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Our History

From a Need, a Ministry Is Born.

In the early 60’s, correctional chaplaincy was a function of the federal and state prison systems. Local jails might have area pastors ministering to them occasionally on Sundays, but on-site chaplains were non-existent.

Everything changed in 1961 when a young Bible college student in Washington, DC named Bill Simmer discovered that no one preached the Bible to inmates at the local county jail. At this moment, Dr. Simmer’s vision of placing evangelical, Christian chaplains in local jails to minister to inmates was born. This vision came to fruition with the founding of Good News Mission (now Good News Jail & Prison Ministry). It also led to the placement of the ministry’s first chaplain in the Fairfax County, Virginia jail.

In 1983, Dr. Simmer passed the leadership mantle to Harry Greene, whom he affectionately referred to as his “son in the faith.” Ironically, in 1964, Harry had trusted Christ in the Arlington County, VA jail under the ministry of Dr. Simmer. When released from prison, Harry became a highly successful businessman while staying deeply involved with Dr. Simmer and Good News. During Harry’s tenure as President, the ministry grew dramatically, from 30 chaplains then, to over 370 worldwide today. Harry continued in the position of President until his retirement in June 2012.

In September 2013, Jon Evans became the 3rd President of Good News Jail & Prison Ministry. Jon came to Good News after serving as a volunteer in Anne Arundel County, MD as well as 6 years as a member of the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry Board of Directors. With an M. Div and Th.M. from Capital Bible Seminary as well as 16 years of executive leadership in the Defense industry, Jon returned to his roots in ministry with Good News.

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