March: One Year of COVID-19
by Yohannes "Knowledge" Johnson
Green Haven Prison Preparative Meeting
With no real opportunity to meet with or in some cases even see one another to pass along a few words of encouragement and faith, the Green Haven Prison Preparative Meeting submits that the state of our Meeting is still strong, in spite of not having had a worship service since March 2020. The suspension of all programs has brought to the forefront how important our volunteers are to us and the service they provide in the furtherance and development of our spiritual growth.
A member of my care committee from Bulls Head Oswego Monthly Meeting shared with me that one must have a balance between doing, being and listening; that life is a balance of many aspects and that one should try to weave them together in a manner or fashion that helps support one’s spiritual path and level of contentment. I treasure these words and strive to make them work for me and become a part of my daily life. Towards this end I have joined, in Spirit, the Bulls Head-Oswego mid-week meeting and the Sunday Meeting for Worship, and a worship with a concern for prison ministry on Friday evenings. As I enter into the silence as I sit in my cell, I strive to include all of our Green Haven members in my prayers in solidarity with our collective worship.
In spite of the turmoil we may find ourselves faced with as a society, on this local level we have some very good news. One of our members of our prison preparative meeting was released in December 2020 and is currently amalgamating himself once again with the greater community. Another member is scheduled to re-appear before the parole board with a very good opportunity to be released. And this writer has had his most recent medical check-up and is reportedly in good health. The only downside is our struggle to answer the following question: how does one maintain spiritual community in a time without the space or place to meet physically, converse and worship together? Our answer is we do as we can.
We also look forward to 2021 being favorable with the possibility of the courts revisiting a prior ruling and ultimately granting our ability to co-host and/or co-sponsor Quarterly Meetings in that, while procedurally correct, the respondents rendered the procedure to be followed unavailable due to a lack of the respondents adherence to their own rules.
In closing, we also take pride in and fully accept the Apology to Afro-Descendants issued by the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as being, in the words of the Yearly Meeting, "... a step towards healing and trust, and that more openings will follow as we strive with DIVINE assistance to discern what we as Quakers are called to do to bring about justice and reconciliation in our beloved community."