MDOC women seminary students first to graduate program

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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PEARL, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Department of Corrections made history Wednesday night with 12 Mississippi women inmates becoming the first to graduate from a nationally-accredited seminary while still in prison.

The twelve women had two and three years of college-level coursework to receive their diplomas from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Twila Nunnery, who has ten more years to go on her sentence, was chosen by her fellow graduates to speak for them and reflect on the changes.

“The staff now joins us in church, not as security, but to unite with us in the body of Christ for praise and worship,” she said.

“No matter how unloved you may have been before, in [Jesus] Christ, you are seen. You are known, and most importantly, ladies, you are loved,” the President of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. James Dew said.

President Dew brought his entire academic staff from New Orleans to mark the historic occasion and to confer the degrees of “Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry.”

The ceremony was held in a new nondenominational church on the grounds of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

It will be dedicated next month by Governor Tate Reeves and Ruth Graham, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

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