Welcome to our Lighthouse Love-Ops Page.
We realize that families and friends who have loved ones who are or have been in prison are suffering in ways that most people cannot understand.
God has put it on our hearts to help these people.
We have designed a program that we believe will provide them assistance. The description and guidelines for it follow this message.
Lighthouse Community Church in Dania Beach, Florida gave us permission to hold our weekly meetings in their Hospitality Room for a six month trial period. After four months, the pastors decided that this is a ministry they belive in and totally support, and have adopted it as an official ministry of our church. The Address is:
Lighthouse Community Church
650 South Federal Highway
Dania Beach, FL 33004
We hold meetings each Sunday from 6:30-7:30 pm. (No meetings on holidays or the fifth Sunday of any given month.) Please join us and encourage others to do the same. We look forward to getting to know you!
Scheduled Speakers in October
OCTOBER 7th: TODD BASS, CHIEF OF THE JUVENILE DIVISION FOR THE MIAMI-DADE OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY; ADJUNCT CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSOR AT MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE; FORMER HOMICIDE PROSECUTOR.
OCTOBER 14th: MARTA VILLACOTRA, JD, RETIRED REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.
OCTOBER 21st: PRESCOTT KOEHLER, A LOVE-OPS FACILITATOR WHO SERVED TIME IN PRISON.
OCTOBER 28th: CHARLES SMITH, A MAN WHO SERVED A LIFE SENTENCE BUT IS NOW ON PAROLE AND DOING WELL.
September 23rd: John Eddings, a former prisoner and a Love-Ops Facilitator.
September 16th: Michael powers, a man who served a life sentence but now is on parole and doing well.
September 9th: Vicki Wnuck Pearl, a mother whose son is in prison.
September 2nd: Kenny Hodge, a man who served a life sentence but now is on parole and doing well.
August 26th: Michele Williams, a Love-Ops Facilitator whose son served time in prison.
August 19th: Andrea Davis, whose brother served time in prison; Andrea also ministers as a pen-pal to 40-plus others who are still incarcerated.
August 12th: Robert Israel, who works as a Florida Parole Supervisor and teaches Criminal Justice at Miami-Dade College.
August 5th: Lizbeth Castellano, who has served in both jail and prison ministry.
July 15th: Dr. Regina B. Shearn, Executive Director of Alpha Phi Sigma the Criminal Justice Honor Society, and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dr. Regina B. Shearn Corrections Transition Program (a unique program that works with long-term offenders who are nearing release from prison).
July 8th: Kacey Elders, who served time in prison, as did her mother.
July 1st: Jerry Bremser, minister from "Clear Count," a ministry that works in the area of recovery with men and women in jail or on probation or parole.
June 24th: Janice Ricketts, whose brother served time in prison but is now out on parole.
June 17th: Rose Ann Mohammed, a mother of two men who are incarcerated.
June 10th: Father’s Day-No Meeting
June 3rd: John Eddings, a former prisoner and a Love-Ops Facilitator.
May 27th: Group Discussion.
May 20th: Cancelled due to weather.
May 13th: Mother’s Day-No Meeting.
May 6th: Jewie Tryon, Owner & Director of Inmate Wives for Christ.
April 29th: Prescott Koehler, a former prisoner and Love-Ops Facilitator.
April 22nd: Marta Villacorta, JD, retired Regional Director for the Florida Department of Corrections.
April 15th: Michele Williams, a mother who had to watch her son’s arrest on television and then suffer through his conviction and prison sentence.
April 8th: Barbara Eddings, a mother whose son was incarcerated over forty combined years as both a juvenile and adult.
1. Love-Ops is a program that will provide support to people in society who suffer from having a loved one who either is or has been in prison. No one truly understands what this group of people is going through except others who are going through the same thing. Love-Ops will help people with incarceration-related loved ones work as a support group for each other.
2. We will hold our meetings once a week. Each meeting is to be chaired by a selected person. Our meetings will last for one hour, but we allow for a fifteen minute period before the meeting, and a half hour period after the meeting, for participants to linger and fellowship comfortably with each other.
3. Initially, we who are leading this organization will chair the meetings, but as it grows we will have the support group members themselves fill this capacity. Meetings will follow this direction:
· Two meetings of the month the scheduled speaker will be someone who has already experienced, or is continuing to experience, having a loved one who is incarcerated. These speakers will provide the participants with information and knowledge that others have gone through what they are experiencing, and show them in some cases what has worked and what has not.
· One meeting the speaker will be either a professional who works somewhere in the field of those who are incarcerated or are on parole/probation supervision, or someone who has been incarcerated. These speakers will help provide enlightenment to the participants.
· One meeting will always be chaired by one of our leaders and geared toward a recap of what has been learned through the previous meetings of that month.
· Whenever we have a week in the month where there is a fifth day when we would normally have a meeting, we will plan to hold something different and special for that month.
4. Our meeting outline is laid out in a separate document titled “Meeting Outline.”
5. We will look for volunteers among our participants who will not only serve as chairs, but also help us set up and clean after each meeting.
6. We have name tags for participants, and will provide them with notebooks so they can maintain records of important things they have learned.
7. As leaders of this program, we must always remember that we shall serve as educators, not counselors. We will ask our church leaders for advice as to who we should recommend as counselors for those participants who seek this.
