Hi, my name is Donald Stoesz. I have worked as a Protestant/site-based chaplain in the Canadian federal prison service for the last thirty years. In 2010, I published my first book, Glimpses of Grace: Reflections of a Prison Chaplain (Victoria: Friesen Press, 2010). One hundred one-page vignettes tell the story of my work. Ecumenism, inter-faith accommodation, volunteers, therapeutic interventions, programs, and pastoral opportunities represent some aspects of my ministry.
A second book on chaplaincy, Magic of Fiction in Illuminating Transformation, has just been published (2019). Using Tom Riddle as an antagonist and Jean Valjean as a protagonist, it answers the two most frequent questions that I am asked as a prison chaplain.
1. Are offenders remorseful for what they have done?
2. Is it possible for offenders to change?
Hank Dixon and I have just completed a third book on chaplaincy, Prison Chaplaincy Manual: The Canadian Context, to be published by September, 2020. It represents the basis of an on-line chaplaincy course that I am offering at Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta.
A Prison Chaplaincy Course Syllabus is included on this website to give readers and prospective students an idea of what they need to learn in order to become effective prison chaplains. The on-line aspect of this course gives students an opportunity to learn and interact with other students and the professor from their home or work site.
Stories of eight prison chaplains are featured on another page of this website. Entitled In the Company of Saints, the book features biographies of chaplains who have been effective in their work.
I have developed a Seven-Step Spiritual Journey Workshop entitled The Intimate Presence of God. The course uses a portable labyrinth as a meditative guide. It can be found on a page of this website.
An introduction to the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab provides a broader perspective on chaplaincy. Wendy Cadge and Michael Skaggs, associated with Brandeis University, provide a forum and website of a variety of chaplaincies that have been established in the North American context. My work builds on their initiative in demonstrating the vital importance of chaplaincy.
Winnifred Sullivan, scholar of religious studies and lawyer, has done the most work in providing a philosophical and scientific rationale for chaplaincy. Her latest work, A Ministry of Presence, is cited on a page of this website to show how professional chaplaincy can move forward.
Finally, for those who are interested in church history, in 2018, I published a study of one hundred years of Scripture use by Mennonite ministers on the Canadian Prairie. It can be found on the last page of my website