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Friday, January 30th, 2015, Fr. Stephen Powley, new Executive Director of the national Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) — an agency of the national Assembly of Orthodox Bishops — was welcomed to Metro-Detroit to conduct a mini-seminar for people who are interested in developing a local Orthodox Prison Ministry, associated with the national OCPM organization.

Friday’s mini-seminar was preceded by a dinner meeting on Thursday evening between Fr. Stephen, and the 2 co-founders of the Prison Ministry group — the Mitered Archpriest Roman Star, (Pastor of St. Innocent Church in Redford, and Dean of the Central States Deanery of the Russian Patriarchal Parishes, and the group’s Spiritual Advisor), and Robert Graban, a member of Holy Transfiguration Church in Livonia. The inter-Orthodox Prison Ministry group is based at Holy Transfiguration Church in Livonia, where Fr. Michael Butler is the host Pastor, and it is open for all Orthodox of any parish or jurisdiction. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Almost 20 people participated in Friday’s mini-seminar. In Fr. Stephen’s fascinating presentation, he shared some of his experiences in ministering to prisoners in his several decades working as a full-time prison chaplain, and the transformations he has witnessed as Christ transformed violent, angry, hate-filled men, into caring, loving, Christ-centered persons — devout Orthodox Christians.


 The Spiritual Advisor for the group, Fr. Roman Star, has been involved with the national OCPM and has attended its national conventions for a number of years. Along with Robert Graban, Fr. Roman is one of the initiators of the local Detroit ministry. They have been working together with Fr. Michael Butler, the priest of the host parish, and with a group of local people who recognize the need to fulfill Christ’s commandment to visit the prisoner, and to participate in Orthodox prison ministry. Fr. Roman has known Fr. Stephen Powley from national conferences and encouraged having him come to Detroit for this mini-seminar. (Fr. Roman had also encouraged a similar presentation about a year ago with the previous Executive Director of the national OCPM.)

The Metro-Detroit community was greatly blessed to have this dynamic Orthodox priest, who is deeply committed to bringing Christ to those in prisons, come and lead this invigorating and informative mini-seminar about the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry.