Billy Graham Center

Charles Wendell Colson , 1931-2012
Memorial Page

Charles W. Colson, as he described in his autobiography, Born Again , began anew on August 12, 1973 when he gave his life to Jesus Christ. He had been a successful lawyer, political operator and special counsel to the president of the United States. Now, after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in one of the Watergate-related cases, he became a convicted felon and after his release, the founder of Prison Fellowship, an evangelistic and holistic ministry for prisoners and their families. He also became an influential writer and speaker on the application of Christian belief to the social and intellectual problems of today's secular society.

Mr. Colson was always a good friend to the BGC Archives. He gave his papers to the Archives in 1984. We also serve as a repository for the records of Prison Fellowship. We mourn his passing and rejoice in his joining his Lord in Paradise. In his memory, we have put on this page a few items recalling the dramatic story of how he found new life in Christ and began the lifelong mission telling others how to find that life as well.

Click here to go to the Memorial Page at the Prison Fellowship Site



June 12, 1974 Letter by Colson to his parole officer, Edward W. Soden, telling the story of his conversion, his early Christian life, how his faith related to his plea of guilty at his trial, and the beginning of his prison ministry. A letter to Colson, which he refers to in his letter to Soden, is included, with the name of the sender redacted. (Collection 275, Box 11, Folder 7)

1974? First page of notes, begun by Colson while still in prison, on the book that eventually became Born Again (Collection 275, Box 10, Folder 6)


Audio clips

    April 19, 1975. Colson speaking at a Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He talked about his conversion and how his faith grew in prison. His talk ends with an invitation to his listeners to commit their lives to Jesus Christ. From Collection 459, Tape T147. 37 minutes

    February 2, 1978. Concluding remarks by Colson to a seminar on prison ministry, describing the vision and purpose of Prison Fellowship. From Collection 459, Tape T175. 5 minutes

    June 13, 1991. Colson giving the keynote address at the National Jail and Prison Ministry Conference, sponsored by the Institute of Prison Ministries of the BGC and held at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois. Collection 3, Tape T32. 55 minutes

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Last Revised: 4/27/12
Expiration: indefinite

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