Friday, April 4, 2014

Divine Hope Reformed Seminary

WOW it got to 64F, 17.7C on Monday!
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to spend a day at Divine Hope Reformed Seminary. No I am not going to change Seminaries. In fact, this is a Seminary that it should be very difficult to attend. You see this Seminary is at Danville Prison in Illinois.
Two of our Professors were going down for the day and invited some of the students to join them for the day. I was not sure if I would be permitted to go, being a foreigner. You need to apply two weeks beforehand so that background checks can be done. The checks came through fine, and I was good to go.

It was a two hour drive down there, empty cornfields broken up by one wind farm. It was good to get out into the country, but it .... is ... flat.

Arriving at the prison we signed in, and passed through security. And then we were inside. It felt a little funny being inside the fence line. The buildings reminded me of old college buildings, minus the razor wire. We went into the education block, and into the classroom.

Divine Hope Seminary has approximately 30 students, and we sat down to lectures with them for the day. Our Professors and Rev. Brummel, the Pastor that does most of the teaching at the Seminary, spoke on preaching, the whys and hows. It was a good refresher. It was a good experience meeting many of the Seminarians. It was exciting to hear what God has done in these men's lives. Some of the men will never be released, but they are looking at being involved in ministry in the prison.

The Seminary is entirely funded by Reformed Churches, and they have an awesome library, with all of the books donated. I confess to coveting the books slightly. We also got to experience prison food. We ate in the staff cafeteria, not with the inmates. I didn't think that the food was too bad at all. We had pasta, lettuce, pears, and sherbet for dessert.

It felt odd leaving at the end of the day, being able to walk out knowing that the men we had met could not do what we had just done. But it warmed the heart to see God's work in the lives of these men.

I hope to go out and preach sometime, but there is a 90 day stand down before you can go back. So something I will be looking at next Semester. But what left me with the biggest impression was that here, in the middle of a prison, was a Seminary the same size as the one that I am attending. How wonderful would it be to see something like that in one of our New Zealand prisons?


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