Can Prisons Be Places of Healing?

I still remember the faces of the women at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. I still remember the words they shared with each other, their courage to speak truth, hard, painful truth.

Eve Ensler conducting a writing workshop with inmates at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York.Monday night, as part of our prison:360 focus, I watched a documentary, What I Want My Words To Do To You, about a writing workshop led by playwright Eve Ensler inside a women's prison. I had the privilege to witness the power of words to open paths toward healing and wholeness. Fifteen women, the majority of them convicted of murder, used writing and conversation to delve into their most terrifying realities and grapple with their own culpability. If you haven't seen this documentary, I hope you will.

We all need places where we can speak the truth without fear, places where, in an atmosphere of love, we can explore the things that haunt and terrify us. We all need relationships that allow us to face our own brokenness, and for some of us prison can be the place where such relationships finally become possible.

On Sunday, we will have guest speakers from The Theotherapy Project, both during the Sunday school hour at 9:30 and during worship at 10:45. Mark and Dana West will talk about their work with small groups inside Tennessee prisons, and with former female offenders at Rivera House, a transitional home for women in East Nashville. Two of the residents will talk about their experience during worship. When truth is spoken and heard in a setting defined by love, healing occurs. Join us on Sunday in the fellowship hall and in worship, and you too will remember the faces and words of women who found healing behind prison walls.