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Prayer in the Chamber: A Panel with Spiritual Advisors to Those on Missouri's Death Row

On June 24th, the annual membership meeting and program of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty (MADP) took place at the Kingshighway Library in St. Louis. The event, attended by approximately fifty people both in-person and virtually, featured a panel discussion on the role of spiritual advisors for individuals on death row. The meeting and event highlight the importance of relationships with those on the row and MADP's efforts to abolish the death penalty in Missouri.


The afternoon began with inspiring presentations by MADP Board Chair Nimrod Chapel, Jr., and Co-Director Elyse Max. Nimrod delivered a compelling call to action, urging attendees to join the movement to abolish the death penalty by becoming MADP members and supporting the organization's work financially. Elyse followed with a comprehensive overview of the current state of the death penalty in Missouri, reflecting on the achievements and challenges faced by MADP in 2022.


Moderated by MADP Co-Director Michelle Smith, the program featured a panel of esteemed spiritual advisors. These individuals included Rev. Lauren Bennett, who acted as a spiritual advisor to Amber McLaughlin; Rev. Darryl Gray, spiritual advisor to Kevin Johnson; Rev. Melissa Bowers, spiritual advisor to Michael Tisius; and Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, spiritual advisor to several individuals on death row in Oklahoma and Texas.


The panel discussion emphasized the crucial role of spiritual advisors in affirming the humanity of those facing execution by the state. These advisors provide support, comfort, and spiritual guidance throughout an individual's time on death row and during their final moments in the death chamber. Their presence serves as a powerful act of resistance against the death penalty, recognizing the intrinsic worth and dignity of every human being and sharing their light in the darkest of places, the execution chamber.


The panel's insights shed light on the significant impact that spiritual advisors can have on individuals facing the death penalty. By fostering relationships built on empathy, compassion, and solidarity, these advisors play a vital role in advocating for the preservation of human life and the promotion of justice. You watch the event below:



MADP continues to work tirelessly to bring an end to the death penalty in Missouri. The organization's dedication to this cause is evident in its ongoing efforts to engage and educate the public, mobilize support, and advocate for legislative changes. We invite individuals to join the cause by making a donation and becoming a member of MADP, ensuring that opposition to the death penalty is amplified through collective action.


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