A Call to Action
By: Dr. Herron Gaston
About the Book
A Call to Action: Practically Reversing the Trends of Mass Incarceration explores and establishes a blueprint for United Methodist Churches based on the current Mission Plan for Restorative Justice Ministries (MPRJM). This Mission Plan could be used internally or externally within the United Methodist Church and beyond to begin to deal with the issues associated with the large numbers of persons leaving the prison system and reentering communities where the connectional system of the United Methodist Churches is established, and where other church denominations are in general, to assist retuning prisoners with reentry and restorative justice programs and ministries.
A Call to Action is for the United Methodist Church to use its historical work in this area along with its unique reformative connectional system. The United Methodist Church is poised to lead in this area because of its creed, structure, and connectional emphasis on mission work, outreach, and methodical steadfastness to deliver and foster justice and the restorative process among former prisoners. The Summerfield United Methodist Church Prison Reentry Model in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was identified as one of the unique prison reentry and restorative justice type programs to further explore this initiative.
Using the Summerfield model as a starting point for this project, Gaston invited parishioners to participate in focus group sessions in May 2017. A group of twenty-five parishioners of varying socioeconomic backgrounds volunteered to participate. The main discussion centered on the current prison fellowship ministry and whether members believed that they were making a difference in their own community. This book has implications for the ministerial practice for dealing with those who have transgressed — and how the United Methodist Church must use its spiritual and connectional resources to reform, redeem, and restore formerly incarcerated individuals back to God and to humanity.
About the Author
Author Dr. Herron Keyon Gaston is an American public intellectual, theologian, political activist, social critic, author, lecturer, pastor, and an Ivy League university administrator. A product of the Deep South, Gaston has witnessed firsthand racial disparities and the disparate treatment people of color often experience within the criminal justice system and our broader society.