Catching Stones | February 08, 2018
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So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

—2 Corinthians 5:16-19, NIV


“His light went on. I saw it!”

Across the Metropolitan Detention Center, a jail on the Brooklyn waterfront, stands a warehouse, one side of which is covered by signs. Some signs are in Spanish, some in Hebrew, others in English. The messages are from family members and community members, the wall providing a way for them to communicate when they cannot have visits. Read here about this creative way family members let their incarcerated loved ones know they are remembered.


“I’m going to wear this . . . as a sign of your forgiveness”

In 2016, Rebekah Friesen’s partner was murdered while hiking in the Caucasus mountains in Georgia. But rather than seeking to punish the man who killed her loved one, Friesen flew from her home in Nova Scotia, Canada, to seek a shorter sentence for him. Listen to this deeply moving interview of why Friesen did that and how her understanding of restorative justice and the power of forgiveness affects her.


“It’s a double restoration”

Finding housing as an ex-offender? Not easy. In fact, lack of housing is one of the main reasons for recidivism. Solving an abandoned housing crisis? Equally challenging. But Vanessa Thompson saw a joint solution: people re-entering society could help rebuild those homes and then get to live in them. Together with her public policy class at Indiana Women’s Prison, Thompson researched “sweat equity,” wrote grant proposals, recruited an executive board, and finally presented their idea to the state legislature. Read more about this constructive work here.


“Some improvement is not enough”

In this op-ed piece, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York writes about the need for criminal justice reform and his vision for a “more just New York state.” As part of his plan to reform the criminal justice system, Governor Cuomo is introducing a bill that would address bail and discovery reform and reduce the backlog in court cases. Read Governor Cuomo’s thoughts here.


“Redemption Song”

Since 2015, singer-songwriter John Legend has been on a campaign to change the U.S. criminal justice system and address the issues surrounding mass incarceration. In this TED Talk video, James Cavitt, an inmate at San Quentin State Prison, presents a spoken-word poem before Legend performs his rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Watch the video here.


Restoring Relationships

In this Christianity Today article, Bruce Schenk describes restorative justice in church settings and why “‘thinking restoratively’ is at the heart of the gospel.” Schenk, a Lutheran pastor and director of Canada’s International Institute for Restorative Practices, outlines the basic principles of restorative justice and highlights the Christian call to a “ministry of reconciliation.” Read more about Schenk’s perspective on churches and restorative justice here.


Learning How to Grow Restorative Churches

Together with the International Institute for Restorative Practices and the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in the Eastern Canada District, Shalem Mental Health Network is holding a three-day training on growing restorative congregations. Learning How to Grow Restorative Churches will be held in Ajax, Ont., on Apr. 27 and 28, and May 12. Learn more about this opportunity here.


Locked In Solidarity Webinars

As part of Christian Community Development Association’s (CCDA) Locked In Solidarity national advocacy and action week for mass incarceration, CCDA partners are leading webinars on juvenile justice and trauma-informed responses to violence. Click here to learn more and to watch the webinars.