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Lessons in Civil Disobedience

After arrests for trying to disrupt executions by the state, two divinity students turned to a new model for prison ministry.

of Antioch,” he says. “Yet this recognition compels them to ponder what it would be like to be imprisoned simply for their faith.”

Three years since Project TURN’s first class, the vision is still growing. Interest within the Divinity School’s larger community is high. More students and professors than can be accommodated want to be involved in this life-giving ministry.

The leaders of Project TURN have to discern what can be done with limited resources. There is the dream of creating programs that focus on building supportive relationships with newly released inmates. There is the dream of going into the federal prisons and their hospitals.

“After three years, I am still surprised at the number of regulations by which prisons are bound,” says Jobe. Still, her advice to those interested in prison ministry is “to dream big and to keep pressing for new opportunities, even when met with resistance.”

She and Wilson-Hartgrove keep imagining new opportunities for their incarcerated brothers and sister. “We try not to let regulations box us in,” says Jobe. “We are open to what new and exciting things God might have us do in these spaces.”

Enuma Okoro D’03 is a freelance writer and retreat/workshop leader based in Durham, N.C. She is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Communit y (Fresh Air Books, 2010), and co-author with Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan, 2010).