Western Massachusetts bishop delivers testimony to legislative committee

 

Western Massachusetts bishop delivers testimony to legislative committee

first_imgWestern Massachusetts bishop delivers testimony to legislative committee Posted Jun 20, 2017 Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Comments (3) Susan Butler says: Rector Smithfield, NC Director of Music Morristown, NJ [Diocese of Western Massachusetts] Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas J. Fisher attended a hearing June 19 held by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary that featured testimony on a range of proposed criminal justice reform measures focused on sentencing and correctional services. The following statement is based on Fisher’s prepared testimony and received the support of bishops of the Diocese of Massachusetts, Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Suffragan Gayle E. Harris.Bishops and others from the two Episcopal dioceses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently had the opportunity to visit Dismas House in Worcester and Dismas Family Farm in Oakham. The house and the farm are named for the Good Thief in the Gospel of Luke. Dismas is one of two criminals crucified next to Jesus. He asks Jesus to remember him when he enters paradise. Dismas accepts personal responsibility for the wrongs he has committed, yet believes that God can save anyone. His last breath is a leap of faith. One of us also recently had the opportunity to meet with inmates and conduct the Rite of Confirmation at the Devens federal correctional facility. The men we met recently at Dismas Farm and Devens are like Dismas. Many speak honestly about the impact of drugs and alcohol on their lives, their failures to “get clean” or “stay sober.” Most importantly, they acknowledge that their actions have had consequences for society and for those who love them. Those at the farm, they spend their days tending a harvest that will feed the local community. They have the chance to do good again, to feel connected to the needs of others. We experienced men who own their failure but who believe their lives are meant for something better. We experienced hope.The men we met at Dismas were imprisoned for crimes related to drugs and alcohol. Addiction is killing us in the Commonwealth. Instead of sending these people to prison, we need to offer treatment. Some must go to prison for their crimes, but a prison system that reinforces shame, strips away dignity and hope – such a system does not do the good we intend.  Prisons are in need of a deep, cleansing ideological shift. We must seek to reconcile the incarcerated person with the community they have damaged. We need to seek restorative justice which emphasizes the role of the whole community in the reintegration of the offender. Somehow, we’ve made jail an end in itself. Get sent there and that becomes your story. We’ve forgotten that removal from the community is a consequence – not the last chapter in a flawed human being’s story. Restoration to the community must be the end of incarceration whenever possible.We must also ask the legislature to consider the staggering inequity of incarceration by race. Many of us have been deeply affected by our reading of The New Jim Crow, or viewing of the documentary “13th.”  We are striving honestly to examine our own Episcopal Church systems to rid them of the sin of racism; we urge you to do the same as you consider reform of our judicial system.  Racial reconciliation is of ultimate concern to us as people of faith. We ask you to be conscious of our nation’s need to own the mass incarceration of young black and brown men.Our governing bodies have been given power to wield justly and for the good of all people. If we pass the Justice Reinvestment Act, we’ll be able to tell a new story – a story of justice and redemption, a story of second chances and greater safety for our communities. Be assured of our prayers for you and for all leaders in government who strive to respect the dignity of all human beings.The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western MassachusettsThe Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of MassachusettsThe Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Rector Albany, NY Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET June 21, 2017 at 10:55 am Bishop, thank you for bringing the Church’s voice on these issues to be heard in our Statehouse. May there be a loud Amen to all that our MA bishops advocate in this testimony. Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Rector Martinsville, VA Pjcabbiness says: Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Featured Events Submit a Press Release This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 June 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm As usual, the Clergy driven false, progressive criminal justice narrative dominates and the victims of crime are ignored. Additionally, it appears that the Bishops above have completely rejected the theological and political concept of free will. Rector Belleville, IL New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Rector Bath, NC Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Press Release Service Featured Jobs & Calls Rector Pittsburgh, PA Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Collierville, TN Curate Diocese of Nebraska Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Faith & Politics Comments are closed. June 21, 2017 at 7:51 am Thank you for speaking out on such a critical issue. Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Hopkinsville, KY AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Tags Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Submit a Job Listing Rector Tampa, FL TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Rector Washington, DC Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Peter Elvin says: Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Youth Minister Lorton, VA Rector Shreveport, LA Submit an Event Listing Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector Knoxville, TN Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Associate Rector Columbus, GAlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *