In May and June of this year, several parishioners at Christ the King participated in a book study of “The Sun Does Shine”, written by Anthony Ray Hinton. Hinton tells the story of his wrongful conviction for murder in Alabama, and his subsequent 30 years on death row until lawyers secured his release and exoneration. This book study is part of the diocesan Commission on Prison Ministry work to enlighten our church members on the sometimes cruel results of our nation’s justice system. The Commission has published a study guide to accompany the book, written by member John Olson of St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope, Alabama. The study guide helps link topics in the book to Scripture and to our baptismal calling to “respect the dignity of every human being.” The book study was eye-opening for many participants, and gave us a great insight into how Hinton’s strong Christian faith enabled him to endure the injustice he suffered, and into how our justice system is still riddled with racial inequities. Participant Kate Smart noted “The book was revealing and I was sad to find how there’s such injustice in the justice system.” This sentiment was shared by many. Tommy Fairweather, an educator and study participant said “The book was so well written that I had to contain myself not to read it in a few days…His [Hinton’s] story is amazing from so many perspectives. He was blessed to have a mother and best friend who were with him and trusted him.” She goes on, having lived near Jefferson County, Alabama where the book takes place: “I knew from personal experience the inept and racist police and judges in that area.” We were all inspired by the deep faith that Hinton showed throughout his ordeal. Fairweather said it well: “Ray’s story sure helped me see that God was with him in this awful part of his journey, and helped me reaffirm that God is with me on my own journey.” And thanks be to God! If you have questions on the book, or the book study at Christ the King, please contact Libby Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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