Crestwell and Tse at GA12

I’m thrilled to see that the Rev. Mr. John Crestwell, Jr. will preach the Sunday morning service at GA’12. I’ve only heard him preach twice, but both times were remarkable.

I haven’t heard the Rev. Ms. Karen I. Tse preach, but I am still looking forward to hearing her preach at the Service of the Living Tradition. A human rights defender and social entrepeneur, she wrote, “Not so long ago, as a lawyer working for the United Nations, I experienced a dramatic shift in my perceptions of approaches to international human rights and issues concerning the detained and imprisoned…”

Tse tells this story: “Vishna, a four year old boy who was born and lived in a Cambodian prison is my favorite hero. Because he was born in the prison, the guards who knew him his entire life grew quite fond of him and allowed him free range of the prison. He was small enough to climb through the bars. When I met him, though, he was getting older and could no longer get through the bottom rungs of the prison bars. But he could climb up to the third bar, which was slightly bigger, then slowly turn his head to the side and then find a way to barely pass through the bars to the other side. Everyday that I went to the prison, he would go through this process so he could run out to meet me. Then he would take my hand and go with me to each and every prison cell. At each of the 156 prison cells, he would reach has little hand or finger in to make contact with a prisoner. For most of them, he was their greatest joy.

I often think of Vishna. A boy born into a prison without material or physical comfort. But a boy who had a sense of his own heroic journey and desire to give up a piece of his life to something greater than himself. I think of the contributions he made to the prisoners’ wretched lives both on an individual level as he reached out his hand so many times, and also of the contributions he made to human rights through me – for he so often gave me strength when I was not sure why I should continue on. This heroic spirit and journey to reach behind the bars of injustice is open to all of us.”

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