Theme – The Power and Practice of Small Groups
Friday Evening (Banquet):
- “Christian Dialogue and the Transformation of Lives in the Criminal Justice System” – Tom O’Connor
- “The Spirit of Dialogue: Drawing Us Closer to Christ” – Tom O’Connor
- “The Art and Skills of Dialogue: Being Transformed by the Renew of Minds (Romans 12:2)” – Tom O’Connor
- “The Practice of Dialogue: The Work of Yokefellowship in Small Group and One-on-One Conversations” – Tom O’Connor
Tom O’Connor grew up in Ireland and qualified as a solicitor (attorney) in the Irish legal system. Then Tom joined a Catholic religious order and lived as a friar (wandering monk) for 9 years, working and studying in Ireland, Scotland, France and the USA. He was sent to Washington DC in 1987 and 2 years later left the order and took a research job at Loyola University of Maryland to evaluate the impact of a federal prison program on recidivism. For the next 23 years, Tom spent most of his time focused on change and human development issues in the criminal justice system.
Tom has degrees in law, philosophy, theology and counselling; his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America focused on Religion and Culture in the US Penal System. Tom lives in Salem, Oregon with Aislinn, his wife, and Sorcha, his 11 year old daughter.
Most recently Tom worked as a research manager and as the head chaplain with the Oregon DOC. Tom has published, trained, and coached widely on change management, organizational development, the contribution of chaplaincy and volunteers to corrections, the role of humanistic, spiritual and religious ways of making meaning in the desistance process. Tom has trained prison chaplains and volunteers nationally and internationally. Tom teaches in the Criminal Justice Division at Western Oregon University, and is the CEO of Transforming Corrections, whose mission is to advance a more compassionate, effective, safer and less costly criminal justice system.
Joseph Herbst, M.A., is the Executive Director of Bethseda Family Services Foundation in Lewisburg, PA. With 7 years of experience in the fields of youth and family intervention including alternative education, residential treatment, and adult corrections, Joseph is passionate about engaging the community in the area of family relationships and restoration. Joseph earned a Master of Arts and Religion from Liberty University. He is an expert in both Peer Governance and Relational Healing Models as a certified trainer. He assists in broadcasting live interactive webcasts nationwide in the Restoring Relationships Model. Among his other duties, Joseph oversees BFSF’s Residential Treatment Center, prison programs and counseling center.
Chaplain Ray Kauffman, is a retired chaplain from the Franklin County Jail, serving 1979-89. Ray has also been a chaplain at a nursing home, to area migrant farm workers and has served as a church pastor. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University and Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary. He recently wrote “Breaking Out of Your Prison,” an easy-read book for inmates and their families that identifies 12 keys that unlock the doors of one’s personal prisons. These keys are helpful for anyone going through a crisis. Ray and his wife, Georgia, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Tom Rice has a powerful testimony of his 26 years of imprisonment. Yokefellowship volunteers ministered to Tom in a personal way as they shared the Word of God. Tom had previously committed his life to Christ but wasn’t able to walk-the-walk without the love and support of other Christians. Yokefellowship volunteers walked with him while he was incarcerated and helped him to stay on the narrow road after release. Yokefellow volunteers connected him with New Beginnings in Canton, PA where he was eventually hired as staff. He held that position for several years and continues to volunteer there as he is able.