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OPINION

Angola documentary: God's transformation

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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PHOENIX (BP)--Once known as the bloodiest prison in the country, the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola is the subject of a hope-filled documentary produced by the North American Mission Board.
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"A New Hope," originally produced as part of NAMB's television series "On Mission" Extra in 2009, tells the story of how the vision and devotion of Christ-followers can spur new life among even the most hardened of hearts. Through a special partnership between the penitentiary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, inmates are receiving seminary educations, a model being instituted in other maximum-security prisons throughout the country.

Attendees at this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix will have the opportunity to view the Emmy Award-winning documentary during a special screening at 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 13, in Rooms 226 B/C at the Phoenix Convention Center.

A feature film about the prison to be produced by Kossover and Company will begin filming in 2012.

"If you want to see how powerful a force flows from the redeeming love of God, watch 'A New Hope,'" New Orleans Seminary President Chuck Kelly said. "For 15 years we have seen God take broken lives and make them leaders. Any life can be redeemed. Any disciple can serve His King with power and effect.

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The largest maximum-security prison in the United States, the Louisiana State Penitentiary houses the state of Louisiana's death row male inmates and execution chamber. Yet even inmates not on death row may never be released -- a hopeless end if not for the dedication of Southern Baptist chaplains, the openness to the Gospel allowed by warden Burl Cain and the opportunity for a seminary education provided by New Orleans Seminary.

"We hope you'll see that a Baptist seminary training Christian leaders in a maximum-security prison is not an oddity," Kelley said "It is a path to unleashing the redeeming power of God to transform human lives with ripples going far beyond anything you can imagine."

Adam Miller is a writer for the North American Mission Board.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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