By Gordon Nary
Gordon: When and why did you join St. Mark's Church?
Deacon Presberry; Saint Mark’s Church was chosen because I would be their first Deacon and an African-American.
Gordon: How has St. Marks' Church helped strengthen your faith?
Deacon Presberry; Through the years I have witnessed the love of Christ and now call Saint Mark’s home. I am family!!!.
Gordon: What initially prompted St Mark's Church to collect clothes for children in Guatemala?
Deacon Presberry; Saint Mark’s is a caring Church community. A family of the Church visited Guatemala and saw firsthand the needs of the people. For the last 10 years, a clothing collection has been held at the Church,
Gordon: What interested you in becoming a Deacon?
Deacon Presberry; A desire to love my brothers and sisters and serve the Lord. To be a role model for other men who want to be Servants of Christ.
Gordon: What was the most important lesson that you leaned as a correction officer?
Deacon Presberry; No matter what you think or feel about those incarcerated- let God be the judge and you imitate Christ.
Gordon: What are you primary responsibilities as Director of Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore?
Deacon Presberry; To ensure that our incarcerated brothers and sisters receive and have access to religious services and articles. To assist the families however we can and make available resources to help them and those incarcerated.
Gordon: The United States accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, but is responsible for nearly 22% of the world’s prison population. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in U.S. prisons as well as local and county jails. 1 in 3 black men in the United States will go to prison or jail if current trends continue. What can we do to help reduce mass incarceration?
Deacon Presberry; Funny you ask this question. Just recently the Attorney General of the United States rescinded an order that reduced mass incarceration for drug offenses. After years of decline, I believe we are headed in the wrong direction again. Some states have offered alternatives to incarceration and I hope this continues. To house, feed and keep someone in prison makes up the majority of States budgets, money that could be used for other things like education.
Gordon: What impact do mental heath challenges have on the prison population?
Deacon Presberry; Due to lack of treatment and resources, inmates with mental illnesses go untreated and thus pose a security issue for staff and fellow inmates. Like I said before, we can and must begin to treat not incarcerated,
Gordon: Thank you for a great interview and your commitment and insights into our shared responsibly to help the incarcerated.