Showing posts from October, 2023

Why it’s important for you to meet with us Friday night!

I realize that Friday nights are crowded…sporting events, happy hour meetings, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and a variety of other ways to celebrate TGIF. But just this once, it’s important that you take a break from that routine.   The 27 th marks the very first time that a powerful documentary labeled BEHIND OUR WALLS will be shown in Ottawa County. This award-winning film, produced by Nate Roels of Grand Rapids, conveys an important message about incarceration.   It'll be shown at Central Park Place in Grand Haven...the program begins at 7 PM. In 2015 Calvin College (now Calvin University) and Calvin Theological Seminary teamed up to prepare a classroom experience for a handful of prisoners at one of our state prisons in Ionia. I’ve been in that facility. The prison system has given Calvin Prison Initiative a classroom and a library in the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility. The class size is only 20 per year, but you should know that these people participate in

Love thy neighbor, when he or she is behind bars?

  Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf! Tom Flynn   I’ve been thinking a lot about love these days.   Perhaps it’s because Pastor Nate is in the middle of a sermon series on First Corinthians 13, that famous Bible passage about love. It’s easy for us to mouth popular cliches, “God is Love,” or “Love thy Neighbor,” but, as Nate is pointing out, the subject requires much closer examination. And deeper thought.   I’m a bit of a freak, I suppose, because I have a genuine love for persons who are incarcerated. I mean it. I love prisoners! And I think it started long before I got into this prisoner advocacy business.   I remember in 1969, my partner and I were excited to bring FM radio to Grand Haven. As the owners of the local radio station, we staged a big local ceremony when WGHN-FM went on the air. One of my first goals, as a broadcast journalist, was to do some in-depth programming on topics of interest. In those days, the use of heroin was becoming a major

It can't happen to me. Only to others!

If I got locked up in a prison for something I didn’t do, I’d be a raging bull!  Those were the words of the Rev. Al Hoksbergen, wonderful pastor, beautiful Christian, who was at my side during the years we tried to free Maurice Carter. I raise the issue this week because…   October 2 came and went. Not many people I know paid much attention to the fact that it was the 10 th annual International Wrongful Conviction Day.   Granted, the day has real meaning for me. It was a wrongful conviction that led to my beautiful relationship with Maurice Carter, which then led to the formation of a fine prisoner service agency called HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. But my point is this: It must be important to you, also!   My very good friend Marla Mitchell-Cichon, who for years served as Director of the Cooley Innocence Project, reminds that efforts to help the wrongly convicted go back much longer than 10 years. After all, I began working on the Carter case in the mid-1990s.   “I have been worki