The purpose of the Richmond Sheriff's Chaplains Office is to transform lives and lower recidivism by providing faith-based and community-based resources that empower ex-offenders to become productive members of society. Every person reflects the image of God. Those effected by incarceration may receive pastoral care, religious education and enrichment, spiritual guidance and discipleship, worship opportunities, etc. We seek to bring hope, healing and health to prisoners, their families and all those who have been impacted by crime.
The Chaplains Office not only serves the residents of the Richmond City Justice Center (RCJC), but also the Officers, Deputies, and Staff of the Richmond City Sheriff's Office and their families. Chaplains also serve at the John Marshall, Oliver Hill, and Manchester Courthouses as a support to Deputies, Staff, and the public.
Sheriff C. T. Woody appointed The Reverend Doctor Louis M. Williams to serve as the Chief of Chaplains in January 2016.
Pastor Louis, as he is called at the RCJC, is an ordained pastor with over 25 years under his belt and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. While studying Mathematics at Davidson College, Pastor Louis met one of his heroes of the faith and mentors, Dr. John Perkins. Under Dr. Perkin's influence, Pastor Louis moved next to the oldest public housing communities in Charlotte to engage in urban ministry for four years. He then attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA completing a Master's Degree in Theology. At Fuller, he met another one of his mentors and heroes of the faith, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, who unlocked his passion for discipleship and church planting.
Moving back to the East Coast, Pastor Louis came to Richmond, VA to attend Union Theological Seminary where he earned his Master of Divinity. He joined the staff of St. Giles Presbyterian Church as Youth Director and a year later as Associate Pastor. He was encouraged to fully express his God-given passions of evangelism and church planting locally in Gilpin Court, Midlothian, and on the other side of the world in Central Asia.
After taking a sabbatical to complete his Doctoral Degree at Fuller Seminary focusing on Church Multiplication, Pastor Louis served as the pastor of churches in Petersburg, VA and Hanover, VA.
When he is not at the Justice Center, Pastor Louis lives out his passion and vision for Christian community development on the Northside of Richmond with his wife, Marti. Together, they pastor a micro-expression of a missional church called, Life Transformation Church and share practical expressions of God's love and grace with their neighborhood and beyond.
When at the Justice Center, Pastor Louis coordinates the work of nearly 150 volunteer Chaplains representing numerous faiths, who participate in religious programs and services in the Richmond City Justice Center.
Volunteer Chaplains serve in many valuable ways:
- Chaplains provide multiple worship services, religious studies and pastoral care to the residents each week.
- Chaplains receive donations of easy-to-read translations of the Bible in addition to Spanish language Bibles, Korans, soft cover books, magazines in Spanish and English, envelopes, stamps, under garments, socks, reading glasses, personal hygiene products, and other items needed by the residents.
- Chaplains assist jail residents in observing cultural and religious holidays including Ash Wednesday, Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In addition, residents can participate in the choir and other musical opportunities.
- Chaplains assist in various graduation ceremonies, staff celebrations, and in notifying and counseling residents who experience the death of a loved one.
- Chaplains also conduct a faith-based job preparation program and will soon offer a financial skills class as well.