Society of Saint Dismas
Expanding a Statewide Network of Faith Based Volunteers and Service Providers. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 2012 15:11

 Sam Pennington and Emmett Solomon

     Recently, Fr. Charles Brown and Dr. Thomas Beckner participated in a series of meetings in Tallahassee designed to expand a statewide network of faith-based volunteers and service providers. The featured guest presenter was Emmett Solomon, director of Restorative Justice Ministries Network (RJMN) in Texas and founder of a similar movement in that state.
    Prior to founding RJMN, Mr. Solomon served as a correctional chaplain with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 30 years. During the last ten of those years, he was Director of Chaplains for that department.
    RJMN now includes 85,000 people who do or have done prison ministry.  Mr. Solomon lobbies for a more efficient criminal justice system, and much of the effort of the ministry is extended toward releasing prisoners who need the help of the Church as they attempt to structure back into society.  The network also maintains an active website regarding prison ministry (
The Tallahassee events were co-sponsored by Bridges of America, Smart Justice, and Tax Watch.

Paying It Forward PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 10 February 2012 09:36


Chaplain Willie Tillman at the Ronald Mcdonald House

    On February 3rd The Turning Point Bridge was blessed with an abundance of Children’s gifts. The gifts were donated by Robert Allen of Rebuilding Families an organization that focuses on rebuilding and empowering families one life at a time. Robert Allen is also a contributor and volunteer to the men at Turning Point Bridge. With all the Christmas presents already left over, Chaplain Willie Tillman decided to pay it forward and donate the reminder of the gifts. He called the local Ronald McDonald House in Ft. Lauderdale and discovered that the gifts would be an enormous support and blessing for families and children going through difficult times. 

    Willie Tillman Stated “It was a privilege to donate our presents as well as tour both facilities as I now understand how the Ronald McDonald House operates within its core values to provide a “safe place” for those going through difficult times.”

    A huge Thank You goes out to Robert Allen and Chaplain Willie Tillman for their great work in connecting, contributing, and paying it forward to the community. Also to The Ronald McDonald House for the great work in helping Families and Children in critical times. I’m sure we will all benefit from this special event.

Written By Dr. Thomas Beckner and Diana Gonzalez

Chaplain Willie Wilson PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 20 January 2012 09:17

Chaplain Willie Wilson and his wife Freda.

 We have a new Chaplain serving the Orlando Bridge!
Chaplain Willie Wilson graduated from Luther Rice Seminary University in Lithonia, Georgia with a BA in Religion/Bible Counseling and is currently working on a Masters of Divinity degree at the same institution.  He also completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Care and Counseling Center in Atlanta.  Chaplain Wilson held clinical positions at both Florida Hospital and the Department of Children and Families and has been a licensed minister since 2005.

He is married to Freda and they have five children. They are also huge football fans.
When asked about his work experiences at Bridges of America so far, he had this to say “I think everyone here has a wonderful spirit, and I see that the staff truly cares for the Clients/Inmates.”

Chaplain Wilson has an excellent skill-set for our chaplaincy and we are confident he will add a great deal to our team.  We pray that his ministry with us is both lengthy and fruitful!

Content of Character PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Content of Character

     On Monday, January 16th, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, just two days after he would have turned 82 years old.  Dr. King was one of the greatest orators of our time.  In his renowned speech, “I Have a Dream,” delivered August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C., Dr. King stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    Throughout the history of mankind, we have always had the propensity to judge others by what we discern with our five senses – see, hear, smell, touch, etc.  The scripture tells us to “Love our neighbor (others) as ourselves.”  Matthew 19:19  That frees us up to not judge them, but love them.  I believe what we love or hate in others is exactly what we love and hate in ourselves.  We can’t love or hate others without reciprocating the same to ourselves.  The scriptures are clear in this matter:  “Judge not, that ye be not judged for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”  Matthew 7:1

    In the scriptures when God was anointing a king for the nation, He informed the prophet Samuel that He was not impressed with the outward appearance.  “But the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature:  …The Lord seeth not as man seeth:  for man seeth on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’”  I Samuel 16:7

    The content of our character is a matter of what is in our hearts.  Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”  Luke 6:45

    Well, as we see Dr. Martin Luther King was addressing a problem that exists from the beginning of time – when Cain killed his brother, Abel, until today when we hate our brothers and sisters simply because of the color of their skin or because they are different.

    The Fourth Step of the 12 Step Program states, “I make a searching and fearless daily moral inventory of my defect of character.”  We all have character defects, but as we search and root them out without fear or intimidation, our lives will reflect the forgiveness power of God and be allowed to be all that God has created us to be.  King Solomon, another wise man said, “Whatever a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7   The content of our character is what is in the heart of each of us.  As we celebrate the legacy and life of Dr. King, we honor him, but most importantly, we honor God by committing to the “Golden Rule” -- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

Have a wonderful holiday and upcoming Black History Month.  God bless you and God bless Bridges of America.

Written By: Father Charles Brown

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