2015 Joint North-South Prayer and Worship Liturgy (8.15 Anniversary)

W. Mark Koenig:

From my friends Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee comes an opportunity to pray and witness for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Originally posted on Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure:

ncck peace campaignThis coming August 15th, 2015 will mark 70 years since Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial control as well as Korea’s division into two zones based on the decision of US and Soviet Union officials (with Koreans conspicuously absent). Thus began a cycle of conflict and violence that Korea has yet to escape. Christians in South Korea first learned that Christians still lived in the open North despite severe restrictions on the practice of their faith. South and North Christians met face to face for the first time in 1988, despite it being illegal with participants risking arrest upon return to the South. Since then, South Koreans and Christians of the world helped convince the North to give Christians some breathing room to worship and practice in public, although full freedom to practice is still restricted. Since 1988, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK – South) and the Korean…

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Unexpected

I read today
of grief and loss
of love and faith
and unexpected
saw your name.

Eyes leaking.
I read on
and the cold, stark words
confirmed that
you were dead.
Into eternity’s void
I stared and hoped
you knew,
and somehow in grace’s mystery
know still,
My admiration for your work
My appreciation for our collaboration
My gratitude for the moments our lives touched
And the ministry we shared.
Thanks be to God.
For Carol Eberhart Johnson
13 July 2015
Manhattan, New York

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Purple, not flowers – Morningside Gardens

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23 June 2015
Morningside Gardens
New York, NY

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Let the debate begin!

Amid the rulings issued in late June, including a ruling that affirmed marriage without regard to sexual orientation and a ruling supporting the Affordable Care Act, came a decision that the “use of midazolam as part of lethal injection protocols is constitutional.”

The ruling focused, not on the death penalty itself, but on the means of administrating the death penalty. As Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said:

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled that using a cocktail of illegal drugs, which has been proven to cause torture in the prisoners to whom it’s been administered, as a form of execution, is not ‘cruel or unusual’ punishment.”

A sign of hope came from the dissent of Justice Stephen Breyer in which he questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty and called for a renewed legal debate on the matter.

Such a debate is needed.

Reports of recent executions describe cruel and unusual circumstances.  Writing in Salon, Matthew Rosza describes three executions:

Dennis McGuire of Ohio, who took nearly 25 minutes to die after choking and struggling throughout the procedure; Clayton Lockett of Oklahoma, whose execution was halted 20 minutes into the procedure due to an issue with his vein, began writhing on the gurney, and took 43 minutes in total to die; and Joseph Wood of Arizona, who gasped and snorted for nearly two hours before his lethal injection finally ended his life.

Not only does the death penalty appear to fit the cruel and unusual criteria of the Constitution, practical concerns abound. It does not make us safer. It lowers us to the behavior of criminals. It makes executioners of us all. It runs the risk of executing an innocent person. And racial and class bias riddle the use of the sentence.

The time has come to end the practice of the death penalty. Let the debate proposed by Justice Breyer begin!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Capital Punishment, Current Events, Death Penalty

Purple flowers – Alma Matthews House 1

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27 June 2015
Outside a window
Alma Matthews House
Manhattan, New York

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Purple flowers – Central Park 24

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14 June 2014
Central Park
Manhattan, New York

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Purple flowers – Central Park 23

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14 June 2014
Central Park
Manhattan, New York

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