by Michael Rhynes
Attica Worship Group
Quaker worship in Attica is on Friday nights. The week-long trek to return to our safe haven of worship is a strange and perilous journey through the abyss of correctional madness.
As insiders, we travel long distances within restricted spaces. We bring with us family problems, prison-related stress, relationship issues, the dust of institutional hatred, and particles of hope.
Outsiders who travel to Attica for worship bring with them family problems, job-related stress, and relationship issues. After entering the prison they leave bread crumbs of hope, as they navigate dimly lit, foreboding corridors in order to reach worship service.
As both insiders and outsiders reach the classroom where services are held, we cross into a prism of spirituality, where the refracted light of our individual existence becomes a Mobius strip of awareness. We have arrived at the exact place where our weary bodies relinquish their worldly burdens to the respite of silence.
Our souls come forth to speak in their native tongues, in a spectrum of yellows, greens, blues, and violets. Illuminating an epiphany of joy, there are no insiders or outsiders. It’s just us.