When Bill Antinore was released from federal prison in July of 1999, he called Prison Fellowship (started by Chuck Colson in 1976 — it is the largest prison ministry in the world) in the hopes of locating a Christian group in South Jersey that helped men after their release from prison. A few days after that initial phone call, Bill received a call from a local representative of Prison Fellowship, indicating that a group by the name of South Jersey Aftercare (SJA) helped men who had come out of prison. He was told that the group met monthly at Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church in Turnersville, New Jersey.
Bill showed up at the group’s August 1999 meeting and became the object of unconditional love from the moment he walked through the door. This group had many members who were already doing Bible studies within various prisons; they had come to the conclusion that the most important part of prison ministry is being able to come alongside men and women following their release. The men in that group mentored and discipled Bill as he transitioned back into the community. The group began discussing the need and necessity of a weekly Christ-centered support group for men coming out of prison. In December of that same year, the first SJA Reentry/Aftercare group was held at Antioch Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey. The group was headed up by Bill Mott and supported by Ron Evans (a member at Antioch) and Bill Antinore. The Lord was apparently testing their perseverance and commitment because Bill, Bill and Ron met every Thursday evening for two years before the Lord began to bring other men to that meeting. Word of the meeting spread and soon there were many men at the meeting each week. The meeting continues today and averages about 15 to 20 men each week.
In 2006, after much prayer, SJA began meeting a significant need for many ex-offenders by renting 3 single family homes and using them as Christ-centered transitional homes for men coming out of prison. In 2014 SJA acquired a 4th home and began using it for the same purpose. They comfortably accommodate 10 men in the homes that they presently have. Since April of 2006 eighty-seven (87) men have resided in their transitional homes as they reintegrated into the community. While there they are mentored, discipled, get plugged into a local church, receive help with practical things like ID, driver’s license restoration, employment & education help & more.