Dear Resurrection Family,
It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over and school starts in just a couple of weeks. We have a lot of exciting things happening this fall at the church. I’ll mention a couple of them today. But first, a word about this weekend.
At Leawood, Darryl Burton will be preaching. This will be a powerful weekend in worship and a powerful message I’d love you to invite a friend to hear. In 1984 Darryl was wrongly convicted of murder, and key evidence that would have acquitted him was not disclosed in the trial or to the defense. It took 24 years for his case, with this piece of evidence, to come before the courts. Finally he was exonerated. In one of the toughest prisons in America, he eventually gave his life to Christ, found freedom from the resentment and hate he felt towards those who put him there, and committed to serve God with his life. He went to seminary at Saint Paul School of Theology, and for the last three years has served as one of your Pastors of Congregational Care. You’ll be inspired and moved by Pastor Darryl’s story.
God is calling Pastor Darryl to use his story, and experience, not only as our pastor, but to help others who have been wrongfully convicted and those who are eventually exonerated but who find it hard to start over. He is beginning a new nonprofit organization called "Miracle of Innocence" whose focus is seeking justice and providing support for the innocent.
On Saturday, September 8, there will be a kick-off event to help Pastor Darryl launch this new ministry. This event will be held in the Foundry at Resurrection Leawood, and will coincide with the tenth anniversary of Pastor Darryl’s release. I’m looking forward to attending and I hope you’ll join me. You can find out more about Miracle of Innocence by clicking here. Click the "Gala Tickets" option in the upper right side of the website for more information about the Gala.
This weekend is the second Foundry Worship preview service at 11 am. On August 19 we formally kick off this new service which is a huge opportunity to invite your friends and family. Come check out the Foundry Services this weekend!
Don’t forget: this weekend is the date to return your school supplies and school uniforms for the children at our partner schools. This seems like such a small thing, but it has such a huge impact on the lives of these kids. You’ll be providing school supplies and uniforms for elementary school age children at eight of our partner elementary schools this year. I’m so proud of these partnerships and the impact you have on these children, helping them know that their lives matter.
Are you looking for a place to serve and to make a difference, while growing in your own faith and having a ball? Consider signing up to work with youth in our rezlife Student Ministries or our KIDSCOR Children’s Ministries! For more information about our Student Ministries, click here. If you are interested in more information about working with children in our KIDSCOR ministry, click here. If you know you are ready to volunteer, click here to volunteer for KIDSCOR or click here to sign up to serve in Student Ministries!
As I close, I wondered, this week, how many people like Pastor Darryl are wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Samuel Gross, Law Professor at the University of Michigan has spent years studying exonerations. He heads up the National Exoneration Registry that studies and tracks all who have been exonerated of crimes for which they were convicted since 1989. There are over 2,200 people who were initially convicted, whose convictions were later reversed, who were exonerated of the crime; 10 of these were in Kansas, 47 in Missouri. Gross’ research puts the number of people wrongly convicted of murder at 4.1%.
I’m grateful for our criminal justice system, which aims to ensure justice for everyone. I’ve sat in the courtroom when an individual who murdered two of our church members was on trial, and was grateful the system worked and he was convicted. But it is also clear that no criminal justice system is perfect and that there are innocent people who are sometimes wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. I’m grateful for Darryl’s work on behalf of the innocent.
I’m excited to be back in the office this coming week as we prepare for our Fall Kick-off next week!
In Christ’s Love,
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