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First Capital provides ‘Church Anywhere’ to offender tablets

First Capital provides ‘Church Anywhere’ to offender tablets
First Capital provides ‘Church Anywhere’ to offender tablets
An offender views a worship service at First Capital Christian Church on a tablet. GTL provides tablets for use by offenders for educational purposes, life-skills programming, communication with family and streaming of religious services. Submitted photo

While COVID-19 pandemic conditions resulted in suspension of visitors and volunteers to correctional facilities, use of special tablets from GTL helps incarcerated men and women maintain contact with family, receive educational training and participate in religious services.

Using technology to partner with religious organizations provides a faith connection for incarcerated men and women desiring to continue or begin a religious affiliation.

First Capital Christian Church of Corydon had been providing regular services to Branchville Correctional Facility for more than two years prior to the pandemic. Now, their online service, Church Anywhere, is available to the offenders via their GTL tablets.

“Our ministry is based on building relationships,” said Tyler Sansom, lead pastor. “We use the technology to begin and foster those relationships with the people inside the walls.

“We also customize the video service for the incarcerated,” he said. “Church Anywhere tailors the service to its audience. That’s the best way we can take the church to the people even if we can’t be there in person.”

David Liebel, director of religious services for the Indiana Dept. of Correction, said the tablets are a wonderful resource, particularly during these times.

“Having a variety of religious programming available on the tablets allows us to provide spiritual support to our men and women on their schedule,” he said. “Even those who can’t go to the chapel are able to participate in religious services and education. We plan to continue this project even after the pandemic.”

A number of other religious organizations in Indiana are providing their services to the offender tablets, including Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis, Northview Church in Carmel, ITOWN Church in Fishers and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The Indiana Dept. of Correction is also looking for other faiths to participate in this program. Any faith group that is interested in learning more about participating can contact Liebel by email at [email protected].