visiting The State Prison to play for the inmates. They responded with a definite yes, if they could fit it in to their schedule. I soon came to find out that they had volunteered to appear for Celebrate Recovery before and soon also discovered the reason why. Unspoken first came together after Chad Mattson met guitarist Mike Gomez on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic. Chad had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for years and decided to go on a mission trip to re-build his relationship with God. It was there in the Dominican Republic where Chad’s eyes were opened and he came to know Christ in a powerful way.

After Mike moved to Chad’s hometown in Maine, the two began playing music together, and performing live shows. Bass player Jon Lowry and drummer Ariel Munoz from Puerto Rico later joined the band and Unspoken was born. Chad credits Christ with his recovery. This is evident in one of my favorite songs they perform called “My Recovery” (Watch the video below). So after about a month of back and forth messaging we were able to work out all the details and the visit was able to happen.

Unspoken arrived at the Maine State Prison around 12:30 PM on Sunday January 25, 2015 to come in and minister to the men and staff with an acoustic set as well as testimonials. They were greeted by Chaplain Kevin Fortier as well as leaders from several ministries to include Kandyce Powell from Maine Hospice Counsel in the front lobby. Once inside of the facility, the men from Unspoken were greeted again by several men from within the community and Chad shared some testimonies from his own life which touched everyone in the room. Unspoken introduced themselves, played several songs such as 'The Good Fight’, 'Bury the Workman' and others. Unspoken was very well received by everyone. Ariel the drummer offered to give his 'kickbox' to the men, Chad also offered to give some CD’s to the facility. Chaplain Fortier received these as blessings and gave them to the men. (Note: He picked these items up at the First Baptist Church in Waldoboro a little later on as they needed the kick box drum for the evening concert, and they did not have the CD’s with them there.)

Unspoken gave more than a concert event, they brought hope into the prison as they shared testimony, time, and gave of themselves just talking and listening to the men at Maine State Prison. They stayed longer than they thought they could, but were blessed by an acoustic song from some of the men at Maine State Prison who used the kick box as well as an acoustic guitar and everyone sang and were joyful. It was a real blessing to just to hear from Unspoken, and see that there is hope and healing that comes from Jesus Christ. Chad shared many testimonies and also went into the Gospel to read and share from the Word.

There was a time of Question and Answer where people could ask questions of the band members. There was also a time after the 'set' where the members of the band just met with as many people as possible, and where the men at Maine State Prison expressed their thanks to Unspoken for coming in.

This was a tremendous blessing to everyone and the men from Unspoken seemed equally blessed also. And to top it off it appears as if they would like to come again in the future. The event was truly a showing that God lives and works in the prisons and jails shining light into darkness. It also showed the humbleness of true Christ followers as Unspoken truly are.

Special thanks goes out to Unspoken for coming to share their time and talent with the men of Maine State Prison, and to Chaplain Kevin Fortier for his huge contribution to this article and awesome support for CR Inside and our team. Thanks also to our friends from Straight Ahead Ministries for their hard work and co-ministering at the Maine State Prison. Last but not least, a huge thank you to our Lord God for this amazing blessing!

Unspoken - My Recovery


Fowler Helps Women With Their New Beginnings

Lisa Fowler-New Beginnings

Lisa Fowler first attended Celebrate Recovery in prison because she heard it could help her following her release. Years later, Fowler is still in CR as a leader who assists women with their re-entry after being incarcerated or in rehabilitation.

Fowler works for New Beginnings Ministry, a long-term, Christ-centered recovery program in Martin, Ga. Before joining the staff, she was a New Beginnings client seeking help from her struggles. One of Fowler's responsibilities at New Beginnings is teaching the center's CR group. She also serves as a Celebrate Recovery Inside state representative for Georgia. "It's become a part of my ministry," she said.

Fowler was introduced to CR during her two-year stay at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia. She was 48 when she went in. "The ladies from Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville led it," she said. "When I first went in, my intentions were to get an address to parole out to. I had heard if you went there, they help people find addresses." Fowler received more than addresses. She found freedom from her past and a calling to serve God through CR.

