Chaplain Patricia Williams Coleman
Rev. Dr. Patricia Williams Coleman serves as the chaplain for Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC). Dr. Coleman is an ordained Baptist minister who holds a B.S. from James Madison University. Dr. Coleman holds a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree with a concentration in Church Administration from Virginia Union University. She holds a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from Virginia University of Lynchburg.
Chaplain Coleman’s doctoral dissertation/area of focus was on Poverty Eradication Among Single Parents Who Receive Government Assistance – which includes the families of offenders and the families of former offenders. In addition, she holds a Master of Science (M.S.) degree – also from Virginia University of Lynchburg. She is currently working towards a Doctor of Education degree from Liberty University School of Education. Dr. Coleman is currently the Senior Pastor of Faith Transformation Ministries in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Chaplain Coleman became the permanent chaplain at BKCC effective September 1, 2017. She was called to prison ministry progressively over a number of years. Through her teaching, most of the students were alternative education system that had some connection with our justice system. In addition, she had family members also connected with the justice system. She is one of the founders of a behavioral modification program that has been recognized by the Virginia General Assembly. She’s always felt a calling from both the re-entry and incarceration sides – from both a preventative and restorative perspective.
Chaplain Coleman shares, “When I was seven, I got saved. When I came out of the water, I saw a light. Yet, I kind of drifted from my faith. In college, I wanted my own faith – not just what my parents gave me. I went on a very interfaith journey but everything I looked at drew me back to my faith. Even though I couldn’t explain it, God showed me that Christianity is my calling. When I walked into the prison, I realized that everything had prepared me for this. My ministry of presence, the ministry of humanity is the heart of my Christianity.”
“One thing that really spoke to me is when the offenders came in and began to voluntarily explain to me why they were in prison. They were looking to see what my reaction would be – whether I would judge them and treat them differently. In that moment, I knew that my assignment is not to judge, not to condemn, but to share the love of God. Even though some of my men will never, ever leave the prison, they can experience the love, the freedom, the grace inside behind bars. They can have hope and the best quality of life they can for however long they are here.”
A mother of four beautiful children, when not busy behind bars, Chaplain Coleman focuses on her children and family. She says, “I am a mother, daughter and a friend. I believe effective ministry requires an understanding of the delicate balance between our Divine Calling and our calling to be an example of balanced humanity.” She shares a passion for research and travel and laughs that she is an undercover comedian.
Those are skills that will serve her well. We are thrilled to have her! Welcome Dr. and now Chaplain Coleman!!!