The wooden box, not quite big enough to hold a pair of shoes, sits on the reception desk, just inside the Sherwood, Oregon, YMCA. Once a day, Roger Button empties the box, finds a quiet place to sit and prays over the slips of paper he finds inside. He prays for someone’s son struggling with drug addiction; for a friend who needs a job; for more blue, figure-8 rubber exercise bands. “Sometimes people mistake the prayer box for a suggestion box,” Button shrugged, unbothered.
As the first ordained chaplain to serve a single branch of the Portland-based YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, Button is one of the people gradually trying to replant the Christian values at the heart of the YMCA—and, in this case, in the Pacific Northwest, where church affiliation is relatively low.
William H. Willimon on reconsidering practices, Erin Swenson on being a transgender pastor, Elaine Blanchard on a bicycle ministry in Memphis.
Lord have mercy
Apr 09, 2015
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).