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Jul23MonBrian and Anne Newell share in ministry with The Salvation Army's correctional and justice services. July 23, 2012 by Kristin Fryer
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- Territorial News
Brian and Anne Newell were court reporters in the criminal court in Kingston, Ont. That was where they first met Majors Fred and Doreen Mills, who were The Salvation Army workers in the court at the time.
They often talked during breaks and, one day, Brian told Major Fred Mills that he played keyboard.
“Major Mills said, 'How about coming into the prison? We need a keyboard player for our chapel services,' and I said, 'No way,' ” remembers Brian. “Working in the court system, we saw criminals as rebellious and dangerous. We only saw one side of them.” But Major Fred Mills kept asking and finally the Newells said they would give it a try.
And so, 27 years ago, the Newells packed up their keyboard went to Collins Bay Institution, where The Salvation Army chapel services were held in a small room.
“You could feel your heart go 'pitter-pat, pitter-pat' when you went in,” says Anne. Despite their reservations, their first visit left a lasting impression.
“We'd never experienced anything quite like it before. The inmates were extremely welcoming. We chatted with at least half of them—there were about 20-25 inmates there,” Anne remembers.
The Newells enjoyed it and kept going back. Since then, they have served at many other institutions and, for the last 10 years, they have escorted minimum security inmates to church every Sunday.
“Ministry is one of the most selfish things a Christian can do because, when you give of yourself, you get fed. You can't out-give; the pleasure just comes back on you,” says Brian. “Whenever we see an inmate dedicate his life to Christ, it brings tears to our eyes.”
To learn more about the Army's work in Kingston's correctional and justice services, read our profile on Freedom Ministries.