Stone Upon Stone | Sojourners

Stone Upon Stone

"We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote!"..."Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"..."Come and see."..."You will see greater things than these." —John 1:45-46, 50

We found him on a bright summer morning, addressing a crowd high on the banks overlooking the majestic Hudson River, up the river from New York City. Garry Session's eyes were ablaze, but his voice was firm as he challenged the audience, "Come and see, come and see. We are enlightened. We are now agents of change."

Many had come to be with him and his 20 fellow agents of change. Session gave the students' keynote address at the graduation ceremony of a one-year, 36-credit, college-level Certificate in Ministry Program accredited by New York Theological Seminary.

The venue for the graduation was not the traditional seminary, however, with its gothic cathedral and stained glass windows. Instead, surrounded by prison guards and razor wire fences, this graduation was held in a sparse outdoor visiting area of maximum security Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

Cathedral or not, the spirit was high as the graduation proceeded. During the past year, these men had taken their most meaningful step yet up the educational ladder. Under difficult circumstances they had immensely improved their knowledge, insight, and—maybe most important—their self-confidence. As Session put it, "We are enlightened. We are now agents of change."

Up the River

SING SING CORRECTIONAL FACILITY is in the business of detention and punishment. Understandably, the facility tends to ignore the heritage of its location. Here a settlement of the peace-loving Sint-Sinck Indians roamed the shores from the morning of time, sustained by the abundance of the river and surrounding hills.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1999
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