Criminal Justice Awareness Week Is Here

Post a Comment » Written on September 7th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (September 7, 2009) – This is the first in a five-part series on Criminal Justice and the Church. The author is John Tanagho, a member of the Christian Action Commission and Sojourner Covenant Church. He is an attorney with a Chicago law firm.

By John Tanagho

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12: 9, 15).

During this past June’s Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the Christian Action Commission presented a draft resolution on Criminal Justice (accompanying photo shows Andrew Burnett, former commission chair, presenting the draft resolution). The resolution will be presented for a vote during the 125th Annual Meeting next year in St. Paul, Minnesota.

MondayThis is the first year that individuals and churches have the opportunity to submit feedback on a resolution before it is voted on at an annual meeting. The deadline to submit feedback to the commission is October 1.

In order to stimulate dialogue and encourage feedback on the draft resolution, each day this week a Covenant Newswire story will highlight a different aspect of the criminal justice system. We hope you read each day’s story to catch a glimpse of the many opportunities for ministries of compassion, justice and mercy presented by the realities of our criminal justice system.

On Tuesday you will hear the story of someone who has been in prison since age 21.  You will hear about his experience with crime and prison and his hopes for the future, as well as his perspectives on the system.

On Wednesday you will hear from someone on the other end – someone harmed by a crime.

Thursday’s story will highlight a few ways that churches are already engaging in criminal justice ministry. And Friday’s story will highlight a resource that Covenanters can use to engage criminal justice issues.

Each story is intended to help individuals and churches engage in a dialogue about, and with, the people affected by our criminal justice system – victims, offenders, their families, and those who work within the system itself. We hope these resources prompt us as a community to consider the 2.1 million people currently in U.S. prisons and jails, the countless individuals and families scared by violence, the women and men working daily in the system, and how the church can be like a river of grace and healing for each of these affected by our broken criminal justice system.

Editor’s note: During this year’s Annual Meeting, the Christian Action Commission presented a draft resolution on Criminal Justice that will be voted on during next year’s Annual Meeting. Local churches and individuals are encouraged to read and discuss the draft resolution and provide feedback to the commission no later than October 1. Click here to read the resolution. Feedback may be submitted by email to the commission by clicking here. For more information on the commission and its work, click here.

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