Last week, when I first saw a story about Kelly Gissendaner, I quickly looked at the mug shot and read a few lines of the story “Weather Threat Postpones Georgia’s First Execution of a Woman in 70 Years” and concluded, she looks like a criminal and went on with my life…
But then through the blog post “When Is Grace Enough?” by Alisha L. Gordon on findthepieces.com, I saw another side of this dead woman walking initially through the picture above…and then through these words…
This matters, even now, as I have friends and colleagues who personally know Kelly. They’ve laughed and talked with her. They’ve walked with her through new theological understandings and guided her to completing a certificate in theological studies through the Candler School of Theology and the Lee Arrendale Prison, where she’s currently housed. The partnership between Candler and Arrendale has provided women like Kelly the opportunity to transform their lives — from the inside out. It has given her a fresh start on a life that took a terrible turn. It was a full extension of God’s grace in action. To read the rest of the blog post, go to findthepieces.com.
And then on Friday, on the WAOK radio program “Too Much Truth” with Derrick Boazman, I listened to the testimony of Nikki Roberts, a former inmate at Metro State Prison in Georgia and pastor’s daughter, who found herself in jail and suicidal…As a pastor’s daughter myself, I was compelled to listen as she cried and described her friendship with Kelly Gissendaner…But for Kelly Gissendaner, she may have taken her life…Nikki Roberts talks about Kelly Gissendaner here…
Kelly Gissendaner’s story has even found its way to The New York Times…
A lot of convicted felons find God while in prison. Some of their stories rise to the level of literature — Oscar Wilde, Malcolm X. Others are less sincere; parole boards around the country are treated to a lot of conversion stories.
Few are anything like Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, who is scheduled on Monday to be put to death by lethal injection. She became pen pals with one of the world’s most prominent theologians.
In 1998, Ms. Gissendaner was sentenced to death for persuading her boyfriend to murder her husband. The crime, which she now admits, was brutal. Many, including some of her slain husband’s relatives, want her to die. She probably will; the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency this week. To read the rest of the story, go here.
If you are moved to support Kelly Gissendaner like I am, you can contact:
Gov. Nathan Deal at 404-656-1776 or @GovernorDeal on Twitter. You can also contact the Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles at 404-656-4661 and www.pap.georgia.gov.
You can also:
Also, tonight at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., “A Vigil of Light, Life and Solidarity for Kelly Gissendaner” will held at the William R. Cannon Chapel at 515 S Kilgo Cir NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.
All are welcome to come and celebrate Kelly Gissendaner and what she has meant to the many communities of which she is part. The service will feature several speakers who testified on Tuesday at Kelly’s clemency hearing before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles — as well as music, poetry, and prayer.
Rev. Yolanda Thompson, MDiv/MSJ
Pastor, Joy n’Java Fellowship
Rev. Della P. Bacote, M.Div.
Chaplain, St. Thomas Healthcare System
Teacher, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville, TN
And here is link to a Facebook page supporting Kelly Gissendaner, and if you tweet about Kelly Gissendaner, use the hashtag #KellyOnMyMind…
And of course, she can use our prayers….