People of faith are activists: 12-26-11
Poland's antisemitism now: 12-28-11

A prison hospice program: 12-27-11

As some of you know, one of the boards of directors on which I serve is that of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care, a wonderful agency that is the non-profit gem of Kansas City's many hospices.

Grace-4Through that work and other experiences I've learned a lot about death and dying and the comfort that quality hospice care can provide. But I'd never thought about the need for hospice care in prison.

Until, that is, a fellow KC Hospice board member, the Rev. Bob Hill of Community Christian Church, gave me a copy of Grace Before Dying, by Lori Waselchuk.

In a series of amazing photos and accompanying text, it tells the story of the prison hospice program in Louisiana's Angola State Prison.

Until Jan. 31, photos from the book and quilts connected to the hospice program in that prison are on display in the Steeple of Light Gallery at Community Christian, 4601 Main St., Kansas City. The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. There is no charge to see the display, called "And You Came to Me."

Grace-3What comes through this photo work so powerfully is the humanity not just of those dying in prison but also of their fellow inmates who have become caregivers in the hospice program. The whole hospice ministry (for that's truly what it is) is transformative. It changes the one receiving care and the ones giving it in radically life-affirming ways.

As Waselchuk writes in the book's introduction, "This project is not about death. It is about life, its limits, and the choices made within those limits."

I encourage you to see the display at Community Christian and then learn about hospice care options here in Kansas City.

(The quilt pictured here today is part of the display at Community Christian. If you click on the other photo here you will get a larger view of the information it contains about the display.)

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Over and over I hear complaints that Muslims don't condemn terrorist acts done by people who claim to be Muslim. The charge is mostly (though not completely) bogus, as evidenced again by condemnations from Muslims over the Christmas violence against Christian churches in Nigeria.

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P.S.: My latest Presbyterian Outlook column now is online. To read it, click here.


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