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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2014 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Woodlands Church Receives Governor’s 2014 Criminal Justice Volunteer Award

Front row, from left to right: Christ Church United Methodist members Dr. Glenn Smith, Stoney Burke and John Osborne. Back row, from left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, Keynote Speaker Judge Cathy Cochran and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(Austin)– During ceremonies in Austin today, Christ Church United Methodist members accepted the Governor’s 2014 Criminal Justice Volunteer “Religious Service” award. The senior and associate pastors are among 12 volunteers from the church who support nearly every faith-based program at the Hightower Unit.

The award was presented by Oliver Bell, Chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston.

“These men and women give their time not for monetary reward,” said Livingston. “They volunteer because they have a personal passion in seeing others succeed. We are grateful for their selfless dedication.”

Programs facilitated by Christ Church United Methodist include the Disciple Bible Study, Christmas blessing bags, praise and worship service, communion service and KAIROS. The Hightower Unit’s first faith-based dorm was initiated by the church. The volunteers support the unit chaplain as Certified Volunteer Chaplains Assistants and provide donations for the chapel programs such as televisions, folding chairs, DVDs and Christian books to support the needs of the unit.

When asked what motivated the church members to volunteer with TDCJ they replied it was a “call from God” to visit the offenders at the Hightower Unit in Dayton which is about an hour from The Woodlands.

For their dedicated service to the offenders and assistance to the unit staff, Christ Church United Methodist was selected to receive the “Religious Service” volunteer award.

Christ Church United Methodist of The Woodlands is one of 6 organizations and 15 individuals from across the state recognized today for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jason Clark at – Photos of award recipients will be available on the TDCJ Web site at For high resolution photos, please contact Jene Andersen at