THIS SUNDAY…………….There will be NO Sunday School opening this Sunday.  We are doing this so that the children can get in as much practice as possible before the Sunday School program on December 13th.  The Adult Sunday School will begin right away at 9:45 am in the fellowship hall.  We will be discussing the Wired Word topic which is located below this email.  This should be a very relevant discussion as our own community debates how to treat ex-offenders.  Check out these Bible passages as you prepare for this discussion:  John 21:17, Galatians 6:1-2, Acts 15:37-39, 2 Samuel 12:13-15.

HEALING SERVICE.………….If you are in need of prayer, extra encouragement or Scriptural affirmation, come to the Healing Service in the sanctuary this Sunday at 9:00 am.  I am so thankful to partner with our elders as we desire to uplift your concerns and needs.

VINA MOSES TREE………………..Bring joy to a child!  You can make a huge difference in the life of one of our local children.  Select a tag off the tree in the narthex.  Read the ideas for the gifts you could purchase according to age and gender (the list is on the tree).  Bring back your purchased gift UNWRAPPED and place under the tree by December 9th.  We still have 22 tags left!

Kentucky Governor Restores Right to Vote to Ex-Felons

Just before Thanksgiving last month, Kentucky Governor Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, announced that he was issuing an executive order reinstating the right to vote to about 140,000 nonviolent ex-felons.

“Once an individual has served his or her time and paid all restitution, society expects them to reintegrate into their communities and become law-abiding and productive citizens,” he said, adding that voting is an important part of an ex-convict’s transition back into society.

While an executive order could be rescinded by a future governor, Kentucky’s governor-elect, Matt Bevin, a Tea Party Republican, indicated support for the restoration of voting rights for certain ex-offenders in an October debate, when he stated “America is the land of second chances.”

Beshear’s action places Kentucky more in line with most other states that have ameliorated or repealed restrictions on returning citizens’ voting rights in recent years. Only Florida and Iowa still require special dispensation from their governors to overturn a convicted felon’s lifetime forfeiture of voting rights.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, nearly six million Americans cannot cast a ballot due to a previous criminal conviction. More than two-thirds of that number “live, work, and raise families in our communities,” yet the right to vote is still denied them, even after they have served their sentences.

In 2011, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott stated that while restoration of the right to vote can be part of an effective rehabilitation program, it should “be granted in a deliberate, thoughtful manner that prioritizes public safety and creates incentives to avoid criminal activity.”

A coalition of civil rights groups and churches advocated for a change in Kentucky’s constitution to broaden the voting rights of inmates. Myrna Pérez, director of the voting rights initiative at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, writes “Giving people the right to vote sends them the message that they are citizens in a democracy — and that we expect them to live up to the responsibilities that come with that.”

More on this story can be found at these links:

Kentucky Governor Restores Voting Rights to Thousands of Felons. New York Times
Restoring Voting Rights. Brennan Center for Justice
Voting as an Ex-Offender. Nonprofit Vote
Felon Voting: Top 10 Pros and Cons.
Felon Voting Laws Disenfranchise 5.85 Million Americans With Criminal Records: The Sentencing Project. Huffington Post

The Big Questions

  1. What is biblical restoration? How does it differ from religious conversion? What is the goal of a biblical restoration process?
  2. Think of a time someone needed a ministry of restoration but did not receive it. What happened? Give an example of a time someone received a ministry of restoration that was effective. Why do you think it was successful?
  3. Is it harder to forgive, or to restore? Explain.
  4. Is restoration a right or a privilege? Explain your answer.
  5. Is restoration of an offender always desirable? Why or why not? What risks are connected to the ministry of restoration of an offender?