The Heart of Texas Foundation

Seminary Theological Library– We Need Your Help.

Making History in Texas:  Our Darrington Seminary, in a maximum-security Penitentiary.  We need your help, no kidding.  WILL YOU BE A PATRON?   The children of Texas Inmates need us.

If you’re just getting acquainted with what we’re doing, we’re asking you to join us in making prison– and Texas— history.  Do you have a soft spot in your heart for children?  If so,  we have lots in common!  We’re trying to change the hearts of the imprisoned fathers, and then the imprisoned mothers, so they will in turn reach over the prison walls to their children and reconcile, and forgive, and ask forgiveness, and restore, and… help their children NOT follow in the footsteps of the parent!

But there is another goal here.  We are out to change the culture of our prisons, from the inside out.  For years our prison system has worked hard to encourage moral rehabilitation in the hearts of the inmates, both male and female.  Our faith-based programs in Texas are an excellent example of that.  But now, we are raising the bar. With the advent of the first 4-year Seminary in one of our prisons, we hope to greatly increase the scope of that moral rehabilitation.  And we are beginning with the fathers, and fathers-to-be, in the Darrington Prison.  With moral change of the heart,, the fathers will help us change the prisons in Texas from the inside out!  And that will ultimately, once again, help the children on the outside to STAY outside!  Everyone wins.

Our goal is fewer victims.  Fewer victims within the prisons, and fewer victims outside as well.  Statistics say that all children of imprisoned parents face a 70-80% chance of going to prison themselves.  That means 8 out of 10 children who have a parent in jail, will become victims of the father’s or mother’s influence, and their mistakes, and most of their children will go to prison!  The most powerful anti-prison-force for these disadvantaged children can be the moral rehabilitation of the individual child’s father or mother.  And where this moral rehabilitation occurs inside a prison, the entire prison experiences less violence, fewer victims, and greater peace.

The world has seen that occur at the Angola Prison in Louisiana.  We have established our Seminary based on their model and the untiring help of Senior Warden Burl Cain and his staff at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

That’s a fact.  So we need your help, ’cause we’re on a mission, and we will not look back, let up, slow down, back up, or let go.

And you can join us.  To change the hearts of the fathers, we are helping to start the first accredited, 4-year, Seminary Bible College inside a maximum-security Penitentiary in Texas.  We’re way down the road on the project, and now need Patrons to help  set up the Computer Lab and the Theological Library that will be required, and we must be operaitonal by August of 2011, when the Freshman Class gets under way!

Can you, will you, help us?

OUR THEOLOGICAL LIBRARY AND COMPUTER LAB NEEDS

Here is what we need, and no matter who you are, we want your help and need your help.

  • We need about $8,000 to buy books for the Theological Library and the Coursework. The Theological Library will be built to the highest standards– in order to be accredited by the SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).  We will need books in three categories:  (1) Curriculum Textbooks, which will have to be purchased, and here you could become a PATRON and purchase a Freshman’s complete books for the year, approximately $800; (2) DONATE Resource and Reference books such as concordances, lexicons, word studies, atlases, Biblical dictionaries; and (3) DONATE “General Christian Topics” books that address the needs of the inmate students— books dealing with relevant topics in the Christian worldview; books on Forgiveness, Godly Manhood, Suffering, Holiness, Christian Living, Children, Marriage, Biblical Counseling, Apologetics, etc. Prisoners have no money– so we need about $8,000.  Could you spare $50 to put in this kitty?
  • Retiring Pastors:  We need you to consider donating your Theological Library to Texas’ first Seminary Bible College in a Penitentiary!
  • Pastors Widows: please consider donating the Pastor’s Theological Library to the Darrington Extension Seminary Bible College.
  • 2 Licenses to purchase the LOGOS Bible Reference Software, Platinum Edition (@ $1600 each)
  • 2 HP Desktop Computers @ $899 each at Sam’s to run the LOGOS Bible Reference Software
  • Contact us at info@heartoftexasfoundation.org
  • To Donate, click here.

What’s The Idea of an Accredited Theological Library in a Prison?
First of all, our Seminary  in the Darrington Penitentiary must meet accreditation standards.  And our Seminary, to be fully accredited by the SACS (Southern Association of College and Schools), must have a true “Theological Library.”  This library will have to continually meet the accreditation standards of the SACS, and they are stringent.  The SACS are the same folks who accredit Texas A&M University, Baylor University, and a host of other top-flight institutions in America.  Of course, we are an extension campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and will fall completely under their academic jurisdiction.  They will supervise the development of the Theological Library, we must just provide the private funding for it.

