By Vickie Grays, Community Resources Manager
California Rehabilitation Center
Sixty years ago, Rev. Beverly Tafoya, affectionately known as “Rev. Bev,” traveled from Wyoming to attend a bible college in California. During her time in college, she said she “heard the call” to go into prison ministry. Fourteen years later, Rev. Bev began ministering at the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC).
After volunteering at CRC for 23 years, Rev. Bev incorporated her ministry and named it Prisoners Renewed Ministries, Inc. Its meaning is based on the ministry’s foundation scripture verse, Romans 12:2, “Be changed by the renewing of your mind.” During this time, Prisoners Renewed Ministries also received accreditation from the International Ministerial Fellowship.
This year celebrates 46 years Rev. Bev and Prisoners Renewed Ministries have been providing church services, bible studies, and counseling to inmates housed at CRC.
During her tenure, Rev. Bev served under CRC’s first Chaplain and has seen many changes such as inmates transitioning from street clothing to uniforms, increased fencing and security, the addition of felons, closure of the Norconian Hotel, and the removal of the female inmate population.
Rev. Bev is currently serving under her sixth Chaplain at CRC and remains optimistic regarding the institution’s future. As a woman of prayer, she said she is often divinely inspired to do specific acts of kindness beyond the usual course of her ministry activities. During her time of prayer, Rev. Bev received a strong desire to donate new sound equipment and musical instruments to the CRC Main Chapel; however, this time her donation would be unlike numerous donations, which were typically worth a few hundred dollars. This donation far surpassed the culmination of all her previous donations, to the sum of over $26,000.
In fact, the store’s equipment sales manager told her, “Your sound system is better than most of the night clubs I’ve sold to.”
Warden Cynthia Y. Tampkins said, “I remember when I was an officer at CRC and Rev. Tafoya was ministering to the incarcerated and now as the Warden, I am even more honored she is still here serving CRC. I am extremely grateful to Rev. Tafoya for her generous donation.”
Unbeknownst to Rev. Bev, CRC inmates who attend Sunday worship services said they have been praying for new equipment. Their prayers were answered above and beyond.