Erik Engstrom, MDiv ’22 had the opportunity to attend Trinity’s first-ever graduation at Waupun Correctional Institution. Engstrom has a heart for prison ministry and is no stranger to its difficulty as he volunteered for one in college.
The highlight of my seminary career did not come in enriched theological conversations, nor an exegetical paper, but when I witnessed the graduation of 20 inmates at the Waupun Correctional Institution.
Trinity had established an extension site in the prison and developed a curriculum that would give inmates the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and a minor in Psychology and a second chance. This moment was overlaid with grace and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My hours studying the word of God and comprehending the forgiveness of Christ in Trinity’s classrooms came to life as I witnessed the power of God liberate and empower these students to be advocates of change.
Graduate August White stated during his commencement speech, “We are not just criminals or our worst mistakes. We are more than that.”
As a student of Trinity, I am so incredibly proud of my institution to partner and offer grace and education to these 20 graduates and the other 75 students in the program. Jesus would describe this work in the gospel of Matthew as the “loving the least of these.”
“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.’ Matthew 25:40 NIV