The Lehigh Conference of Churches -- Justice and Advocacy Fall Gathering

The Heart of Justice


The Lehigh Conference of Churches

Justice & Advocacy

The Heart of Justice:
Jesus in Prison

Saturday, November 8, 2014
St. John's UCC

Gathering Schedule*

8:30 am Registration; displays, coffee/tea & conversation
9:00-9:45 Plenary 1: Welcome, Devotions, Introductions
- Keynote: Naftali "Charles" Olmeda
10:00-11:15Breakout Session A (parallel workshops):
11:20-12:30Plenary 2:
- Keynote: Andrea James
12:30-1:15 pm Lunch
1:15-2:30Breakout Session B (parallel workshops):
2:30-3:30Plenary 3: Wrap up: What comes next?

Workshop Topics: Morning Breakout Session*

  1. Restorative practices in the community: A pilot program in urban Allentown, PASherri Brokopp Binder and Ben Walter
    [10:00am session]
    When restorative practices are applied in a community context, people have the opportunity to experience more positive relational outcomes and increased control over their lives. In the summer of 2014, Ripple Community Inc. (RCI), a community based, church-affiliated nonprofit located in Allentown, PA, implemented a six-week restorative practices training session with a group of adults and teens living on the margins of the community. Through weekly sessions, participants learned about restorative practices and related skills, and practiced compassionate witnessing and fishbowl discussions in small groups. This session will report on the results of this pilot program using photos and data collected from and with participants. Findings related to the benefits and challenges of introducing restorative practices in an inner city community will be discussed, as will recommendations for the future application of restorative practices with community members in urban settings.
  2. Racial and Ethnic Disparity among Youth Arrested: What's Being Done?Thomas Ganser
    [10:00am session]
    This workshop will show what types of disparity exist for Lehigh County youth and some of the measures that have been taken to correct them.
  3. Reentry from Prison: Facilitating Meaningful ChangeJoyce Dougherty
    [10:00am session]
    This interactive workshop will focus on what it takes to change the way people behave – taking participants through what is called a "thinking report" – a technique to demonstrate how what we think, feel, and believe controls our behavior.

Workshop Topics: Afternoon Breakout Session*

  1. Mentoring residents returning from prison – an introduction for volunteersLatif Matt
    [1:15pm session]
  2. Families for Justice as Healing – conversation with Andrea James
    [1:15pm session]
  3. Building a comprehensive prisoner reentry program in PennsylvaniaRev. Zelma Lang
    [1:15pm session]
    Through careful assessment of the criminal justice system, offender characteristics, and best-practices to reduce recidivism, a clear mandate for action is apparent that will successfully integrate with well-established faith-based directives and resources. Current policies, of the PA Department of Corrections, dealing with parole violators, distributes offenders across the commonwealth. This widespread disbursement of offenders requires a comprehensive state wide network of faith-based mentoring organizations, who are willing to serve as bridges for offenders as they re-enter society. More information may be obtained at

*The program is subject to change. Please check this page again for updates and additional details.

Last Updated: 11/7/2014
Created: September 6, 2014