Lake Life

     
Clubs
& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 887-6549.
Cedar Creek
NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Thursday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at Seasons Restaurant in Mabank, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943, email glbstotts@hotmail.com,   or (800) 422-2260 or visit www.gsnetx.org.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
GriefShare Recovery support group meets at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at Cedar Creek Church of God, located at 142 Rodney Dr., Gun Barrel City. Call (903) 887-0293 for more information.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Henderson County Retired School Personnel meets at 2 p.m. the second Wednesday each month at the First United Methodist Church of Athens. Call (903) 451-3585 for info.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Thursday at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Email bhanstrom@embarqmail.com   for more information.
Mabank Al-Anon Family Group meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mabank First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Families of alcoholics are welcome. Call (903) 887-2781 for info.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Rainbow Girls, Masonic Youth organization meets on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Cedar Creek Masonic Lodge. For more information contact Donna Dean at ddean45@hotmail.com.
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For info, call (903) 498-2140.
Suicide Survivors Group for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
Tamarack Ladies Club meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 675-7270.
 

Locals enjoy prison ministry
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Reporter

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The voice of Justice says, “Lock ‘em up and throw away the key.”
But in reality, most of the incarcerated will be released, eventually. And, unless a significant change of heart and mindset occurs while in prison, they will most likely fall back on their familiar patterns that landed them in prison.
However, some of you and your neighbors believe redemption is possible for those in prison, and you are doing something about it.
Loon Bay residents Annette and Bob Jenkins got involved in prison ministry 4 years ago, and were happily surprised by what they received in return.
“I went 60-plus years without doing much, and then I went to a presentation, and it was calling me. I get so much joy out of doing this – a tremendous joy,” Bob told The Monitor.
“The beauty is in the promise Christ gives to those who clothe the naked and visit those in prison, that puts you as an individual so close to Christ,” Annette explains.
The couple is involved in two interdenominational prison ministries: One Man’s Treasure Clothes Closet and Kairos.
Kairos initiates its program with a three-day retreat for 42 inmate leaders, drawn equally from among the Caucasian, Mexican and Negro population, Bob Jenkins explained. “Sometimes, it’s the first time a man sits down with someone of a different race.”
This time around (the 42nd Kairos retreat, with two retreats held annually), 400 inmates applied for the retreat, led by Gun Barrel City dentist Kenny Underriner.
The 60-member team recently returned from a Kairos retreat held May 14-16, at the George Beto Unit, just outside of Tennessee Colony 20 miles northwest of Palestine.
A well-organized and well-trained volunteer team presented what is described as a short course in Christianity.
“It’s like Walk to Emmaus on steroids,” Bob Jenkins said.
For first timers Kristen and Rick Brown the experience is sure to remain a highlight of their life.
“It was incredible. It was the neatest thing I’ve ever been involved with,” Rick Brown told The Monitor. “It was phenomenal. The residents were just so gracious and didn’t know anyone really cared about them,” he said. “I was honored to be a part of delivering God’s love to them.”
The 42 inmates, referred to as brothers in white (white being the color of Texas inmate uniforms), are placed six to a table with three free-world guides (team members) to compose a “family” unit. They are seated at round tables two Caucasian inmates, a team member, two Negro inmates, a team member, two Mexican inmates, a team member, team leader Underriner explains.
The first day is spent in building trust and breaking down walls between those at the table, he adds. This is done through the team members sharing their stories of struggle and triumph through God’s love. The rest of the time is spent listening and loving, Underriner said.
“The Kairos model is “Listen, listen. Love, love,” he said.
“We’re trying to teach them that they need not live solitary to handle prison life, so they can share about themselves and ultimately open up to the love of Christ while living inside prison,” he explained.
To accomplish this goal, team members commit to 35 hours of training for a Kairos weekend, much of it pointed to building loving trusting relationships within the team.
“It’s important for the residents to see that we’re united and fully confident in one another,” Kristen explained. This example helps them to learn to trust one another in their inmate Kairos group, she said. (A team is made up of individuals from many different Christian disciplines, who put aside their differences to serve together in Kairos.)
Through a series of talks, meditations and activities, the Kairos Prison Ministry tries to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness. “We’re there as advocates for Christ. It doesn’t matter what they did to get there. We’re not there to judge them. We’re there to help change hearts,” Underriner said.
There are many attractive features to the weekend that would entice 400 of the Beto Unit’s 3,700 inmates to apply, not least of which is the receiving of 60 unopened letters of love and encouragement. (An unopened letter is unheard of in prison.) Each member of the team writes 42 hand-written letters to the specific inmates chosen to participate in the weekend before going into the prison.