Benefits to the Children
As already mentioned, as we try to prevent children of inmates from coming to prison (they have almost an 80% probability of going to prison like their parent), we know that the change of the father’s heart can result in a dramatic reconciliation  with his children.    The Seminary at Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana, our model, has shown us that the moral rehabilitation of a father’s heart, an uncle’s heart, a brother’s heart, can have stunning results not only in the lives of the children of the family, but will affect the entire culture of the prison and ultimately the entire state, as has been proven in Louisiana’s prison system.

As we create the Seminary Bible College at our own Darrington maximum-security prison, we will help bring about moral rehabilitation within our prison system, using the same Model that has proven so successful at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.  There, the entire state has been affected by the moral changes which have occurred within the inmate population in the Angola penitentiary over the last 14 years.  We expect to experience these same changes as we follow their model.

We will be bringing in inmates from all over the state of Texas to enroll as students in the Bible College curriculum, and later on we will be sending them back out into the Texas prisons, two-by-two, as “missionaries.”  A 72% reduction in violence against inmates was experienced in the Angola Penitentiary after the Bible College was created in Louisiana– and that means a great reduction in victims, both inside the prisons and outside the prisons.  And it is resulting in a turning away from prison many children, because they are being reconciled with their fathers.

When a father has a change of morality that goes all the way to his heart, and changes him spiritually, it is not long before he turns toward his children, to begin restoring broken relationships.  That’s what we’re after!  It’s a win-win-win that no one can miss.

Our Seminary is the result of endorsement and participation from the highest levels of our a number of key stakeholders.  Here are all the “Key Players” involved in establishing the first such institution in a Texas Penitentiary:

  • The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Committee, Senator John Whitmire, Chairman
  • The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Brad Livingston, Executive Director
  • The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Paige Patterson, President
  • The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Dr. Jim Richards, Executive Director
  • The Darrington Maximum Security Penitentiary, Warden Brenda Chaney
  • The Heart of Texas Foundation, heartoftexasfoundation.org
  • DONATE: Click here


Where did this whole idea come from?
The Angola Penitentiary was the “bloodiest prison in America.” But something began to change the prison in 1995, when Burl Cain became Warden.  He brought his world-view into his job, and he brought the Angola Bible College into a prison for the first time in American penal history, with the help of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and its President, Dr. Charles Kelley.  Today, Dr. John Robson, the Angola Seminary Director, has been managing the College and Teaching in it for nearly 15 years.  Dr. Robson and Warden Cain, and many others, have given of their personal lives to help us here in Texas bring our own Seminary into existence.

The Angola Bible College went on to change the Angola Penitentiary, and then the state of Louisiana, for good.

So, 15 years later, we at Heart of Texas Foundation were invited to travel to Angola and speak in to their inmates in a series of Chapel services.  We did not know that the Angola Seminary would change OUR lives, too!  We were astounded to see the changes in the culture in that prison, which has been known as “the bloodiest prison in America.”  On the contrary, now men are civil to one another.  Officers and inmates shake hands and greet one another, even on Death Row and in Solitary Confinement.  There is no cussing in the Angola Penitentiary.  Crime and violence is down in the prison, and while there are still some “hard-heads,” , violence is virtually non-existent.  Graduates of the Seminary go into other prisons, two-by-two, as missionaries now.

And Warden Cain credits the Angola Seminary  as being the biggest reason for their successful moral-rehabilitation, for successful turn-around in the prison.

We asked Burl Cain if he would help Texas start such a Bible College, and Warden Cain told me, “I will help you.”  The rest is living history, still unfolding!  Texas has dedicated itself to creating our own Bible College, modeled on what we know works: and what works is Burl Cain’s model at Angola.

You can join us.  We NEED you to join us, no matter where you live.  We ourselves in the Foundation are mostly nobodies from little cow-towns, but we have been called to “greatness”  by our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We need you to help us meet the financial and emotional needs of the men and women in prison, nearly all of whom are parents, and who have children on the outside.  If we can help these parents find their morality, become human again, we will help their children!

Please re-read this page, and pray about how you could get involved.  Call me personally if you wish, I’m that serious.  My cell is 281-850-8103.

Your sincere friend, with great hope,

Grove Norwood

Cell Phone:  281-850-8103
Email us at:  info@heartoftexasfoundation.org
Donate and join our effort at:  The Donate Page