Hi, my name is Donald Stoesz and I have worked as a Protestant chaplain in the Canadian federal prison system for the last twenty-five years. Most recently, I have worked as a site chaplain at the Bowden annex in Alberta. I published a book on spiritual care in 2010, entitled, Glimpses of Grace: Reflections of a Prison Chaplain (Victoria: Friesen Press). This book includes one hundred and twenty, one-page vignettes of encounters I have had with inmates. The book takes into account the pastoral, ecumenical, inter-faith, and restorative opportunities of this work, while being cognizant of security concerns that are a concomitant part of this ministry.
I have written a second book on chaplaincy, entitled Is It Possible to Change?: A Theology of Prison Ministry. Using Jean Valjean as a fictional protagonist and Tom Riddle as a fictional antagonist, the book delves into the theological, political, and biblical ramifications of prison chaplaincy. The book is to be published by Friesen Press in 2019.
I have just finished a third book on chaplaincy, this time from a philosophical perspective that establishes it on a professional basis. I have included a download of the preface, introduction, and first chapter of Establishing Prison Chaplaincy on a Professional Basis: The Canadian Context on the seventh page of this website.
A one week, residency course on prison chaplaincy appears on the eighth page of my website. It is offered as a 3 credit course at Ambrose University on an occasional basis. The course is intended to help ministers, spiritual care practitioners and others with pastoral experience become prison chaplains.
For those readers who are interested in something completely different, I have just published a book on church history. Entitled Canadian Prairie Mennonite Ministers' Use of Scripture: 1874-1977, the book analyses four hundred and fifty-seven Scripture texts that Mennonite pastors used as the basis for their sermons over the course of a hundred years. I discovered that they used a Lutheran lectionary 41% of the time, chose free or personal texts 31% of the time, and used Scripture passages in common with other ministers 28% of the time.
In terms of my religious and academic credentials, I graduated with a Ph.D. in religious studies from McGill University in 1991 and was ordained as a Mennonite minister by Mennonite Church Alberta in 2005. I worked closely with Dr. Gregory Baum while at McGill and found his theological and sociological reflections on ecclesiology especially helpful. I credit his insights and inspired lectures as the basis for my continuing enamourment with theology and ministry.