Gift-giving and baggage dumping
In this cell-space you are invited to think about what gifts you bring to this place and what you might want to share with the people who are shut up here? What knowledge, skills or insight do you have to offer? What story might you have to tell to encourage, sustain, inspire or uplift the people who are required to inhabit this place? How does your understanding of mission feed into what you have found here?
Make a list of any skills, stories, ideas, dreams, projects or experiences that could feed into the spaces in this house. This could be as simple as a prayer vigil for those unjustly imprisoned or relate to special skills that you have to offer in your community. Could you become a prison visitor, a supporter of Amnesty, or of the Missions to Seafarers' work with those affected by piracy, raise awareness of these issues through work, home or school? How would you relate such activities to sharing your faith with others?
On 21st September 2011, a man named Troy Davis was executed in the state of Georgia, USA. He had been convicted in 1989 for the murder of a police officer and was sentenced to death in 1991. He remained on death row for 20 years, never failing to protest his innocence. Amnesty International, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, politicians and others requested a new trial or hearing to allow the evidence against him to be re-examined especially as a number of witnesses at the original trial had changed their story. An evidentiary hearing in 2009 did not help however and in 2010 the conviction was upheld. Troy Davis was executed even though nearly a million people signed a petition for clemency.
Troy Davis said: 'The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I will not stop fighting until I've taken my last breath'.
- What are your views about capital punishment?
- Imagine Troy Davis is still here in the Prison House and that you are a prison chaplain or visitor. What would you want to talk about with him?
- What do you think ordinary people can do to help get justice for prisoners whose convictions may be unsafe?
- What would you want to say to the families affected by the crime for which Troy Davis was convicted?
- Amnesty International has a campaign called 'We are still Troy Davis' . Perhaps getting involved in one of the organisations which helps those unjustly imprisoned, even in a small way, could be a gift to the people of this house. See if you can think of ONE thing you might be able to do to make a difference.