Genesee County Jail Ministry

FMM's Current Status



Presently, Chaplain Al Novak, a salaried employee/missionary with Forgotten Man Ministries, heads up a staff  including part-time salaried employee Assistant Chaplain Sue Nolff,  and part time salaried GRO Pod Chaplain Leo Wynne. In addition Chaplain Novak coordinates 24 volunteer Forgotten Man Ministry associate chaplains involved in a variety of daily team ministries.  There are over 150 jail ministry volunteers assist in discipleship mentoring monthly.

 Ministry Programs

Programs in which Forgotten Man Ministry coordinates in the jail are always provided without any financial cost to the inmate.

  • Process registration & identification cards for clergy in the county
  • Oversee all inventory & management of FMM supplies;
  • Organize ongoing support efforts within the Christian community;
  • Provide pulpit supply / missionary conferences for local churches;
  • Provide monthly jail reports to FMM, sheriff, & 280 local churches (email)
  • Coordinate a variety of  seasonal programs (Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving,  etc.)
  • Conduct 2 weekly prayer meetings with FMM associates

FMM's Local History

Forgotten Man Ministries is a non-denominational, privately funded, Christian and charitable jail ministry program.  The ministry headquarters is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was in February, 1974 that Rev. Bill Most, Director of Forgotten Man Ministries, former Michigan State Trooper, spoke with Sheriff John O’Brien about providing a full-time chaplain to the Genesee County Jail.  Approval was granted and Bill started the jail ministry by spending two days a week here organizing a chaplaincy program. On May 28, 1974, Rev. Keith Hoezee became the first full-time chaplain.  Chaplain Hoezee would pass out Bibles and Bible correspondence courses, show Christian films, and counsel the inmates through the bars.

Rev. Hoezee served as chaplain for 4 years but was called to the home office in Grand Rapids to serve as Assistant Director in 1978.  Keith was replaced by Mr. John Wilson who served 4 years as chaplain and in 1982, Mr. Mel Rykse became the chaplain and served for 3 years. In March of 1985, Forgotten Man Ministries commissioned Rev. Albert M. Novak as chaplain replacing Chaplain Mel Rykse who transferred to the Muskegon County Jail. The chaplain’s duties consist of serving as the religious coordinator of the jail and the sheriff’s liaison to the religious community.   The chaplain also coordinates the programs provided through Forgotten Man Ministries.

The chaplain’s office in the old jail on Beach Street was a former holding cell  (3A on the old side).  Under each chaplain the ministry expanded by developing new programs and volunteers. In addition, all jail ministry volunteers were required to attend training classes taught by Forgotten Man Ministries in cooperation with the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. As the jail population has increased over the years, additional FMM Associate Chaplains were added to accommodate the increased ministry load.