Visiting St. Dysmas Mike Durfee State Prison (MDSP)
What to Expect when you worship with St. Dysmas
You can expect an hospitable welcome and a dynamic worship experience.
The Chapel where we worship is the only place men are called by their Christian names; everywhere else they are known by their surname or number. Because many of the men do not receive visitors it is the only place they can enjoy conversation with someone who is not paid to be there or other inmates. Inmates hear the gospel from our Pastor but experience the gospel through outside visitors. The key to St. Dysmas’ dynamic and vibrant worship and our congregations success is this link with outside visitors.
St. Dysmas is a congregation of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). A congregation council is elected and members serve as ushers, lectors, musicians, communion assistants and the men take pride in their congregation. An Associate council of outsiders from ELCA congregations handles financial matters. Pastor’s are called by a vote of the congregation, rather than hired by the prison system. (This also means our income comes solely from individual and congregational gifts.)
Worship competes with other activities as it does for most regular congregations. While these men don't give up golf, hunting, or fishing to attend worship, they do sacrifice recreational offerings or other events that are available to them during the same time period.
You will be required to submit forms for a background check prior to being approved for entry.
Entering the prison you will be provided a body alarm to use if you feel endangered (this has never happened in our 25 year history) and an id badge to scan when entering and leaving the prison. You will be escorted to and from the chapel by the pastor or a designated and credentialed volunteer.
Department of Corrections (DOC) Access Forms (see below) must be completed by each visitor planning to attend a prison service.
Completed forms must be mailed to St. Dysmas Lutheran Church, c/o East Side Lutheran Church, 1300 E. 10th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57103.
Forms can also be scanned and emailed to email@example.com
Scheduling a Visit
To book a date to visit a St. Dysmas MDSP service, contact Susan Zacher.
Telephone: 605-338-1735 If no one is available to take your call, leave a message and your call will be returned or
Pastor David Bentz is the current pastor at MDSP. Cell 605-659-6636
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