Also Known as HANDOUT #1
We will always work to maintain solid communication with everyone, with clearly defined relationships and obligations, and promote a commitment throughout the organization to our common mission and goals:
1. We will help the families of those who are incarcerated and/or on post-release supervision.
2. We will provide a regular meeting place for these support group meetings.
3. When possible, we will build pre-release relationships with both those who are incarcerated and their families in preparation for a successful transition back into society.
4. We will encourage the members of the support group to serve as mentors to others in their position.
5. We will encourage the members of the support group to establish or support a community service effort.
6. We will advise the families that their loved one’s (s’) success is more likely if he/she/they see their families’ pre-knowledge, preparation, church life, etc.
7. We will always work to convey useful information to increase awareness of their troubled loved one’s (s’) needs.
8. We will always work to provide resources/contacts pertinent to their loved one’s (s’) needs.
9. We will provide opportunities for relationship building.
10. We will maintain Christianity as our basis of inspiration and guidance, always encouraging the support group to enjoy the benefits of building a relationship with God, always promoting that they find a home church to attend.
1. Good morning/afternoon/evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is _____________. Welcome to this meeting of Love-Ops, a program dedicated to help those who have loved ones in prison.
2. Please help me open this meeting by reciting the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
3. In consideration of everyone here, please silence your telephones; please also refrain from texting or any other use of it. If something comes up and you need to use your phone, please take it outside and then return afterward. Thank you.
4. We do not smoke cigarettes in this building and we ask you to respect this. We have snacks, coffee, and other beverages here for you provided by _____________. We look for volunteers among our participants who will not only serve as a chairperson, but also any who will help us set up before and clean up after each meeting. If you are interested in providing either service, please speak to _____________ after today’s/tonight’s meeting.
5. Love-Ops is a program that provides support to those people in society who suffer from having a loved one who either is or has been in prison and/or is currently on post-release supervision. No one truly understands what this group of people is going through except others who are going through the same thing. Love-Ops helps people with incarceration-related loved ones work as a support group for each other. Our meetings follow this direction:
· Two meetings of the month the scheduled speaker is someone who has already experienced, or is continuing to experience, having a loved one who either is incarcerated and/or on post-release supervision. These speakers provide the participants with information, knowledge, and confidence based on their experiences. They share what has worked for them (and what has not) so that we can benefit from their experiences.
· One meeting the speaker is either a professional who works somewhere in the field of those who are incarcerated or are on parole/probation supervision, or someone who has been incarcerated. These speakers provide enlightenment to the participants.
· One meeting is always chaired by one of our leaders and geared toward a recap of what has been learned through the previous meetings of that month. This meeting will allow for open discussion.
· Whenever we have a week in the month where there is a fifth day/night that we would normally have a meeting on, we hold something different and special for that month, i.e. potluck meal, Dunkin’ Donuts, a BBQ, et cetera.
6. Each meeting will last one hour. We also provide fifteen minutes before and thirty minutes afterward for greeting and socializing.
7. I have asked _____________ to read Love-Ops’ Standards. (SEE HANDOUT #1)
NOTE: Always ask the group to join in thanking the reader afterwards.
8. We ask everyone to respect the following guidelines during our meeting:
A) Always be respectful at all times of everyone here.
B) Please raise your hand anytime you wish to speak and wait to be called upon to do so.
C) At all times, please refrain from using profanity, racial, sexual slurs, and threats.
D) During the open floor, please limit your time frame when speaking. If it becomes too long, the chairperson will intervene by giving you a sign that you have one minute remaining. This will be done to allow ample time for everyone to speak.
E) What we hear in here stays in here. “Hear here?!”
9. Please welcome our leadership team (provide the introduction). Again, my name is _____________. So that we can all get to know each other better, please go around the room and introduce yourself by your first name only.
10. Welcome to everyone here today/tonight. By a show of hands, is there anyone here for the first time? (If any of the new attendees would like to take this time to tell us very briefly a little bit about you and why you are here, please feel free to do so.)
11. Our speaker will share for approximately twenty minutes. Afterward, the floor will be open for everyone questions and discussion. Now, it is my privilege to introduce today’s/tonight’s speaker. (Provide appropriate introduction.)
12. (Based on their mutual decision prior to the beginning of the meeting, either the speaker or the chairperson will guide the open floor discussion. The chairperson will remain in charge of making the one minute notifications if/when needed.)
13. When it gets eight (8) minutes before the end of the meeting, the chairperson will announce that “we have time for one more quick comment or question.”
14. The last five minutes of the meeting will be utilized by the leadership group making any pertinent announcements (including the next week’s scheduled speaker, our invitation to people who would like to assist in service, other plans, a reminder to everyone to invite others to the next meeting), and by someone who has been asked to read HANDOUT #2.
15. After the meeting, please join us for coffee and snacks and getting to know one another better.
16. In closing, we would like to encourage you to attend church this weekend, and if you are not already a member of a church, to seek one to become a part of. Please remember, God is always waiting for you and all of your problems and struggles with open arms and a loving heart. Please join me in closing this meeting with the Lord’s Prayer.
―Jesus, Matthew 25:34-40
“[0ne day] the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”