Criminal justice and the Church in our Community: a Day of Learning

Mennonite Central Committee is hosting a day of learning, exploration, and discussion about the criminal justice system in the greater Harrisonburg area! We will examine various forms of involvement that churches have in the criminal justice system and how their work affects the broader system that they are a part of. The event will be held at Community Mennonite Church (70 S. High St, Harrisonburg) on May 6th from 9am to 4pm.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)

Join us on May 6th at 9am for a Our day will include time with the following people and organizations:

Community Mennonite Church/Rockingham County Jail

The Rev. Jason Gerlach of Community Mennonite Church and Rev. Ben Risser of Ridgeway Mennonite Church will speak about their ministry in the local jail, located directly across from the church. A broader discussion of prison ministry will follow.

Eastern Mennonite University: Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice

Howard Zehr’s work as a pioneer of restorative justice is world-renowned, and his lessons continue to be taught here today. A brief presentation from EMU faculty will be followed by a discussion session on the practical implementations of restorative justice, and the role churches can play.

Gemeinschaft Home

For 30 years, Gemeinschaft Home has served the Harrisonburg community through its work in rehabilitating formerly incarcerated citizens as they return to society. Staff will present on
the work they are engaged in, challenges that they and their clients face, and the support they receive from local churches.

Advocacy and the criminal justice system

The United States currently incarcerates an estimated 2.2 million people, more than any other country in the world. Representatives from the Washington offices of the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Mennonite Central Committee will present on the importance of Christian advocacy in the face of one of the most unjust criminal justice
systems in the world. Advocacy 101 will be provided, along with opportunities to engage in criminal justice advocacy at the state and federal level.

We hope you will consider joining us for this unique opportunity! Lunch is provided.

Please RSVP to joshuarussell@nullmcc.org no later than April 29.

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