Death Row Support Project

Resources


Living Stream video: The Death Row Support Project was the focus of this one-hour worship service with the Living Stream Church of the Brethren. Included are stories about people on death row, worship resources that relate to the ministry of DRSP, and inspiring music.


Messenger article: This March 2000 article explains how the Death Row Support Project was started and gives a glimpse into the life and work of founder and director Rachel Gross.


Bethany Seminary Peace Forum webcast: In 2010, DRSP Director Rachel Gross spoke about “Radical Relationship-Building with People on Death Row.” About 50 minutes long, the session has general announcements at the beginning, then Rachel’s presentation, and concludes with a question-and-answer time.


DRSP brochure: This brochure gives a general description of DRSP and has a tear-off form for signing up to write to someone on death row. Print copies can be ordered by contacting DRSP or you may print your own.

In 2012, Larry Rush, on death row in Pennsylvania, sent a poem he had written to his pen pal in England. The pen pal has a musician friend who agreed to put the words to music. It was recorded by Elias T Hoth, and is posted here with permission. Listen to "Begin Again" (MP3)

Annual Conference statements on the death penalty

This official statement from the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference outlines the church's position on the death penalty.

For up-to-date facts about the death penalty, visit the Death Penalty Information Center.

To find out how you can get involved in your state, visit the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The United Church of Christ has a death penalty curriculum for group study.

Additional reading

SueZann Bosler

SueZann Bosler: "I forgive", article in Messenger magazine.

Bill Bosler, Church of the Brethren pastor, was murdered in 1986, and his daughter SueZann was left for dead. This is the story of SueZann's journey to forgive the man who killed her father, and her role in his sentence being reduced from the death penalty to life in prison.

“A letter writing ministry” by Mariellen O. Gilpin. Friends Journal, June 1996 © Friends Publishing Corporation. Reprinted with permission. Learn more: www.friendsjournal.org

“I have been writing letters to people in institutions for about 20 years…..Over the years I have developed some guidelines that might be helpful to others engaged in this sort of ministry.”
Michael Ross

“How to Bring Light to Death Row” by Michael Ross. Adventist Review, June 1997

“You have the power to change the isolation of death row. You can bring a ray of light and hope through dismal darkness. At the same time that ray of light might touch your own heart and teach you things you never imagined.” Michael Ross was executed in Connecticut on May 13, 2005.

“The Execution of Ronnie Dunkins” by Dale Aukerman. The Washington Post, July 22, 1989

Following the execution of his pen pal, DRSP correspondent and Church of the Brethren member Dale Aukerman wrote this eye-witness account of the execution of Horace Dunkins in Alabama.
March 2000 Messenger cover

"Behold the Man"

Ruth Aukerman created this work of art in response to the execution of Horace Dunkins. Ruth is currently writing to her 4th pen pal on death row and is the associate pastor at Union Bridge Church of the Brethren.

“A Friend in the Electric Chair” The Washington Post, July 22, 1989

This article accompanied Dale Aukerman’s piece and describes The Washington Post’s reaction to Horace Duncan’s death.

“What about Sympathy for the Victim?” by Jim Lightfoot. The Washington Post, July 28, 1989

This letter to the editor offers a different perspective on Duncan’s execution.
Change of Heart

http://www.jodipicoult.com/change-of-heart.html

In this fiction novel, Shay Bourne - New Hampshire’s first death row prisoner in 69 years – has only one last request: to donate his heart post-execution to the sister of his victim, who is looking for a transplant. Bourne says it’s the only way he can redeem himself…but with lethal injection as his form of execution, this is medically impossible.

http://www.dmwplay.org/

Dead Man Walking Theater Project integrates the power of theatre arts and academic study into the national discourse on the death penalty to replace ignorance, apathy, and cynicism among young people regarding the death penalty with information, introspection, and inspiration.

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/19/137283467/9-11-hate-crime-victim-seeks-to-save-his-attacker

Just 10 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was working at a gas station in Dallas when he was shot in the face by a man named Mark Stroman. Stroman was on a shooting spree, targeting people who appeared to be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. At the time of this NPR interview, Stroman's execution was a month away and Bhuiyan, the only survivor of the attacks, was trying to stop the execution.

Letter from Mark Stroman to Death Row Support Project

In this letter, Mark Stroman describes in his own words his situation and requests a pen pal.