Michael Lee

Michael Lee, son of Ted and Sondra Lee, and brother of Melissa Lyons, died on Wednesday, June 13 in Atlanta, GA after a long battle with leukemia; he was 54 years old. The family is making funeral arrangements, and we will share details as they become confirmed. Thank you for keeping all who love Michael in your prayers.

Shirley Forstman

Shirley Forstman died late Monday night, June 4; she was 88 years old. It is with profound sadness that I share this news with you, but with even deeper gratitude for the gift Shirley's life has been to us. Thank you for continuing to hold Shirley's family and all who love her in your prayers. Funeral arrangements are still being made, but it is very likely that we will have a Celebration of Life service on Sunday, June 10, at 2pm. We will share details when they have been confirmed.

Cyntoia Brown

This request comes from our friend, Preston Shipp:

In 2008, while I was working as a prosecutor, I argued that sixteen-year-old Cyntoia Brown needed to spend her next 51 years in prison, and the Tennessee courts agreed with me.  In 2009, I had Cyntoia in class in conjunction with Lipscomb University’s LIFE Program at the Tennessee Prison for Women.  In a remarkable twist that testified to her forgiving spirit, we became friends, even after we learned that we had been on opposing sides.  Since then, she has demonstrated a remarkable change.  She has revealed just how much potential for good we all have, particularly young people.  And her heartbreaking story has captured national attention thanks to the Twitter accounts of Kim Kardashian, Lebron James, and Rhianna.

Tomorrow morning, the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole will conduct a clemency hearing for Cyntoia to evaluate whether she should be granted early release.  The final decision will be made by the Governor.  Tomorrow morning, a decade after arguing that she needed to spend the rest of her life in prison, I will have the opportunity to argue that Cyntoia deserves a second chance.  Time and proximity are funny.  They can turn adversaries into allies.

So I would appreciate your prayers, particularly around 10:00 tomorrow morning.  Pray for Cyntoia, her lawyers, the other speakers, the parole board, and Governor Haslam.  Pray that our penchant for retribution might give way to something more life-giving, more beautiful and compassionate, and more in line with the gospel of Jesus, who proclaimed release for the prisoners and was always willing to offer second chances.

Molly Lyons

Congratulations to Molly Lyons, who received recently the Dominican Cross Award at her school, St. Cecelia! She completed more than 90 hours of community service since last July to earn the honor. Most of her service hours were with Vine Street ministries, including TNT, Room in the Inn, M&M Camp and the youth group mission trip to Memphis. Way to go, Molly, and thank you for all the ways you make the world better!

The Evans-Williams Family

Nancy Kleinert passes along a prayer request from Rosie Evans Williams, the daughter of the late Howard Evans, who was a member of Vine Street. Rosie asks us to pray for peace and healing for the family of her daughter, Mylena, who died suddenly Monday morning. Surviving Mylena is a devoted husband, a 13 year old son, and many loving family members who will all miss her deeply.

Visitation with the family will be today, Sunday, May 6, at Woodlawn Funeral Home from 4-6 p.m.

Thank You

We received the following note: "The Reed and McCabe families would like to express their appreciation to the members of Vine Street Christian Church for their thoughts, prayers and support during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your stories about Nan Reed with us." Nan, a longtime member of Vine Street, died April 1.