From prison, Fowler went to New Beginnings, a residential center which helps women recover from alcohol and drug addiction. New Beginnings can hold up to 70 clients. "When you go through the program, you have 10 months to complete and 12 months to graduate," she said. "It gives you all that time to work on yourself. "When I graduated from there, I went ahead and became staff there," Fowler added. "I started leading Celebrate Recovery. It's a required class. You also have Bible classes and church 13 times a week. If you can't get your life straightened out by then, you're in pretty bad shape."

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This is why we do this!

This is why we do this! Meet Delia and the first woman to leave CR Inside at the new Folsom Prison Women's Facility. She is living proof God can move mountains and works in amazing ways through the ministry of CR Inside and help it become CR Inside Out. Thanks be to God for providing clothes, new shoes, a bed at a recovery home, a donated train ticket, and all the essentials so she can transition to her new life serving God.

Darlene Monroe
State Rep, CR Inside Northern California


Greetings from We Care Inc.

Written by Christine Sumner/The Clarion, Re-printed with permission
8/14/2013

I had the sweetest note today that I have ever gotten from a long time friend I met at the jail many years ago when we were both much younger. When I began taking Celebrate Recovery Inside to the jail last October I met her again. “What are you doing here again,” I asked her jokingly. She just sighed and made an “I don’t know” gesture.

Over the months following, I began to see a difference taking place and as the months went by, I knew this young woman had changed. I was so glad when the kind judge gave her one more chance after many others.

She has been clean and sober ever since. This young woman is a totally different person than the one I met in that jail over ten years ago. Jesus made the difference. Listen to this:

“I love you so very much. Thank you for coming to that jail and teaching the word of God. You let me know there was hope.”

I cannot tell you what this does for me. I feel sorry for anyone that has not felt the Spirit of God working in their heart when something like this occurs in their life. This is our purpose in life; go out and tell others about His forgiveness and the saving grace He offers to all who seek him. Going to church is wonderful but actually doing God’s work is beyond measure.

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CR Inside Eastern Canada Rep Says Hello

Living my life scripture one day at a time with Jesus has been and still is an incredible journey….. Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

I have been in and out of prison since 1989, visiting two younger brothers and my youngest son. I have personally seen results of volunteers in my families’ lives and now since January 2009 I have had the privilege of being one of a team taking C.R. inside Grand Valley Federal Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. In September 2011, I had the joy of taking the journey further and became the Eastern Canadian Rep. Not feeling worthy and worried that I had big shoes to fill I am reminded daily that I am not alone and again one day at a time with Jesus I am in awe of what God is preparing us to do and pray His continual support as we move from one stepping stone to the next…….

Breaking the chains of incarceration, one transformed life at a time.

As mentioned before we the team have been in GVI since Jan 2009 and many women have gone through step studies and are now co-facilitating. We started a team in Vanier Center for women provincial jail in October 2011 and offering the program Life’s Healing choices to the bail, remand, trial and short term unit. We have now been asked to go into the sentence unit to provide Step Study. We will be starting this on June 7th of this year. ANSWERED PRAYER Thank you Jesus!

Life’s Healing Choices is in Hamilton Wentworth Detention Center, Hamilton Ontario on the men’s side and in Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in the City of London, Ontario on the men side. Six weeks ago a Team of women started to take it to the women’s side of the same Detention Centre. And Nova Institution Federal prison for women in Truro, Nova Scotia has been running Life’s Healing Choices for a couple of years. As we write these words there is a team meeting with the Chaplain at Ottawa Correctional Detention Centre to take Life’s Healing Choices inside and we rec’d a call from the volunteer co-ordinator at Maplehurst Detention Centre Milton, Ontario “We want Celebrate Recovery” And we have 4 men ready to go in.

As a result of our Church (Yeschurch, Brantford, Ontario) having a CR Sunday just this past month I rec’d a request from a lawyer that was there and has shared the program with a client in the Brantford Jail and she has asked me to contact the Chaplain and counselor and use her name to send literature or a person into her client. We have heard from this Chaplain and we are getting ready to take Life’s Healing Choices to the Brantford, Ontario jail in July and August.

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