Chaplain Jason Crandall

GraceInside welcomes Chaplain Jason Crandall to Keen Mountain Correctional Center! An ordained Methodist clergy, his personality and spirit are a perfect match for serving in this challenging mission field.

276-498-8091   jason.crandall@vadoc.virginia.gov

Chaplain Jason Crandall has been serving Keen Mountain since March 1, 2016 and comes to us from the United Methodist tradition where, since 2013, he has served as a pastor to Midway and Belfast United Methodist Churches.

As a former paramedic, he spent time riding in ambulances until the call of God pulled him to seminary. Now, he rides along on a different kind of rescue mission. “I assist people with their movement toward God. I am not necessarily a preacher, not necessarily a teacher… I don’t have a real strong drive in any one direction. I’m a jack of all trades, master of none.”

Attracted to the social justice and the passion of John Wesley – where setting up hospitals, education, and bringing worship services to the coalminers was a part of their ministry, perhaps it is not surprising that one of the first things the Methodists did, way back when, was go to prisons.  That made an impact on Chaplain Crandall.

When asked what led him into prison ministry, he laughed and said, “God. I have always felt compelled to be with the least and the lost and those that are in unique circumstances and places.  God has always seemed to put me with people who are unique, different, challenging…”

“If we are truly Wesleyan, we understand spirituality and God as head and heart and hand.  You don’t disengage your brain.  You continue to learn and study – but you don’t disengage your heart and become an academic – and when you have an engaged head and heart, then your hand goes to work.  The seminary I went to was head and heart go hand in hand…. All three.”

If you are interested in prison ministry at Keen Mountain, he laughingly suggests you, “Run Away!!!!’ Then, he adds thoughtfully, “Keen Mountain is a spiritually formative place – you will be pulled, shaped and broken at times but then you will be shaped and molded by God’s grace to be reshaped into the vessel that is needed for both the incarcerated as well as those that serve the incarcerated. In some respects, prison is horrible – but in some respects it is not. I tell the guys all the time that you have opportunity that I don’t have – you have time on your hands to grow closer to God.  No cell phones, no demands, you are not barraged by the things the world bombards you with.  Are you taking advantage of this or are you wasting it?”

“Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly… If you do that, prison will be a different experience.”  Suffice it to say that Chaplain Crandall continues a heritage of doing justice and standing up for what you believe.

With 2 churches and prison chaplaincy 40 hours a week, Chaplain Crandall is pretty busy right now.  He likes to read – a lot – “at least a book a week.  Lots of interests…right now, I’m reading a book by Jimmy Buffet, A Pirate Looks at 50 reflecting back on his life.”

We are thrilled to have Chaplain Crandall join our GraceInside Family!