CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN MINISTRY!
Our history in pictures
click on play below!
WKDN 106.9FM radio interview with Ralph 1976.
Comments from Joe Kadtke, Executive Director, on the 40th anniversary of
Prison Outreach of Delaware Inc. October 2003
Back in 1963, Ralph Cavanaugh took his first group of juvenile delinquents on a retreat under the ministry of Wilmington Youth for Christ. These troubled young people were very familiar to Ralph, for he was once a troubled youth himself. Originally from Gary, Indiana he was finding himself in detention centers, foster homes and serious trouble.
But God touched his heart on February 8, 1952 when Ralph received Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of his life. It was then that his life started to change.
A Christian man and the director of Lake County Youth for Christ in Gary, befriended Ralph. Bruce Love began to encourage Ralph to live his life whole-heartedly for Jesus Christ. Ralph was eventually lead by God to begin working with troubled young people. After attending Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York he received a phone call from another Youth for Christ director from Wilmington, Delaware.
Danny Bergstrom and may local folks had been praying diligently, wanting to start a local Life Line Program. Ralph's motivation to serve the Lord in this manner was an answer to many prayers in the local Christian community in Delaware. The Life Line Program focused on a unique ministry to troubled teens confronting these troubled kids with their need to repent of their sins and give their lives to Jesus Christ. Many had been praying for a ministry of this type to begin!
This Life Line ministry had taken on a mission of it's own and the work load had increased to the point that it was decided that Ralph's ministry should set it's focus solely on delinquents.
In 1963, Outreach to Troubled Teens was formed and Incorporated as a not for profit organization under a separate Board of Directors.
In 1970, as ministry responsibilities expanded, Rev. Harry Randolph joined the Outreach of Delaware staff. Harry worked with teens and expanded his ministry to adult corrections. The prison system for adults was expanding rapidly and the Delaware Department of Correction asked Outreach to being a ministry at their new faciltiy in Smyrna. That facility was Delaware Correctional Center. Together with volunteers, Ralph and Harry traveled regularly to hold Bible studies and seminars and to work with their new State Chaplain.
In 1975, Joe L. Kadtke, after volunteering his service while in college, joined the team and began working exclusively with teens. Joe worked at the Ferris School Detention Center for juvenile delinquents and also in the community working with families of incarcerated youth.
In 1976 Harry left the Outreach ministry. Shortly after Steve Parker joined the staff to begin his ministry at Ferris School, replacing Joe.
Joe felt God's calling toward adult corrections. He ministered at Delaware Correctional Center with Ralph and then at Gander Hill prison in 1982 when it opened. He presently serves as Facility Chaplain of that prison.
Our first secretary, Roselda Heald served diligently with Outreach for 12 years before she retired.
Georgia Megonigal served well as our secretary for several years.
In 1988, Terri Lindell joined the Outreach staff and became our Office Manager and has been diligently serving in this capacity for over 15 years.
Tim Heald joined our staff in 1992 and began working exclusively with inmates at Delaware Correctional Center. There, Tim extensively expanded the Outreach ministry and serves as a Chaplain in that facility until this day.
In 2001, Steve Anderson joined our staff and now works as Facility Chaplain at Webb Correctional Facility.
God has brought many volunteers and staff members to this ministry over the years. As we look back over these 40 years, the one thing that hasn't changed is the burden for lost souls and their need for the Savior.
The same message that Ralph Cavanaugh preached those many years ago is the same message that we proclaim today. We share the message that Jesus Christ died upon the cross for the sins of all mankind. We believe that repentance and forgiveness is God's gift to man and is achieved by receiving Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. We believe that rehabilitation comes only through Jesus Christ. We preach and proclaim this solitary message without hesitation and without compromise.
Rev. Ralph Cavanaugh
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