Chaplain Thomas Simmons
We are delighted that Chaplain Thomas Simmons continues his service at James River Work Center. His work with GraceInside has had several incarnations – we love these kinds of repeat offenders! Chaplain Simmons has served with GraceInside for many years as a chaplain and as an Interim Chaplain.
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Chaplain Thomas S. Simmons serves as chaplain at James River Work Center. Chaplain Simmons served at James River as an Interim Chaplain while the regular chaplain was away on deployment. Chaplain Simmons is no stranger to prison chaplaincy or GraceInside. Having served with GraceInside before for 10 years at Augusta Correctional Center, 2 years at Hanover Juvenile and 3 months at Greensville Correctional Center as Interim, we are delighted that he is settled in for the long haul.
When asked how he first got involved in prison ministry, Chaplain Simmons responds, “I was filling in preaching for other pastors at the prison. In 2001, Cecil McFarland [former President] noticed I was from Massachusetts, because he had a connection there, and he called me in for an interview. The rest is history.”
“I love counseling with the offenders and the ongoing communication and prayers. I love sharing the Gospel message. I go into the facility and I talk to the offenders and listen to what they have to say. And, then, I let them know what I have available in my office in terms of Bibles, spiritual reading materials, a calendar and a greeting card ministry – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Get Well, and Sympathy cards. Because the offenders work during the week, I am there during the evenings, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings – weekends and holidays.”
“One guy that used to help me out in the prison chaplain’s library. He did 23 years for a crime for which he was exonerated. He did not do it. However, while in prison he accepted Christ – about 8 years ago. He married while in prison. He was so faithful to God…he worked with the other inmates and diffused arguments or jealously and anger… He was so faithful in the word of God. Now he is out and has a job and is a great witness to other offenders and non-offenders. He could fix ANYTHING electrical and plumbing.”
When not serving those on the inside, Chaplain Simmons enjoys reading and playing Sudoku and visiting friends in the hospital and rehab. He is married and has three adult children, two daughters and one son – and grandchildren.
We are so glad Chaplain Simmons continues to be a valuable part of GraceInside!!!