I learned last Thursday afternoon that the federal facilities where I minister would be in lockdown through the weekend. Apparently there was some violence. I also suspect that the one-year anniversary for the murder of a correctional officer might also have had something to do with the prison closing. In any event, I was unable to enter the minimum security facility on Friday for the Forgiveness Project or both facilities today for the Protestant services.
This meant I could give a bit more time to preparing for the first session in a Forgiveness Project I am beginning at the Pike County Correctional Facility in Lords Valley. When I first approached a counselor at PCCF about offering my services there, the discussion centered around money management classes. But when she learned of my work at Canaan with the Forgiveness Project, we both felt this would be good for the men at PCCF.
Twenty-two men were waiting for me in their cellblock at 1:30pm on Friday. I sat at one of the steel picnic-style tables, introduced myself and began to talk about why forgiveness matters. I welcomed questions, probed their answers to mine and showed a clip from a video about how forgiveness has entered the vocabulary of nations torn by war, violence, racism and genocide. The hour ended too quickly. But it was a good start.