Inmates are also treated to a weekend of home-cooked meals that the outside team of 20 (mostly) women are carefully and prayerfully preparing.
All the food is X-rayed before it goes into the prison, Kristen Brown explained. Even the corners are clipped of anything sealed in a zip-locked bag, she added. The residents really look forward to receiving home-cooked meals and also enjoy the fresh fruit. “We brought lots of fresh fruit and they ate it up,” she said.
Taco salad, grilled hamburgers with all the fixings and even a smoked brisket dinner with potato salad, coleslaw and barbecued beans were some of the items on the menu, not just for the inmates but also their guards. All the cooking is done from a hosting church in Palestine for the weekend, she said.
The team members also prepared about eight to 11 dozen home-baked cookies as snacks during the retreat.
Kairos distributes specific cookie recipes approved by the prisons they serve, Cedar Creek Lake resident Sharon McGlothlin explained. “I bake all of mine in one day the week we are going up there so they’re fresh,” she said.
All of these things, along with the words said during the retreat build a case to persuade the resident that he is worthy of God’s love and that there are people who are willing to love them.
Another important job of the outside cooking team is prayer. These members know each topic discussed on the weekend and pray specifically for that particular activity or meditation’s success, McGlothin said.
In addition, each woman is praying for two or three specific inmates participating in the program. “They know we are, too” Kristen said.
On the first day, they see a poster that the outside team created. It has all their photos on it, she described.
During Sunday’s closing, the inmates get a chance to meet their prayer partner. The women join their husbands in a closing worship service while standing on one side of a police tape.
“We can’t reach across the tape, but we stand very close to it, and the inmates gravitate toward the woman who has been praying for them,” Kristen Brown said.
Through the weekend, the inmates are also able to make specific prayer requests from their prayer partner via the men who are transporting the food to the prison, she explained.
“My two men were full of tears and smiles and thanked me so much for loving them just as they are,” Kristen said. She said the meeting gave her a sense of accomplishment.
However, Kairos is not a pen pal program, she said. “I may send them a Christmas card, but the program tries to help them make relationships within the prison to support one another.”
The process continues after the retreat, through weekly reunions, discussions and prayer.
“Each male volunteer in the program commits to returning to the prison at least one Saturday a month for a year, following the weekend. It’s a big commitment,” Kristen adds, with many men continuing to meet there on Saturdays.
Is it worth it?
“At one closing, we saw the leaders of the black and white groups stand up and hug each other,” Annette Jenkins reported. “That’s when I knew it had made an immediate difference.”
Bob Jenkins described one inmate who over time turned himself around after a Kairos weekend.
“He’s changed into the nicest, sweetest man. That’s the difference prison ministry has made in him.”
“‘If your heart is not changed, you’re coming back,’ that’s what I tell them,” he added.
When an inmate is released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system, he receives a suit of clothing, $100 and a bus ticket to a state destination of choice, Bob Jenkins said. “They’re not too picky about matching the man to the clothes that fit him, either,” he said.
That’s where One Man’s Treasure comes in, he added.
“Whenever I’m able to deliver a suit of clothing that fits to a man recently released from prison, that is a good day for me,” he said.
“If we can help that returning father, son, brother, husband, than we’re seeing the whole family redeemed and ultimately society,” Bob Jenkins said.
According to a national study published in 2003, within 3 years nearly 7 out of 10 released males will find themselves back in prison. The study says this happens due to personal and situation characteristics, including the individual’s social environment of peers, family, community, and state-level policies.
The TDJC reports a 60 percent recidivism rate. However, Kairos reports that men who have participated in its program the recidivism rate is reduced to a mere 8 percent. Other than allowing groups like Kairos into the prison, Texas prisons do little to rehabilitate the inmate.
The word Kairos refers to “God’s special time” – a time when an inmate may experience God’s unconditional love for the very first time and given the opportunity to respond to that love with a changed heart.
There is a growing community of Kairos volunteers in the Cedar Creek Lake area with about 18-20 individuals, most from St. James Episcopal and First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
Team members must raise at least $165 in sponsorship to pay for their hotel stay near the prison and for the food they will serve for a hundred people over the three days.
This ministry gives back to those working in it, however. “Most say this is the most powerful mission work they’ve ever done,” McGlothlin said. “For me, Kairos is a stepping stone for my own spirituality. During a weekend hundreds of people are praying for you. It’s a very cleansing time for all involved.”
In addition to the follow up weekly meetings, the team members hold a summer party, the first Saturday after Independence Day and a Christmas party, the first Saturday in December.
Those interested in knowing how they can get involved may call Sharon and Kenny Underriner at (903) 9498-2588 or St. James Episcopal at (903) 498-8080.


 

 



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