Letters January / February 2016

Member of Legislative Assembly statement on Open Circle

Open Circle is an Initiatives for Just Communities program that puts faith into practice by connecting volunteers with prison inmates who request a visitor.

I first became aware of Open Circle through my constituent, Dianne Cooper. Like other volunteers, Dianne was inspired by the fact that many people who are incarcerated lose their social and family contacts. Glenn Morison is the director of Open Circle and a former Corrections chaplain. 

Open Circle volunteers work without an agenda, providing companionship and non-judgmental support. This helps inmates restore trust and mend relationships, making communities safer for everyone by letting people in prison know there are other possibilities for them.

If nothing changes for inmates while they’re in prison, nothing will change for them when they are released. Tamara Traverse is the daughter of residential school survivors and a former inmate. She can attest more than anyone to the value of this program. Dianne Cooper has been in Tamara’s corner for more than two years. Now Tamara is working on her GED so she can become a licensed esthetician.

Thank you to Dianne, Glenn and all Open Circle volunteers for your compassionate efforts on behalf of inmates seeking to overcome adversity and start a new life.

James Allum MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview,
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Encouragement reminder

Re “Ordinary intimacies” (Intersection, December). Appreciate these words of encouragement to give generously at all times in the small ways. Small random or frequent acts of kindness many times are more valued than the occasional large act.

P Klassen
Online comment

Re “Ordinary intimacies” (Intersection, December). This is a great reminder at this season of “gift giving” that there are other ways of giving that are more significant than that wrapped Christmas present we often feel coerced into giving.

Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder
Online comment

2 Comments on “Letters January / February 2016

  1. Re: Bethany, dead at 88 (January/February 2015 – The Year That Was)
    It would seem that the harsh caption regarding Bethany College reflects an insensitive, sensationalist flare that misses the spirit and vitality of a place of discipleship, growth and transformation. While it is true that the College has closed, in essence, Bethany is still actually very much alive, as thousands of alumni continue to “be a fragrance” wherever they are.
    Phil Siebert

    • Though some cheekiness was intentional with that headline, no disrespect was intended. The suddenness and permanence of Bethany’s end has analogy to the loss of a beloved friend. So also does the way a beloved mentor or parent’s essence lingers, their lessons are lived out in the lives of spiritual children, their existence is continued through those they shaped.

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