Charlie Towers (1923-2015)

Founder, Prisoners of Christ

by FRANK PEARCE, POC Board Member

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Charlie Towers was legendary in Jacksonville. He was named as one of the 10 Most Influential people in Jacksonville in a Times Union series a few years ago.


The Rogers-Towers law firm remains one of the most prestigious legal firms in Jacksonville. Yet Charlie always wanted to be known as Charlie, not Mr. Towers.


He was a pillar of the Salvation Army, and was a key player in relocating Bill Bright and the Campus Crusade for Christ Ministry from California to Florida.  He was a man of deep faith, serving God in every way he could.  He was "51% Partners with God," God being the 51%.


Charlie had a booming voice, a huge smile, a great laugh, and was an encouragement to all who knew him. 

And as a cornerstone founder of the Prisoners of Christ Ministry, Charlie was totally dedicated to POC, financially and in the recruiting of volunteers.  It was Charlie who recruited me to be a part of the work of POC...we had worked together on community projects when I was a manager at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.  He said to me, "You know how to connect people and get things done, and I need your help." This was a great

endorsement from a man of his stature.  He was a mentor to me for 30 years.


As founders of Prisoners of Christ, Charlie, W.W. (Bill) Gay and Wes Paxson are the reason the ministry survived some challenging times.


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A BEAUTIFUL MINISTRY

written by Dr. J. Stephen McCoy, 2/22/18

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When I came to POC in 2013, Charlie continued his commitment by telling me, “my obituary will be my resignation from POC.”  Those words meant more to me than he could have known. 

 

Charlie was a man of God, a man of prayer, and a man with a humble spirit, who made a difference in this city and in the kingdom of God.  His wife, Katy, shares Charlie's love for the ministry, and when I spoke with her this week, she had some special insight into Charlie's heart for ex-offenders. 

"Charlie considered Prisoners of Christ one of his favorite ministries, said Katy. "He felt blessed and privileged to be a part of it.  The reason he loved it so much was, he knew prisoners are dear to God’s heart."


What a joy it was to speak with Katy and have her read the following to us from Charlie's memoirs!


"My involvement with Prisoners of Christ probably had as much to do with nourishing my faith in the Almighty as anything in my lifetime.  Without going into too much detail, I was introduced to a former bank robber who was sentenced to 60 years in jail.  His early release from prison was very providential.  By a rare coincidence I came to know him through a close friend who was committed to doing prison ministry.  Through several other coincidences, which for me have never been coincidences, but events that God causes to happen, I was able to introduce the bank robber to a very good friend who also had served time in prison.  These two men plus my dear friend, Bill Gay and I founded Prisoners of Christ.  POC is a beautiful ministry to Christian men newly released from prison who are trying to reenter society and become worthwhile citizens. These men always inspire me with the testimonies of their changed lives." 


Katy went on to tell me that it was Charlie who pulled everyone together, facilitating the founding of POC.  She said Charlie loved Prisoners of Christ, and felt proud and humbled to be a part of it.  


Those of us who are privileged to carry on the legacy of the founders of POC feel the same way - proud and humbled to be involved in seeing lives restored, never forgetting that people are the object of God's heart.

Dr. J. Stephen McCoy (1952-2019)

POC President, 2013-2019

Written by Mr. Ken Durkee, Chairman of the Board, on November 1, 2018, the 5th anniversary of Dr. McCoy's tenure as president of POC.


"As the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Prisoners of Christ, many wonderful wonders of the ministry are shown to me regularly.  


One of the more exciting aspects of these wonders is when it was realized that Dr. Steve McCoy had been with the ministry of Prisoners of Christ for five years. Steve has done more for the ministry than one might imagine. 

Steve has grown the ministry to reach five times more men needing help adjusting to life in the world than prior to his leadership.  He brings a level of involvement never witnessed before in that he provides Christian counseling for every individual.  This level of counseling has Jesus at its center and thereby phenomenal results occur.  


Men sometimes have to be with us six to nine months before they seek to live on their own.  Steve is right there with them the whole time until they are strong enough to stand on their own and be successful, productive members of society.


Steve's love for the Lord is so powerful that God's Holy Spirit exudes from him when you are in his presence. Many men have pointed to Steve when asked how were you able to adjust in a world so different than when you were incarcerated. To a man, the answer is Steve's love and heartfelt guidance for the men through God's grace in Jesus.


Steve did something that, before he joined the ministry, was nowhere on the horizon and that is to have a regular church service every Friday night.  This worship service provides an environment of open welcoming to anyone whether previously incarcerated or not. Those individuals come and worship the true and living God through Jesus His Son. Everyone is accepted and loved on by others in attendance.


Steve has reached out to the men by providing volunteers that mentor our residential clients. This allows and enables each man to have someone to talk to about life’s real issues.  This program is very powerful in that there are mature males who care about men who have been incarcerated, and now each man has someone that is dedicated to listen to them and help them achieve success.


Steve has developed a program where high risk felons are able to interview for a job and be hired because of Steve’s insight on how to participate in an interview and demonstrate value resulting in being hired.  One hundred percent of the men from Prisoners of Christ have positions where they are fully employed and the vast majority of men and women who come to us from off the street, who are aware that we are here to help, are also placed in quality jobs.


Steve has a huge heart of love for the men in Prisoners of Christ and it shows.  All of the clients appreciate the opportunity to have a second chance and be successful and soon become contributing members of society.


Thank you Steve for all you did for the ministry of Prisoners of Christ."   - Ken Durkee

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History of Prisoners of Christ

Prisoners of Christ was founded in 1990.

It began with a friendship...THE WHOLE STORY  COMING SOON!

Pictured Above

L to R:  Ken Durkee, Chairman, Board of Directors; Dr. J. Stephen McCoy (1952-2019) Former President; Founders Frank Pearce, W.W, Gay, Wes Paxson; and Dr. Michael Hallett, Current Board Member